…in which we discuss that which is always kept quiet.

I’m in a really weird mood and I’m about to overshare in an obnoxious and rambling way. Please feel free to skip. 
…if you don’t want to skip and want to read the continuation, it’s here.

 

 

So… I joined a club this week, I guess. Unfortunately. It’s not the club I wanted to join, and most of the members are silent.

I had a miscarriage. (Am having a miscarriage? I’m not familiar enough with it to know exactly how the verb tense works with the timeline.) And I’m looking around, knowing the stats that say 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end this way, and it’s a weird and silent place to be in, knowing I’m not alone, but knowing very, very few of the others who have been here before.

Why is it so quiet?

Where is everyone? 
I’m not judging my sisters who choose to deal with it privately. There are so, SO many reasons a woman wouldn’t want to walk through this publicly… It hurts too much. There aren’t words. There have been several and you just can’t talk about it one. more. time. If that is you, I am so, so sorry. Please hear my heart here: if you need to work this out on your own with Jesus, please, please, don’t feel any judgement from me.You don’t owe me or anyone else any explanation at all.

But also… is everyone choosing to deal with it quietly, or are a lot of us just doing it because that’s culturally how it’s done? I feel like there’s a weird veil of silence over the whole thing that’s not just because so many of us want to process alone.

I’ve kept three pregnancies (now four, I suppose) under wraps (sort of) until the magical mark of 12 weeks, because that’s how it’s done. 
Why? Well, in case it doesn’t work out.
Ok, I totally don’t want to announce a pregnancy at five weeks, lose it at six, then have people hearing about and congratulating me on my happy news while I’m trying to process the loss. One of my best friends walked that road and it was heartbreaking.
So I know why I choose to wait to share the news. But, now that loss has happened, why, again, do I feel I have to stay silent?
Culturally, it’s no big deal, I suppose. “Just a lump of tissue.” (It’s only a baby after it reaches a certain size, perhaps. And only if the mom wants it. That makes sense, right?)
 
Nobody knows what to say.
 
It makes people uncomfortable.
Here’s the deal. It happens. A lot. And not talking about it doesn’t make it into something else, something more palatable, something that didn’t happen at all. And this week, I have no bothers to give about the cultural norm that says “we just don’t talk about it.”
I don’t need your sympathy, but I suspect we would be better off if the people who wanted to share felt free to do so. So I’m going to.
So, sister, if you’re out there, this is my story. You are not alone. Your story probably looks different than mine, and that’s totally fine. Take the parts that are helpful and leave the rest.
I found out I was pregnant on a Saturday morning. It was a faint but unmistakable second line.
It took me the whole day to even start wrapping my head around it.
A baby. I love babies. But I HAVE a baby. And he’s still… a baby. So, [mental calculations] we’re looking at end of April. So… 17 months and change between the youngest two. That’s the same as the gap between the girls. So… that’s insane. We. are. insane. Also? Four carseats will not fit in the Ridgeline. I’m going to have four children before the first even starts kindergarten. One-way ticket to crazy town. Wait. My due date is like a day after the Weekend to Remember. I’m going to drive to Anchorage and work really hard at 39 1/2 weeks. I had like a week and a half of increasingly convincing false labor with #3. That could be really disconcerting driving 360 miles, twice, in week 40. 
On and on it went, my brain doing a thousand different calculations to wrap my itself around this baby’s place in my nearish future.
But, at the end of the day (and I do actually mean the literal end of that Saturday), I’d come to land squarely on gratitude for this gift and a sort of nervous excitement.
Tuesday, I decided to test again, hoping for a less faint second line, so I could tell a few family members about it. Negative. What? Negative again. Hmm… Chemical pregnancy? Early miscarriage? Highly unlikely false positive? Or slightly more likely false negatives? Later in the day, I took one for reasons I’m still not sure of, and it was positive. No, really. What?!? Obsessive as I am, this led to a weird ritual of testing a couple times every second or third day, with mixed results. I was very, very tired of holding emotional space open for either outcome. Come the following Tuesday, I was getting all negatives (including an officialish one at the birth center. Same technology, but administered by professionals, so I somehow have more faith in it. Not sure why.) It was over. I talked with a midwife about what to expect when I’m suddenly NOT expecting.

I carried a dead baby inside of me for at least several days. It was weird. Sad. Disturbing.

