Friday, January 30, 2009

talking about it

it's been two months now since we lost Tummymuffin, and in that time, i have been amazed at the number of women i know who have gone through a pregnancy loss -- but i never knew until now. miscarriage is a strange thing; it's not written on your body visibly somewhere that you lost a child, so until you choose to speak about it, it is a spiky little secret that lodges uncomfortably in your heart. i do not think this is a good thing.
while no one wants to be "the woman who lost a baby," i don't think that talking about it makes it a primary part of your identity. of course each case is unique, each grief is unique. but overall, i am so thankful for the women who have been choosing to tell me about it because i understand, viscerally, that i am now part of a community. you can tell me miscarriage is alarmingly common, but i felt so cut off in my pain for awhile. i appreciate the people who reached out to me, or who gladly welcomed my requests for help, and used their own past sadness to help heal both me and themselves at the same time.
i had an awkward situation at work recently, where sitting at a table with mostly married/with kids people, i was asked if i wanted children. i've found that the pain of loss lurks well below the surface these days, but it can surprise me with how quickly it can bob to the top. i was like a deer in the headlights -- i just said "yes." then someone asked when. still shellshocked by how hard that spiky secret twisted inside, i just said "as soon as possible." so when someone else asked if i'd keep working, and people started to tell me how great having kids was, i had to excuse myself before falling to pieces. these were all innocent questions with genuine care behnd them -- these are people i've known for awhile -- but they have no idea what happened. and i had no idea what to say.
so after a conversation with my wise and compassionate husband, i have decided -- now that i've been able to think about it and plan for the next time it happens, because it will - that i will be honest about my experience. i will say that i have already had a child, but she was lost before she could be born, and that we are still happy and hopeful about having another baby as soon as God allows. i don't want to make anyone feel bad, but i don't think this approach does that. it doesn't punish the asker for an honest question -- and for all i know, they may have gone through this too.
Tummymuffin was a real child, and not a figment of my imagination. i need to acknowledge her.