I read a beautiful article via The Belle Jar on Facebook tonight. It moved me to post something very personal and painful. Most of my close friends know that we had a loss, but sharing our story more broadly felt important.
Here is the article:
A solid post on pregnancy loss, which is surprisingly hard to find.
“I picture pregnancy loss as a primordial river rushing through me; it carries forces so big, they eclipse my imagination. It runs through my femoral artery and vena cava, through my spleen, my brain, and the chambers of my heart. At first, this force is strong like rapids, flooding everything. With time it slows, but it never goes away. It rearranges my cells like stones in a riverbed. It never stops running, even after I can no longer see or feel it.”
We experienced a loss in late January. Pregnancy loss will take all your wounds, open them, and stretch them as far as they can go. I blamed myself for having a stressful job, taking on too much at work, not being healthy enough (and thin enough), and for pushing myself too hard at a cycle fit class. Mostly, I told myself queer and trans folks like us don’t deserve to parent. I mean, it is damn hard and expensive to make a gaby. There are numerous legal and medical twists and turns that remind you what a family ‘should’ look like, and yours isn’t one of them.
People don’t know what to say. Part of this is the language of ‘miscarriage.’ Part of this is about stigma and silence. My (former) best friend wrote “my sincerest condolences” by email and never called to check in. She disappeared from my life. A doctor told us it wasn’t a big deal and to try again. Another doctor told us it wouldn’t have been a big deal if we had a ‘normal’ pregnancy.
I have no idea how I continued to teach, to answer emails, or just get off my couch.
“Someone once suggested that if I hadn’t lost a pregnancy, I wouldn’t have the beautiful baby I have now. She was trying to make me feel better, I think, or to help me make sense of things. It was a mistake. I remember looking at her face and thinking that if I hadn’t had my miscarriage, I wouldn’t be the person I am now. ”
What did I gain through loss? For me, pregnancy loss reminded me of who I am as a person, full-stop, in addition to a person who is carrying, or desires to carry, a pregnancy. It helped me build boundaries and limits at work, and to think carefully and clearly about who I let into my life and my family’s life. It allowed me to sink into the support of the people who showed up. It was another reminder that I am resilient, and I will pass this flesh-knowledge to my child.