Friday, October 8, 2010

On Loss

I wanted this next post to be a positive one, but life doesn't always work out that way. Recently, I was saddened to find out that an old friend had lost a baby through miscarriage. As it may shock my readers to know, I too have experienced this loss. I think it is common to a lot of women, though not frequently and openly discussed.

The baby that my husband and I lost was not far along. I started miscarrying at work and called my husband immediately, we went to the doctor's office, who sent me to the hospital. I knew there wasn't anything that could be done. I sat in the hospital, regretful and slightly shocked. The emergency doctor informed me that my pregnancy had terminated healthfully and that I shouldn't be upset because it was early along and therefore 'not really a baby at all.'

It was quite possibly the worst thing he could have said.

While I do maintain a pro-choice attitude about abortion, and recognize the usefulness for the letter of the law to describe a fetus as a bunch of cells for a certain period in the pregnancy, this is not necessarily the case from the perspective of the woman carrying the child. It may not always be useful to dehumanize the person that she has carried inside of her. I grieved this little person that I would never get to meet. My body ached. My heart hurt.

After I stopped being sad, I started feeling ashamed.

We hadn't told many people, not our family members, and only a few friends who raised their eyebrows when I refused a drink at the bar. I felt ashamed that they knew. I was ashamed that I had stopped in front of a few baby stores, lingering just a little longer at the window. I felt stupid for being so confident and assuming that everything was going to work out.

I realised, after my friend's loss brought all these memories back, I still feel ashamed. I'm not a person who wears their weakness on their sleeve, and this thing that had happened to me made me feel unable to discuss it with anyone. I feel so ashamed that it still brings tears to my eyes. Pregnancy is a huge leap of faith. You have to trust your body, you have to let go of control and let yourself love something that is not fully formed. My second pregnancy was full of fear, wonderment, and finally, relief.

I hope one day I can stop feeling ashamed, and just let myself feel sad. I hope I'll be able to talk about it openly without a catch in my throat and embarassment in my voice. In the meanwhile, I will just feel lucky for the beautiful things that have come into my life, and live for those.

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