Friday, December 09, 2011
Remembering my own miscarriage
I woke to the news that Michelle Duggar has miscarried with what would have been her 20th child born to her.
And now I cry.
It takes me back to my first pregnancy. How fast that little guy was conceived (I have zero proof that our first was actually a boy, but I just know - gut feeling). How strong that heartbeat was the first time we heard it and got to actually watch it on an early ultrasound. My life changed that day.
It changed again just a few days later when I realized something was terribly wrong.
To this day I do not remember any pain or cramping. Yet, there's no doubt now that I was in complete and utter denial of the entire experience. "Women spot! Happens all the time!"
I wasn't spotting. I was slowly losing my baby. My first child.
And how I lost my child was ... awful. Miscarriage is terrible. In my case, it provided no closure. It was terribly disrespectful to this little life. It was embarrassing. Miscarriage turns off everyone's "Appropriate Things To Say" button. Because NO ONE would walk up to anyone in any other situation with a bright face and say, "You can always marry another man!" or "You can always have another child ... to replace this, um ... teenager." Yeah, um ... no. That would never happen.
I felt angry at the time, and have had to let that go. Miscarriage makes everyone uncomfortable. People simply don't know what to do. It's not their fault. They simply do not have a person in front of them to mourn. It makes sense. It hurt me, but I'm not mad at them for their reactions.
I was just mad at death.
There are women who miscarry and it does not affect them in this way. I won't dare to predict why. I do not know. I know me. We get to all be different. We all deserve respect for how we feel. It's ours. And no one should dare try to dictate it. Do not feel guilty if you do not grieve a miscarriage. It is your body, your pregnancy and your feelings! Guilt? Um, no. It is yours. That guilt is coming from what someone else is projecting on you. There is no truth behind it, because this. is. yours.
So, here I sit ... fourteen years after that child's due date. It doesn't hurt like it used to. However, now it comes out of nowhere, when I very least expect it. Plenty of miscarriages have crossed my path this past year. But along comes Michelle Duggar and I find myself grieving at my kitchen table as five children flutter around me.
Maybe it's because I know people are being just awful to the Duggars. Hurtful ... spiteful ... to an entire family who is grieving.
Not here. Feel free to share your own story. Feel free to say, "I am so sorry for their loss." But no one gets to hurt someone else here. Not even someone we don't know. Death is death. Grief is grief. Today we mourn.
Mid-afternoon, I received an email from my husband. He had read today's post at work. I had almost posted the differences in our experiences, but never wanted to make my husband out to seem jerky. He wasn't jerky. He reacted in the only way he knew how, and in the only way our circles seemed to be dictating. But he owned that today, and I want everyone to read it.
I was deeply hurt by the giant cavern between my pain and what appeared to be my husband's complete lack of grief. We have talked about it over the years on days like today, when it hits me again. He offered to share this with everyone, because he's so unbelievably strong and caring. Let this help you. Let it mend the rift that may exist between you and your partner when it comes to a loss during pregnancy:
"When we miscarried, I had no idea what to do, except to be there next to you. I didn't know whether the right thing was to wish it away ... act like it had never happened ... chalk it up to "one of those things" ...
I also didn't really know how to feel. I knew others who had experienced a miscarriage, but had never really listened to anyone talk about it. Everyone that I had met seemed to suppress what they felt. I always felt like it was totally taboo to talk about it. And I guess I carried that into our experience.
I'll never forget [a friend] saying, "Men experience it different than women." That's a sucky way to look at it, but I totally carried that into our experience, and used that as an excuse to not allow myself to feel anything.
I'll never forget being at [a conference we had that weekend]. Leaving early. I'll never forget the hospital stay with the D and C. And I'll never-ever forget how impersonal the doctor was when we went in for the "official word."
I didn't know anyone at that point who knew what to say ... who knew what to do. And, Christine, I know that I wasn't totally there for you. I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to say. I know now to take it just as seriously as any other death. Like you said, grief is grief. We lost a child. We.lost.a.child."
Posted by Christine Moers at 9:28 AM