I Never Heard A Heartbeat

January 4th, 2015 changed my life forever. I was 10 weeks pregnant when the bleeding started. The next day, I miscarried. Living 1000 miles away from my hometown of Pine Bush, N.Y., away from friends and family alike didn’t make the loss any easier. I only told a handful of them I was pregnant because I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought, once I get my first sonogram picture, I’ll share it with everyone.

But I never got that chance. I never heard a heartbeat.

It’s been three months and 16 days since I left that emergency room in Carbondale, I.L. I sat in my car for 45 minutes and sobbed. I knew death was hard after losing my mother when I was young, but having it be something that was created out of love took it to an entirely different level. This is the first time I’m speaking about what happened to me. Other than a few family members and friends, I was alone in this. It never got easier—loss rarely does.

In the weeks following my miscarriage, I noticed more and more sonogram photos filling up my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Name any other social media site, and I’m sure I could find a sonogram photo on it. Each post I saw felt like that person was twisting the knife a little deeper in my chest. I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. But what pressed me more was my desire to ask them to take it down.

Before the age of social media, pregnancy was different. I remember family members who only spread the word that they were expecting among a small circle of people. It was sacred—something that was supposed to be for the people you cared about most in your life.

Now, it seems that pregnancy is something to be advertised among every social media outlet possible. It’s about posting a photo to inform the people who may not be close to you, but are still in your general network of friends. People show their support in the forms of “Likes” or “Shares.” In that respect, it’s efficient and great. But to someone like me, it’s a painful reminder with each and every post that I didn’t have that moment. I never got to see my baby on a sonogram. I never even heard its first heartbeat.

Everyday, I think, “I would’ve been (insert amount here) months pregnant.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m truly happy for every person who gets to experience the beginnings of motherhood. When a friend or family tells me they’re expecting, I’m ecstatic for them. But when someone who’s expecting posts photos of sonograms like they’re going out of style, do they think about how people like myself feel? Do they think about the people who’ve lost a child? Do they think about the people who have been trying for years to have a baby without success?

The answer is no. Most people don’t take that into consideration when posting these photos. They’re happy—why should they worry about something so negative? And after these three, almost four months, I think I’ve found an answer to that.

Social media is a great way to reach out to people. It’s a quick and easy way to tell your friends and family about the big events in your life. People are praised for positive stories. It’s what we all want to hear; stories of happiness; stories of success; stories of new beginnings. But no one wants to hear a complaint from someone who is so deeply saddened by such a positive thing. It’s why I haven’t spoken out about what’s happened to me.

Posting something like miscarriage or infertility isn’t “Facebook worthy material.” It’s something private, something that I would never wish upon anyone, and something most people would never want talk about.

So, why would I share it? Because something needs to be said for the people like me. I’m tired of hiding my past because I feel like social media muddles true feelings and empathy. A “Like” or a “Share” won’t change what happened to me. But someone who comes to me and tells me in person how sorry they are, is what really matters and what should be the social norm.

So in the future, when you’re thinking about posting that photo of your sonogram, think about the people like me who are suffering in silence because they don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade and please give the old fashioned way a try.

Permission from myself, Kelsey D. Garmendia, or Kelsey Gegan

must be given to use any or part of this piece in work of your own. 

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10 thoughts on “I Never Heard A Heartbeat

  1. I remember you telling me something of this incident. I’m so sorry Kelsey. Hopefully something positive in the end will come of this. I can agree on how self-loathing and narcissistic people can get of their own happy lives on Facebook. The truth is everyone’s got problems. They only post the goods and probably have a harder time of expressing their internal conflicts and emotions. In return, it comes off as phony because they’re not being real with themselves. So besides your well written heartbreaking piece about your miscarriage, the post had an underlying commentary towards the ridiculousness of Facebook and today’s outlandish principles of social media and the life people portray to others on the internet.

  2. Thanks for that post Kelsey and I am so sorry. I do think there are way too personal things shared on Facebook. It’s funny, there seems to be extremes – the way on one sude oversharing, then the other end where all someone does is repost nonsensical stuff. Sure if someone gets engaged or is (perhaps several months in) ready to announce a pregancy, that’s great news but daily updates will wear any of us down. I struggled when my mom passed away. I wasn’t going say anything at all on social media, but my siblings were sharing so much that finally I felt pressured to, but limited it to just the announcement of when her memorial would be since it was in two different states. Facebook was the best way for me to reach friends of hers that I was connected to in social media. Likewise I have friends who have been trying to conceive for years with no success and are now starting the adoption process. It could still take years. So you can imagine the heartache when they see posts all the time announcing pregnancies, especially the “oops!” ones. I chalk it up to social media having made people disassociated enough that they post and share things they would never say in person. Let’s all try to be a little more empathetic and aware.

  3. Every time I see a grainy sonogram picture post, my heart skips a beat and I start to feel sick to my stomach. Every. Time. Even though my son is now 18 months, the ache of five miscarriages before him still stings. I started to write/speak about my experience 6 months after my first because I was sitting with a group of women who were discussing ultrasounds and did not include me since I did not have children. So I spoke up, because I had had plenty of ultrasounds. They were shocked – and it was a little awkward. But it has gotten easier to share. And I think it is necessary! I scoured the internet after my first miscarriage and all I could find was information about infertility/IVF – but not much about miscarriages, or recurrent pregnancy loss like I suffered. My prayers are with you! I hope you can find some comfort. You need to do whatever helps you survive this hard time! (I unfollowed so many people on Facebook and stopped reading plenty of blogs!)

    P.S. the label “Agnes” on my blog is all about my miscarriages and experiences.

  4. I’m sorry for ur loss. Grieving is HARD. But u asking people to not share their happy news or sonogram pics if they so choose is like me asking people not to post pics of their siblings because mine was killed. Its like me asking people not to share their weight loss because I’m struggling with my weight. Its asking people not to share their wedding photos because my fiance left me. Its asking people not to be publicly happy about things because of my tragedy. Its ur grieving process and if people knocked on ur door to show u photos I would agree, They are in the wrong. However, u Dont have to look at Facebook until u reach a point where u can deal with such photos and posts. U can even unfollow and unfriend people if u need to. Again I’m sorry for ur loss and I can’t imagine what u went through but I think ur being selfish in what ur asking.

    1. The point of the article was not just about asking people to take stuff down. The larger picture was about over sharing on Facebook.

      I think the problem with social media is that moments like these, baby pictures specifically, was a thing you tell close friends and family about in the past. There was no Instagram or Facebook or Twitter. It was real, face-to-face conversations with them. Unfriending or unfollowing family members/friends doesn’t solve the larger issue at hand.

      Miscarriages and infertility are a taboo in this society. It’s not talked about and women such as myself are forced to deal with it alone. You calling me selfish because of my request is what makes me feel ashamed about having a miscarriage.

      Before I posted this article, I would’ve sat down and said yeah, you’re right. I should just keep my mouth shut and not say anything about what happened to me. Everyone should be able to post whatever they want, whenever they want and I shouldn’t bring up anything about my past that could make them upset in their happiness. It’s a vicious, horrible cycle to get wound up in, and I’m not being sucked into it again.

      Social media is desensitizing all of us. All we want as a culture now is happy endings and positive stories. This article was my view on how I process social media after dealing with one of the worst and most painful moments in my life. My old pre-miscarriage self understands where you’re coming from.

      But who I am now can’t agree with you because if I do, I’m just pushing myself back in that cyclone. I wasn’t asking people to not post, I was asking people to be conscious of what they’re sharing. I thank you for commenting and respect your view, but I just don’t agree with it.

      Thank you for your empathy.

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