I’ve written and re-written this post… because the message I want to convey isn’t an easy one to summarize. The flow of it, it’s like a kaleidoscope, so many ways to look at it, and it all depends on perspective and where I am in the time line.
There were the days when I wrote it, and all I seemed to be able to express was bitterness and anger over the fact that God seemingly didn’t deem us worthy of being parents to our Miracle.
There were the months that I tweaked it while I struggled to understand why something that seems to come so easily and naturally to everybody else is such an unattainable dream for us.
I deleted portions and re-wrote them during those weeks, months, when we were going to the birthday parties of children who had successfully turned a year older — and I was joyful for them, life is to be celebrated, after all — but sometimes it felt like a gut punch because our baby didn’t live to see his or her first birthday.
And then, a week ago, I deleted and re-wrote it in its entirety from where I am now.
I’ve intentionally chosen not to keep our loss a secret, but by doing so, I’ve opened myself up to the hurt inflicted by well-meaning, but misguided people who think that by sharing their stories of being “fertile Myrtle” and “I had 4 kids in 5 years” or “my friend didn’t mean to get pregnant so she had an abortion” is somehow appropriate. Or, even those who tell me “I struggled with infertility but after two years ended up pregnant and it must have all been stress related,” or “Having kids is stressful, you should feel blessed you have none,” or “There are too many souls in this world as it is.” I am not making these up — I couldn’t possibly.
By remaining open about my experience, I find that yes, it’s hurtful at times, but then there are times when I’m able to educate those who don’t know or understand. I’m breaking the silence! And even more remarkable, I’ve come across people — both men and women — who have suffered a miscarriage or baby born still. People who have remained a silent member of a club they never wanted to be in. These people, they tell me in near whispers, of their losses — birth stories without a happy ending — as if they are ashamed it happened to them. As if it were something they could even control.
So, please, if you’re stumbling across this post because you’re trying to figure out how to console someone who has had a miscarriage or a baby loss — just tell them simply, “I’m so sorry…” and then stop. That’s enough. Truly, it is. Don’t go on to share birth stories, abortion stories, successfully pregnant after managing stress stories, someone you know is pregnant, kid’s birthday party stories, suggestions of trying again or adopting, or whatever… just don’t. When people have done that to me, it makes me feel as if they’re belittling the death of my baby, as if it were nothing… a “nothing” that was life-altering to me.
The baby I lost may not seem real to anyone else, but I can assure you, as someone who spent the first three months of this year peeing on a pregnancy test every day and then watching in amazement as it turned positive, hoping and praying that we would finally have a healthy baby, and then spent 10 days miscarrying our baby, with hours and hours of cramps and contractions, sitting on the toilet passing enormous blood clots the size and thickness of my hand? And then, finally, when I held the very beginnings of human life in my hands? Even though it wasn’t alive, that baby became very, very real to me.
Yet through it all — through the worry, fear of the unknown, and emotional torment, the nights and mornings when I sobbed my heart out because the baby wasn’t viable, and physical pain, those times when I was on my knees trying to remember to breathe through the pain — I couldn’t help but be awed by it all. All those blood clots I passed? Those were intended to act as insulation to protect my baby from any harm that may come to it from outside of me. Those contractions, if they had come 6 months later, would have brought a live baby into the world. Even the fact that we had even miraculously managed to get pregnant, when all the odds were against us, made my brain whirl. My body did what it was supposed to do, even though it wasn’t the result we so desperately wanted.
For a short time, that seemed such a long time, we were parents. And for that I can’t help but feel grateful for the experience. Our baby was too small to warrant its own marked grave, but I believe that God wove our baby together and I believe that God is taking care of Miracle today. I have to believe that.
This day is so painful to me, and I don’t plan to memorialize it every year, but today I will. Because I will never forget. Anyone who has had a miscarriage or a stillborn baby never forgets. No matter how many children someone has, if they’ve ever lost one, there will always be one more who is silently counted in their parents’ minds.
Every day, a thousand times a day, I think about our Miracle… today especially, because today was Miracle’s due date.