On the road to healing from my miscarriage, I encountered a handful of well-meaning women who hadn’t experienced the same type of loss, and who, despite their best intentions, said all the wrong things. Statements like, “maybe it was for the best, something must have been wrong, ” were anything but helpful. Suggestions that I should, “just be grateful for Baby E–some people can’t have ANY children,” infuriated me. I didn’t need to be reminded of the great blessing I have in my healthy daughter. Mourning the loss of her younger sibling did not mean I was taking E for granted.
I offered one friend this heinous analogy: If I gouged out one of your eyes with a spoon, would you be upset? Or would you just be perfectly content to still have one healthy, beautiful eye? Some people are blind, after all.
The general public’s ignorance on the subject of miscarriage (and the emotions that go along with it) is reason enough for most couples not to announce their pregnancies until the second trimester. But in addition to the handful of women who didn’t understand what I was going through, I was surprised to find a great many women who understood all too well. It’s a shame that so many have suffered in silence, enduring the misguided comments from well meaning friends and family, when their extended social circle undoubtedly includes several ladies whose words could actually help. The average woman’s ignorance on the subject is unacceptable, considering just how common miscarriage actually is.
Why shouldn’t parents-to-be celebrate their pregnancies from the very beginning? Why shouldn’t women have support from their friends and families during the first trimester–often the scariest part of the entire process? And why shouldn’t the world be aware of tactful ways to respond when they hear about a loved one’s loss?
A life is a life, no matter how short, and every baby deserves to be celebrated. We hadn’t told anyone about our little one, only because we were waiting to announce at Christmas. We thought it would make for a beautiful holiday memory…and it would have, had our angel not been called to Heaven just before that time. I wish we would have/could have shared the news. I wish there could have been happiness, smiles and hugs, prayers and positive thoughts for our baby during the time he or she was alive. Maybe it would have made a difference. Maybe it wouldn’t have. But our baby deserved that attention, at least.
I was tempted to post on Facebook when it happened, something about Jesus wanting another angel, something about how I didn’t understand. I refrained from doing that, because I didn’t want to ruin anyone’s Christmas, making them feel sorry for me or stirring up painful memories of their own. By that time, my baby was already gone, but it would have been nice, from my perspective, for my family to have the heads up. Then I wouldn’t have had to listen to our cousins asking when E would be getting a little brother or sister. That was like a dagger to my heart every time.
We live in a world where we can speak openly in mixed company about anything from invasive medical procedures, to sex, to violent crime. And yet we don’t talk about miscarriage–an unavoidable fact of life. Discussing the baby helps to make him/her real, which is vital to the healing process for most grieving mothers. Why should so many of us struggle with this heartache in relative isolation when the sad truth is that we aren’t an anomaly?