When I told people about the miscarriage, many of them inevitably responded with something along the lines of “it’s nothing you did. It’s not your fault.” Even the nurse who helped break the news reminded me, “don’t blame yourself.”
Well damn, I wasn’t. But now that you mention it. Maybe I will.
I know this wasn’t my fault. I have some remnants of stable mental awareness to know that and the majority of my mind believes it. But what if.
What if I did things that caused this? What if I didn’t do other things that caused this? There’s no way to ever not blame myself in some regard. Everyone will say that it wasn’t me, but I have mom-guilt for missing my daughter’s snack day at preschool or forgetting my son’s library book. My mind is a list of dramatic “what if’s” and “what about’s”…
…I never stopped running.
I ran throughout previous pregnancies so I know this isn’t a cause. Doctors encouraged me to keep up my fitness regime. They explained that pregnancy was a time to “stay in shape” not to “get in shape.” I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. No crazy long runs or over exerting speeds. Should I have stopped? Fattened up on the couch with a bag Tostitos and a carton of ice cream?
…I worked out.
Like running, I didn’t abandon my basement workout space or my Monday evening bootcamp classes. I was responsible: I made modifications to certain moves to ensure they were safe, I monitored my heart rate and I followed all first-trimester guidelines. My cousin is currently past her due date and is still squatting weights heavier than me. I don’t think my sporadic 10 minute “arm and back” workout would have caused this. But…I don’t know.
…I continued taking a “pregnancy safe” medication.
I didn’t take any medicine with either pregnancies, but my doctors assured me that this was okay and safe to take throughout pregnancy. I trusted them. Should I have done differently? What if it caused something bad that no one, not even someone with a medical degree, could anticipate? Am I selfish for not discontinuing the medicine? What if it harmed my baby? We will never know, but I’ll always ask the question.
…I missed a few days of prenatal vitamins.
I just forgot some nights. Ate dinner without taking them. Fell asleep without taking them. Maybe I should have been more responsible.
…I skipped breakfast some days. Sometimes lunch too.
Life got in the way. Taxiing the kids to school and activities. Working. Traveling between two schools. I just forgot to eat some mornings. I learned to pack car snacks and remind myself to eat, but what if it was too little and too late?
…I drank coffee.
Coffee is one of the pillars of my life, but I loathed it during my first trimester with both babies. Not this one. I carefully calculated caffeine milligrams and rationed my intake. Could a little cup of coffee done big damage? Rationally, I know that’s not true. But irrationally…what if?
…I never felt sick.
Tired? Yes. Sore boobs? Yes. Nauseous? No. I pressed the issue with everyone from friends to physicians and they kept saying, “A lot of women wish they had no sickness. Maybe you’re just lucky.”
“Lucky.” Not so much.
Maybe I should have pressed harder for an explanation. Made more phone calls. Done more research. A defining pregnancy symptom wasn’t there.