During my 400th session pumping today (my God, I forgot how much I hate that), I was reading the Motherlode blog on my Blackberry. Scrolling through, I found a post from a few days ago about the lasting emotional effects of miscarriage.
It talks about how some people continue to mourn the loss of their pregnancy while others move past it. And how outsiders view it, including trying to tell women it wasn’t meant to be, or this was nature’s way, or whatever people say when they are trying to be helpful but really are just uncomfortable. I don’t think people are trying to be insensitive when they say those kinds of things, they’re just at a loss, you know? I mean, it’s awkward, and nobody ever talks about it.
It’s one reason I’ve posted my story on this blog — it helped me to write it out, and when it happened to me, it helped me to read about others’ experiences.
But reading this Motherlode post kind of brought a lot of it back. It says in there that people don’t often ask women about lost pregnancies. That is so true. When I went to the hospital to have Jack, the resident looked at my chart and said, “Oh, this is your third child,” I think, assuming it would be an easy delivery since, you know, I had done this before. I know my chart said 3 pregnancies, 0 live births. I immediately hated that resident. I mean, if you can’t read a chart, asshole, then you sure as hell aren’t delivering my baby. (He didn’t — my beloved OB was there every step for what was an easy delivery).
I had two back-to-back miscarriages in 2007. After the second one, I decided to take a break from trying to get pregnant and run a marathon instead. I had run several before that, and knew I wasn’t in great shape, but I just needed something, anything to keep my mind occupied. (I ended up running a godawful Twin Cities on a record-heat day.) During training, I started to just feel awful — crabby, exhausted, out of it. All that could be overtraining (guilty as charged, all the time!). I went to my doctor and he gently asked about my year, and then just told me it was OK to mourn the loss of the pregnancies. He talked to me about how nobody acknowledges the grief that can cause, and that it really WAS OK to just let myself feel it.
My husband was awesome through that whole year, but I still felt a huge weight lifted off me when my doctor said that. Because I was still holding onto that grief. I remember going to a party for my brother-in-law after the second one, and I was just in a total fog. I felt awful, and couldn’t stand to be around anyone. My sister-in-law asked me about books — a topic I love to discuss — and I think I talked for like 30 straight minutes about what I had been reading. Just trying to avoid any and all other conversation. It was horrible.
I know a lot of other women feel the same, and don’t talk about it. It’s awkward, it makes others uncomfortable. Nobody knows what to say. I understand that. I really do. I also understand people who need to talk about it. I did, in my own way. And I still do, which is why I bring it up all the time — you never know when someone might be just looking for an opportunity to share their experience. And I guess I want them to know, hey, I will listen.
I am still grateful for my best friend, who listened to everything about my experience. All the gory details I felt like I had to spill out, just to process it all. She didn’t shy away. She wasn’t grossed out. She just listened. Thanks again for that, Laurie.