Feminist and Queer Readings on Miscarriage

“It is not easy to name our pain, to make it a location for theorizing.” – bell hooks

I took the week off of work and have read everything there is to read online about miscarriage from a feminist and/or queer perspective. I’ve done the search so you don’t have to (and because the Pro-Life fuckers will get you on Google). Here is a list of the articles that have helped me to theorize through the pain of loss:

  1. Why pro-choice rhetoric precludes dialogue on miscarriage and mainstream feminists have little to say on the issue (limited by its lack of analysis of miscarriage from a reproductive justice frame)-“Unpregnant: The silent, secret grief of miscarriage” by Alexandra Kimball
  2. Why the word “miscarriage” places blame onto those who conceive and do not carry to term.
  3. S. Bear Bergman gives permission for pr0-choice feminists to grieve in his new advice column for Bitch Media. His best line: “You created an entire room in your heart for this new human you had started gestating, and now it stays empty.”
  4. Who doesn’t like a self-care list? Here is one for surviving a miscarriage by Everyday Feminism. I would add taking a long bath with your love while listening to rain on an iPhone, and talking about what you both liked the most about being pregnant.
  5. What I wish I had given out to everyone who has said something hurtful and mindless to us about trying to make a baby and miscarrying prior to them opening their mouths or texting weird things. FYI: If you are a doctor, don’t tell a queer couple that they are young and to just keep trying. “What to Say-And What Not to Say- After someone Has a Miscarriage.
  6. #Ihadamiscarriage and the card I would send myself.
  7. A call for papers for a book I wish was in-print from Demeter Press “Interrogating Reproductive Loss: Feminist Writings on Abortion, Miscarriage, and Stillbirth.” 
  8. A reminder that anti-abortion laws criminalize women who miscarry in the US.
  9. The lack of queer and trans studies/writings/advice never ceases to astound me, but this one is a good start for thinking through heterosexism and supporting the grief of the non-carrying partner.
  10. Queer Mama writes about miscarriage and conceiving after loss. This is the queer club you don’t want to belong to, but nevertheless, you are happy it exists.

Rainbow Babies

I was pregnant for a week.

After a few meetings and some wine, friends of our decided to help us in the process of getting pregnant. I imagined that the next time I sat down to right a blog entry, I would be describing the exchange-of-sperm process. This was my biggest concern last month. I was worried about timing the fresh sperm delivery just right, thanking our friends properly, and how it might feel to see our donor in public after trying to conceive with his sperm.

Soon after we inseminated for the fourth time, my best friend and chosen sister came to surprise me for my 30th birthday. I had the most incredible five days, and at the end of it, we found out we were pregnant. Happiness can do that.

My period was a day late on Monday, and I tested positive on a Tuesday morning after my basal body temperature skyrocketed instead of dropping off (indicating menstruation). My body felt different, and I settled into the idea of being pregnant more quickly that Norse. They called their favourite nurse (who works with our local Trans Health Clinic) to confirm that our faint positive was a positive, and called me tearfully from work. We spent the next few days spontaneously shouting “Holy shit! We’re pregnant!”

On the Friday after testing, we called Norse’ mom and sister to tell them the good news. It was Norse’s mom’s birthday, and we wanted to let her know she would be a Grandma (to more than our fur baby).

Pregnancy was beautiful and terrible. I had the most incredible acne I’ve ever had. I also had food aversions and insomnia. Norse rubbed our soon-to-be growing gayby bump, and said goodbye to the two of us when dropping me off at work in the mornings. We were swooning with love for our “nugget.” We were high.

On Sunday, I went to my usual cycle fit class with a friend, and for smoothies. When I returned home, I felt exhausted and slept for the afternoon. Norse was gone for the day, and when they returned home that night I began to bleed.

The blood came slowly at first.

Terrified, we called our province’s telehealth and they suggested I see a doctor the next day. I sobbed.

Knowing that neither of us would sleep anyway, we went to our local ER. We checked in with a nurse and sat for 4 hours in the waiting room. By the end of our wait, the bleeding had gotten worse, and my body seemed to be deflating. I was watching hormones leak out of my body slowly. Children’s programming was blasting out of the TV (because the world can be cruel), and we held onto my belly like we we’re pleading with the nugget to stick around. When we finally saw a doctor, she told us that my pregnancy hormones were very low, and that there was nothing she could do. She suggested I see a doctor for more testing in the upcoming days.

When we got home, we did our best to sleep and at 7am on Monday, I came out of the bathroom and fell into Norse’s arms. The bleeding had become very heavy. We were miscarrying.

I don’t know how to describe the feeling of miscarrying, other than to say it is actually flushing your hopes and dreams down the toilet.

Norse texted our counsellor and asked for an emergency Skype session. She was in Hawaii with her girlfriend, but picked up our call and talked us through our grief. She had tears in her eyes while I cried and Norse talked through their shock.

I was pregnant for seven days. I will always have been pregnant for seven days. So, the next time we see a doctor, I will have to answer “yes” to the question “have you ever been pregnant?” and somehow we will survive the countdown to Oct 8th, which was our nugget’s due date.

Google-ing “how to survive a miscarriage,” I found out that babies conceived after a miscarriage are called “rainbow babies.”

How gay.