…for being kind of a downer on an otherwise beautiful day.
You see, I’ve been thinking lately about our miscarriages. Mostly I try not to think about my sadness and loss because, really and truly, everyone bears some sadness and loss. Somehow, pitying myself seems indulgent because my suffering isn’t unique. Nonetheless, sometimes it sneaks up one you. Something triggers a memory or a feeling and then, there you are, being sad.
I recently read a book through NetGalley called Expecting by Ann Lewis Hamilton. The main character had two miscarriages in the first chapter which obviously peaked my interest. Here’s a little excerpt that made me laugh out loud (the main character Laurie is reading about Elisabeth Kubler-Ross): “Born in Switzerland, one of triplets. Naturally her mother was fertile. Everyone is fertile and carries a child to term unless they’re Laurie. ‘She moved to the United States in 1958 to work and continue her studies in New York. She had four miscarriages.’ Four? No wonder Elisabeth Kubler-Ross knew about stages of grief. After two she must’ve thought, Uh-oh. And how do you try again after three? Did people continue to tell her, ‘Don’t worry, it’ll work out next time?’ Did Elisabeth Kubler-Ross snap back at them, ‘Yeah, what the hell? Maybe the fifth fucking time is the charm. But she had two children. After all that, a boy and a girl.”
There comes a point after having miscarriages when you start to wonder if people think you’re ridiculous and foolish for persisting in what is so obviously a failed endeavor. And so I kept repeating that line in my head and giggling–…what the hell? Maybe the fifth fucking time is the charm.
Near the end of this book, I was driven to tears*. When Laurie does have a baby, they decide to name her Asha: ‘ “So why’d you pick Asha?” Alan looks at Laurie. He doesn’t say anything right away. “Because it means hope.” ‘
I follow a few bloggers** who’ve experienced loss, too. One of them posted an article she wrote recently, When Grief is Lonely and No One Sees: “When you lose someone you love, most of us want people to show up, hold our hands, care. As time passes we want them to remember…It’s a terribly ugly thing – this grief. It’s awful and it’s unfair that in the midst of this, we worry about how our grief affects others. It’s so lonely, and it gets lonelier in many ways. Make it easier on yourself, open up that door just a little for someone to walk alongside you the only way they might know how.”
The thing about a miscarriage, even one, is that it is invisible but lasting. After awhile, no one asks how you’re doing even though the wounds stay with you forever. A few friends who have had similar experiences have reached out to commiserate. I can’t speak more highly of people who are willing to relive their own heartache in order to comfort someone else. We’re not alone! I know that through hardship and loss we also gain.
Someone told me, “…you will be especially equipped to show God’s love to another young mother that suffers a miscarriage in ways others around her can’t.“ I know that’s true because so many of you friends and moms have done that very thing for me.
*I maintain it’s my personal experiences that had me crying over this book and not the crazy storyline! Laurie and her husband try artificial insemination and she ends up getting pregnant…with another man’s baby.