The Heart Holds On

Two lines glow bright pink on the stick passed through my urine just a few minutes before.  My heart leaps and expands, joy massaging it, coaxing it to relax and unfurl.  There is life inside of me.  I am capable of creating life.  Instantly, I am a mother.  Baby name books, and What to Expect When You Are Expecting, and Dr. Sears line my nightstand.  For a few weeks, I am whole.  I have worth and a purpose, something to move me forward, something to open me up.

Then that Sunday in February arrives with underpants dotted red and moments of twisting, clenching, tightening.  The feeling starts in my abdomen, but gradually winds its way up and into my heart.  I stare out the rain soaked window of the car taking me to tell me what I already know.  I am not capable.  I am not a mother.  The sonogram is pitch black, there is no longer a peanut-shaped light to break up the darkness.  I am ashamed.  I am broken.

Back home, I cry in the isolation of my bedroom.  As morning dawns, I bury it deep, the sadness and shame and brokenness.  I go to work and crunch numbers and yell at subcontractors and pretend it never happened.  But the heart holds on.  It twists and clenches and tightens.

Ten years and two children later, the mind can forget.  The mind can still fill itself with distractions.  But the body remembers.  It holds that life, that loss, in every tissue, every fiber.  Once again, at the same time every year, the story is re-played.  As if from nowhere, the chest clenches and tightens.  Muscles constrict and burn.  Unshed tears surface and squeeze out, rolling lazily down, like the raindrops on that car window so long ago.

The mind can forget.  The heart holds on.


  1. Robin

    The heart holds on an never does forget. I lost our baby on July 4th. A holiday that I dread every year. A celebration of our country, a Marine for a husband, a one year old daughter happy to see fireworks and I sat there knowing the life in me was leaving. I sat there silently so my family could enjoy the 4th and not remember what I new I would. I worked in Labor and Delivery and new there was nothing that could be done this early of the stage. My heart ached for weeks and my body still was not right. I found out that I had been pregnant with fraternal twins. People were happy and said well meaning comments of “at least you still have a baby”! Now I not only feel the pain every July 4th but also on my sons birthday because instead of one there could be two. God showed me in a dream that my baby was a boy, a beautiful green eyed dark haired boy. I new I must name him but my husband did not want to believe we needed to do it. He too was hurting but as a Marine you just move on and “forget” or ignore or deny. My son before he new of the miscarriage would talk about a brother and later in life would say “I always feel there is a part of me that is missing”! He new he always new as I did. He named his brother because I still couldn’t. His name is Noah.
    Thank you for sharing. It is comforting to know I am not the only one who feels this way. But I am sorry that you feel this way as well. Mixed emotions.

    1. mommytransformations

      Robin, thank you so much for having the courage to share your story of loss. I am so sorry for the loss you experienced. When I first wrote this piece, it was as part of a mourning and healing process for myself. An acknowledgement of feelings I hadn’t allowed myself to feel for so long. But when I was finished, it didn’t feel right to keep to myself. Miscarriage is common. I know so many women who have experienced it. But we don’t really talk about it and how it made us feel. I felt the need to share this so others, like you, who have experienced miscarriage know they are not alone and the things they are feeling are normal. Knowing that I have touched at least one person, makes the discomfort of sharing worth it.

      And while I do still feel the sadness and loss from time to time, I have come to appreciate feeling it. To be able to feel is a gift. And to experience loss means that I have also loved passionately. I have chosen and want to continue choosing to love passionately above all else. Above all fear of feeling loss.

      Thanks again for sharing your story and hugs to you.

  2. mamarific

    I am sorry for your loss, and although I’ve never had the same experience, I understand the need to hold on and recognize that day each year.

  3. aishasoasis

    Year after year I went through this struggle, losing five babies, each for different reasons which made diagnosis so difficult.We had so many doctor bills I almost gave up, but when my dr. discovered my thyroid was too low tonsupport pregnancy I became hopeful and tried again. Thank God I had my daughter and then a son! But I grieved the other little souls so much that I sent myself a sympathy card and gave the babies names and dates of loss. My daughter has her own little one now, but also lost her first baby too, and I shared with her my experiences, which was helpful for both of us. I still have that card I sent myself, after all these long years and it still brings me comfort. Thanks for sharing, and God bless you and *all* of your family

    1. mommytransformations

      Thank you, thank you for sharing your beautiful story of hope and love. What a beautiful idea to send yourself a sympathy card. You were so good to yourself to allow yourself to grieve.

  4. TT&NB

    The word shame gets to me in this post, society has created this world where our worth can be so tightly bound to our ability to reproduce that any fertility struggles are hidden and swept away.

    Each of us who shares our stories of child loss are carving a new reality, a safe zone where our struggles with bringing forth life bring compassion, not shame, from our surroundings. Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. mommytransformations

      Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts. Shame was a powerful emotion for me throughout the loss. It’s not just an ability to produce a child that society cares about. It’s an ability to produce anything. What have you done, what have you made, what have you accomplished. Unmet expectations on so many levels. My healing has only started to come when I have been able to acknowledge the shame and recognize that it no longer has a place in my life, in my story that is yet to come. Thank you again for your thoughtful comments.

  5. Cynthia Rodrigues Manchekar

    I have two children and have never had the same experience, but I have a very dear friend who has lost three babies, and my heart aches for her. I see the look in her eyes when she sees a baby, and I see that the pain never really goes away. I have also seen her wilt when brain-dead idiots persist in asking her why she never thought of having a baby. I am truly sorry for your loss.

    1. mommytransformations

      Yes I can’t get over the way so many assumptions are made, especially in the realm of reproduction. I have a friend who finally had a child with medical assistance after years of infertility. After the birth of her first, so many people asked her when the next one was coming. It was so painful for her because she had gone through so much to have the first one and already people were expecting more of her.

      Thanks so much for reading this piece and adding your thoughts and story to the conversation.

    1. mommytransformations

      Thank you, Linda. It does get better, but it will also always be a part of me, and I’m ok with that. The stops we make along the way often define the journey more than the destination itself.

      I truly appreciate your kindness and compassion.

  6. Christina

    the heart definitely holds on. been five years for me since my one and only loss. it was enough to nearly make me give up completely. fortunately I kept going. and now I have a feisty 4yo who is my everything. but I know and I remember and I reflect. it’s hard.

    1. mommytransformations

      I am so sorry for your loss, but happy you have been able to experience the joy that comes from not giving up, from not letting the fear of what if it happens again stop you from moving forward. I remember how terrified I was when I finally did get pregnant. Terrified that I would do something wrong, or do nothing wrong at all and still wake up again one morning with blood stained underpants. I remember holding my breath each time I went to the bathroom, hoping I had made it through one more day.

      I have a four year old too 🙂

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