Lately there’s been a lot of talk about why we don’t talk about miscarriages. Miscarriage is a complicated thing full of expectations and shifting perspective. For some it’s not easy to sum up or share with someone else.
I tend to think that most things work out in life. We’ve had plenty of challenging things happen in our lives, but this in particular, I was convinced, would never be OK. I would never be OK with the gap that is in our family, the space that was reserved for this little person.
I was 11 weeks along. It was 2 weeks before Christmas. We’d all ready bought the cutest little rocking horse to put under the Christmas tree for the new baby and the best present we could give our 3 other children – a little brother or sister.
I had a moment, driving down the street, when I thought to myself “Could I be any happier? I feel like I could burst.” We’d been through several really hard years. The loss of my sister to cancer, a massive car accident and lengthy recovery for my husband, the crash of the economy. Things were starting to look brighter.
2 hours later I was cramping. I went to the bathroom and I was bleeding. I knew it was over. I called my husband into the bathroom and we sat there quietly.
The kids were getting the Christmas decorations out to decorate our Christmas tree. I sat in that dark room with the lights of the tree glowing not knowing what to feel, or what was next, but I knew my heart was broken. I absolutely believed there was a little person waiting to join our family.
We’d go through a few more of these moments over the next 18 months before deciding we were done. I couldn’t fathom that I could ever feel OK about any of it. There were suppose to be 4. I had so many reasons to want 4. On top of my own expectations, my children were begging for another little person in our family.
Time passed, and I told myself all of the stories that I needed to in order to come to terms with this whole thing. I have 3 perfectly healthy, perfectly amazing children. 3 is easier to travel. 3 is less expensive. All 3 of my children will be in school now. We don’t need a bigger car. We all sleep through the night. We all go to the bathroom by ourselves. The 4th child probably would have been a jerk. Going back to diapers? Gross.
It’s 3 years later. I’m OK. Really I am. I haven’t really wanted to talk about it because I didn’t know what I had to say. I didn’t know what I wanted. I didn’t know where we were going. I didn’t want anyone else’s input on that.
The biggest thing I didn’t want? Other people’s expectations. Are they still trying? How are they doing? What’s next? Here’s the number for my infertility doctor . . .
I didn’t need cookies, I didn’t need lunch, I didn’t need flowers. I needed my baby. I needed the story I’d written for our family.
I think a lot of people feel that way. We can be quiet about the things that are that close to our heart. There are some things we don’t need to announce to the world.
These last 3 years have been filled with the things that have stung the deepest parts of my heart. One at a time we’ve gotten rid of things. The crib. The tiny toys. The baby clothes. The idea of another baby. I couldn’t do it all at once. I think I’m still doing it.
So yes, let’s talk about miscarriage more as a society. This isn’t about taboo. This is about space. If you need it, take it. You are not expected to disclose it all. If you sit quietly figuring this thing out on your own and content to keep your silence, it’s OK (and it will get better).
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