Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"And she'll know."

Oh, I hate to be a bummer, especially after "Blue Monday" ... but there's something I've been thinking about a lot lately, and especially yesterday. Because it was Martin Luther King Day seven years ago that I miscarried my first pregnancy. Recently, a dear friend experienced a similar loss. So it's been on my mind. And I've gone back and forth on whether to write about it, so I hope it's okay with you if I just go ahead and do it. I hope it makes sense, and I promise I'll try not to be a bummer.

"A miscarriage is a natural and common event. All told, probably more women have lost a child from this world than haven't. Most don't mention it, and they go on from day to day as if it hadn't happened, so people imagine a woman in this situation never really knew or loved what she had.

But ask her sometime: how old would your child be now? And she'll know."
- Barbara Kingsolver, in Animal Dreams

Everyone who comes to motherhood has her own unique experience; and every mother who has ever experienced the loss that comes with miscarriage has a different story to tell. In my particular story, it was weeks before anyone outside my immediate family knew what was happening. During that time, as I thought and thought and thought, it amazed me a little bit that miscarriage was so un-discussed for how common it actually is. I certainly wasn't prepared for the overwhelming amazement I felt after I began to tell friends, when suddenly so many other women seemed to come out of the woodwork with their own stories of loss. And I wanted to hear them all. I didn't want to hear "I know how you feel" - because grief is so unique to each of us - but I wanted, maybe I even needed, their stories. I thought a lot about what we learn in the scriptures, to "mourn with those that mourn" ... I always knew that verse was important, but now it's much more personal.

Again, everyone has her own experience. Although I don't think about my miscarriage very often anymore, it taught me a lot about compassion and motherhood and hope. If you or someone you love is going through a similar experience, might I suggest this website as an excellent resource (I was there almost every day for a few weeks seven years ago, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it's actually still up and running. I admire the dedication of the women behind it to keep helping others through their knowledge and experience).

I'm sure it's not about miscarriage, but I seem to also love this quote today, and it seems to fit my thoughts of late:

"Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws."
- (also, coincidentally) Barbara Kingsolver

Be good to yourself out there, okay?

1 comment:

  1. Thirteen and nine. And when I get to heaven, it will be so great to be with them. Thank you for your sensitive post and willingness to share.