Mel just published a truly moving post on her blog. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you do.
It really hit a nerve with me, what she wrote, and inspired me to finally tackle something that I had before been too scared to say. The waters were too murky, the depths unknown; I couldn’t see where I was standing, wasn’t sure what I would encounter if I took a step. Writing about it felt like a futile exercise, one that would only stir up more pain, anguish, confusion and shame.
I read Mel’s post. I let my own words spew forth on the page. I didn’t pause to ponder if I should press publish there, in that space but then a strange thought crept into my head. Should I post it on my own page? My first response was an all encompassing, gut wrenching assertion of, no, you must not. And that is what I knew that I had to.
My miscarriage is still the most painful loss I have endured. Experiencing that loss, compounded by the absence of validation, was the most harrowing struggle I’ve ever undertaken. I was fortunate enough to get pregnant, and have a healthy child, quickly after my ectopic. With distance, and a live child between us, I felt cushioned from the devastation but I still wanted to fight for those who remained in the trenches, whose wounds were still fresh. I wrote Miscarriages are Real Losses and, for the first time, knew I had made a difference.
Because of that, because of who I once was, I’ve never written what I’m about to post here, though I have felt it. I think you’ll quickly understand why.
My comment on Mel’s post:
Wow. I can’t quite put into words what this post meant for me. The confusing swell of emotions it inspired that din inside of me, a storm I must endure until it fades into a quiet calm.
I was thinking the other day of my miscarriage, marveling at how it didn’t hurt so much any more. The reality is, sometimes I think about it and it hardly hurts at all. Sometimes I don’t feel it, the area is numb to the touch, like the place where a dog bit me once and even though it was one of the most heinous wounds I ever had, it never caused me pain because the dog had dug out the nerve with my flesh. That is what looking back on my miscarriage is like. I know it was a heinous wound and that it should hurt but it just doesn’t, not anymore.
It doesn’t hurt so much because of my daughter.
My first pregnancy was due in March and my daughter was born in June. My daughter would not exist if that pregnancy had thrived. And the thought of not knowing, as you said, my particular little girl, is something I just can’t fathom.
It’s not just my daughter though. The first March after she was born it still hurt to touch that loss, to speak of it, to return to it. It wasn’t as raw as the March I was pregnant but it was tender all the same. I suppose it’s time healing a wound. But it’s also the fact that part of the wound was in the wanting, not in what was lost. And I have now what I was wanting, it might be slightly different than what was lost but it’s also very much the same.
I think it’s also in that I didn’t have to want for very long after what I lost. The short months between my loss and my pregnancy helped it to heal faster and leave less of a scar. I wondered before but I’m sure of that now.
When I think about trying again and the fear of another miscarriage seizes me, it doesn’t seem so paralyzing. It’s not that I wouldn’t be devastated, because it would be, it’s just that I know I can survive it now. Not because I have survived it before, but because the wanting of it is no longer a raw and savage thing whose undying power sends me reeling. The strength of that wanting has been tamed, by my daughter, by my years here, by a new expectation that I will probably be able to have another child and by a knowledge, based on prior experience, that if I do have another child, the wound will heal and scar and some day stop hurting so much, will as you say, “reframe it.”
After my ectopic I took to devouring miscarriage and loss books. Every book validated my feelings of devastation but they also spoke of those for whom early losses were not all that painful. I remember wondering, incredulous, how a woman could not feel as I did, that her entire being were bleeding out of her. Such a distinct memory of being sure that I would never, NEVER feel that way about my own loss. It would never be something small and inconsequential, a comma signaling a brief pause in one sentence of my life.
And it’s not that I feel that way now, but I feel closer to it, and even the movement in that direction feels traitorous, to what I lost, to who I was before, to what I have written. I still haven’t reconciled those feelings.
I also wonder if it makes me cold.