I had a miscarriage—Here’s how I moved past it and reclaimed my identity

It happened. That thing you thought only occurred in movies or to someone else’s cousin’s friend’s sister. Far enough removed that it didn’t feel real or like it would ever touch your life in a meaningful way. You didn’t need to worry about it happening to you, not really, until suddenly it did and the world was split in two: before the miscarriage and then after.

Despite miscarriage affecting 10% to 20% of people with a medically confirmed pregnancy, it is still something that’s only whispered about in hushed, private tones. Miscarriage is like a secret society nobody wants to actually be a part of until you unfortunately are. Who wants to wear that badge with pride? Not me, not at first.

Related: How to support someone who had a miscarriage

Having experienced my own silent miscarriage in 2018, I’m here to tell you: You are not small, you are not broken and you didn’t fail. There is nothing wrong with you or your body.

When I experienced my miscarriage, I wanted to curl into a ball and make it all go away. Even when I was no longer pregnant, my body still felt pregnant. And that felt infinitely worse than the day we’d been given the news at a routine OB appointment. But day by day, moment by moment, I climbed out of the pit of despair, and chose joy over sadness, chose feeling fully over keeping myself numb. And you can, too.

Now, years later, I can honestly say I don’t even think about my miscarriage. Maybe that sounds harsh, but I’ve healed a lot since then. I’ve reconciled my feelings of unworthiness and said goodbye to the little girl inside who felt this happened because she was unlovable. Before that tragic day, I wasn’t really living. I was moving through the motions, just waiting for something to wake me up.

Related: What to say when your friend has a miscarriage

And this did. In a big way. I’m more me now than I ever was before and it’s because of the self-healing and empowerment practices I discovered after my miscarriage.

Your miscarriage doesn’t have to define you. You get to do that. You didn’t do anything wrong. And even though you may feel betrayed, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Life can feel good again.

Wherever you’re at in your healing journey is deeply personal. If the idea of feeling good is so far away right now or it makes you angry to even read this, that’s okay. All feelings are welcome here. Feeling them is how you move through. Allowing yourself to feel angry, sad, hopeful, grateful and everything in between—is how you can begin to make your way back to the light. Our feelings are our magic in this world. Our experiences are what connect us. You are not alone.

When I was navigating the darkness, gratitude was one of my biggest allies. On the days I didn’t want to get out of bed, I’d write a gratitude list for the things I did have. Some days it was just that I had two eyes, working lungs, and hadn’t perished in the night. And that was enough to let a tiny sliver of light in. It was enough to shift my perspective. And sometimes that’s all we need to begin to create change.

Around this time, I was introduced to the Japanese art of Kintsugi, which is when you take broken pottery and seal it back together with powdered gold, which results in an entirely new, imperfect piece that looks whole and beautiful again. The gold enhances the beauty, rather than taking away from it— like it was always meant to be there, instead of something that happened, shattering the ceramic and rendering it useless.

Related: What does a miscarriage feel like? What to know and when to seek help

Just like the transformation that happens with Kintsugi, this thing that’s happened to you isn’t useless. And you aren’t either. It’s what you do afterward that’s in your power. Journaling and moving my body each day became my therapy. A way for me to get the emotions and feelings up and out of my body so that I didn’t have to carry them any more.

Self-healing doesn’t have to be complicated. When you allow yourself to feel your emotions, move your body, and release with writing, you’re clearing the way to a brighter day. You can make it through. You already have everything you need inside you to begin to feel better and rise again. You get to choose who you become.

You may wander

You may forget

But you can always come home

To your body

To your breath

To yourself