My Lost Pregnancy

5 mins read

I stared into the toilet bowl for the longest time.

It was what looked like a clump of tissue in the shape of an embryo. But there was no blood. Shouldn’t there have been blood?

My brain tried to make sense of what I was seeing. But because there was no blood, I couldn’t. I was frozen. I didn’t know what to say, or think, or do.

It couldn’t be, I kept telling myself. Over. And over. And over.

Eventually I flushed the toilet. And I spoke of it to no one: not my doctor, not a friend, not my married lover.

Over the course of the next months, my periods became more and more painful and I became more fatigued and sick each month. Then I received my endometriosis diagnosis. In three surgeries over the next two years, I would lose my ability to have children altogether. I was 33 years old.

But I wouldn’t allow myself to think about any of it. Not the embryo-shaped tissue in the toilet. Not the surgeries that meant I would never become pregnant again.

I was a divorced mother of one child already. The nature of my work as both a journalist and later as a corporate media representative meant my days were not neatly ordered; they could not be written into my schedule between the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Only recently have I learned that a miscarriage does not always involve blood loss and that endometriosis is one of the variables in having a bloodless lost pregnancy.

I had to sacrifice the child I wanted in the future for the sake of the one I already had. I would not let myself dwell on it. I had a child to shelter, clothe and feed.

Only in my mid-60s did I allow the grief of never having the daughter I wanted to enfold me one night as I wailed about what I knew I saw in the toilet bowl that day – a baby. My baby.

So many things we want never come to pass. There must be a reason for that, mustn’t there? Why would God allow such things to happen without good reason.

It wouldn’t have been because I would have chosen not to have my child. I would have wanted to keep my baby, regardless of what the father wanted. I would never willingly give up my child.

But my lover had told me from the start he would never leave his wife because of his son, who was the same age as my own. Because I loved this flawed, funny, smart man, because my own dignity wouldn’t let me, I wouldn’t ask.

Yet a few years after my surgeries, he did leave her and ended up marrying a mutual friend who left her husband to be with my lover. The sword of this betrayal was double-edged. I phoned him and called him a bastard for what he did. He hung up on me.

He has been dead for nearly 20 years now. He never knew. I could barely accept it myself. How could I have told him?

If our souls sparkle and dance somewhere when we die, does his dance with our child’s? Again, a question for which only God has the answer.

Is God really our merciful and loving Father? Is that mercy so divine He will forgive anything?

Can He forgive me for flushing the toilet that day?

Can I forgive myself?

Maybe one day, when hopefully I also sparkle and dance somewhere with the child of my lost pregnancy.

*I was inspired to share the experience of my lost pregnancy after reading stories of the miscarriage and subsequent pregnancy of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. I hope sharing my story helps someone, somewhere.

This piece was originally published on A Senior Moment in March 2021.

Featured image by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

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Cheryle Johnson is a former reporter, PR/HR Manager living in Metro Atlanta. She is an award winning journalist and poet.

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