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.
adventures in family-making, hope and love...while trying to find my way through pregnancy, infertility, loss, miscarriage, and motherhood.
Friday, January 30, 2009
talking about it
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in pregnancy loss communities, when you have a living child after losing others, that child is called a "rainbow baby." it...
please note: -disregard the date on this post; it was used so that it is not part of the chronological flow of this blog, but rather as a st...
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 thr...
dear gemini friend, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. I think telling people is the wise thing to do, as you have said, probably many people have been through the same thing. And grief is real. hugs to you both, Laurel M W.
As someone who has not experienced this kind of loss but loves several who have, I can tell you that although the conversation is sometimes awkward, I am always honored to be told. I don't always know what to say, but I feel a closer bond to my friend, knowing I have been trusted with something that was painful to share. Thank you for sharing with us. We love you, and you are in our prayers.
I've really struggled with this too, and experienced exactly what you describe. Being asked, "when are you going to have another child?!" when you've just lost one is as painful as being cut with a knife. If you're up for talking about it, which you don't have to pressure yourself to do every time, that often becomes an opportunity to connect with more of the people in the woodwork who have had similar experiences but no physical mark to identify them to you. Example: I was recently with a friend I hadn't seen in a few years. She was excited that I was pregnant, and I had to confess to her that I was struggling to enter into excitement because I was so afraid of losing this one too. Then she told me that she experienced eight pregnancies before she had three babies that were born healthy. Oh my. I was terribly sad for her, but encouraged that I (we!) aren't alone, at all, in this terrible, sad, hard experience.
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