Thursday, ten days after I found out about the littlest, my body decided to let baby go.
Somehow, that isn’t better.
And I’m sad. It’s not the soul-crushing grief that I expected, the grief I’ve experienced in empathy with friends over the years.
And that fact leads to a fair bit of guilt. (I firmly believe this baby is an actual human person, not just tissue. But apparently, emotionally, I’ve absorbed the cultural belief that it’s not a person yet. What kind of Jesus-follower am I?!? A crappy one, that’s what.) (I totally don’t believe that. My head is a jerk and I wind up feeling irrational guilt over stuff like this sometimes.)
There’s relief. Certainly NOT relief at the loss, but it was so very taxing to have to hold on to both “He gives” and “He takes away” in the same moment, for the same baby. So there was some relief just in knowing. {Insert more guilt.}
And I’m still living inside my crazy and beautiful life where my kids are running around half-naked, screaming like banshees about having crayon stuck in their teeth. (True story.) And that sort of helps. Rather than crushed, I’m numb, sad, distracted. And tired. So very, very tired. Thankful for the healthy babies I have. Thankful, somehow, that I knew about this one. (For various reasons, it would have been really easy for me to not know about the littlest one at all.) But also, this morning I was looking at my baby boy’s toes, and realized that the little one we lost was just a little smaller than his pinkie toe, and I won’t ever get to smooch his little sweet self. Somebody actually did die. 

And here’s where I come to an abrupt and awkward end.

Because that brings us more or less to now.
I don’t have anything neat to tie it up. I don’t have any big perspective or any reason why this generally applies to you. It probably doesn’t. I hope it doesn’t.
Well, actually, it does apply to you, at least a little. Can we make a little room for this discussion? Be willing to hear and be a safe space for a friend? I’m thankful beyond words for the people in my life who have been that safe space for me for the last little bit. (I’m sure your job isn’t over!) 

As far as my story goes, as always, there is grace enough.

There’s grace enough for the relief and the sad and the numb and the distracted and the thankful. We’re OK. God is big. He gives and takes away. Blessed be his name.
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Author: robininalaska

Just another mom trying to follow Jesus and do a good job and enjoy it.

15 thoughts on “…in which we discuss that which is always kept quiet.”

  1. Oh, Robin, thanks for sharing. I hope you can tell your story to others. My daughter-in-law had a miscarriage at 1- weeks. She was devastated. She was scared. She had no idea that it was common. I am so glad I could hold her at the hospital and love her. Praise God she was blessed with a healthy boy several years later. Hugs to you. I love your family. Even though we rarely talk face to face you are in my heart.

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  2. Ah, my dear niece-friend-sister. Even though none of the members wanted you to join the club, I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say “welcome.” And though, obviously, I never, ever, would have selected you as a member, I'm so thankful that you are here, having gone through this, because now you are intimate with a part of me that you can only know through the shared experience. This is the only way that I have known motherhood … but it never feels legitimate to call it that, not to others … and especially not to others who lose their babies after having told the world, or after painting the nurseries, or after – oh, Sweet Jesus, hold these sisters – feeling the grip of a tiny clasp around their pinkies. From the moment I knew, or even fantasized because it was impossible to know, that there was this new little person in my world, I was making the adjustment, creating the space in my heart and in my mind, figuring out how I could best love, best serve, best sacrifice for the good of that person. And even when I had only a few days to create the space, when the baby was gone, it became most definitely an empty space. It still is. It wasn't until some years had passed that some good, trained-for-this friends helped me to pray for the surrender that allowed the healing of the wound, stopped the empty space from being a drain through which other joys in life were lost. In a way, I did get to deliver children – I delivered them to the Lord through my prayer. And I'm not sure how relationships in heaven are going to work, but in that time of prayer I related to my babies as a mother does, and they related to me as their mother, and it was beautiful. And I was able to tangibly surrender my children to Jesus – not with joy, no! Not even a logical resignation. But they weren't able to be with me, so it was a heart-wrenching comfort to put them in His safe arms. Were they already with Him? Sure. But I needed to put myself in the picture, needed to tell Him – and them – how deeply I regretted the time we didn't have together. And how much I enjoyed the time we did. I'd like to think that your child is already enjoying the company of my little tribe … it fits with my beliefs, even if it doesn't fit neatly with my comprehension of chronology and biology. And I am SO thankful to Jesus that He sent us His Spirit, the Comforter, who so aptly relates with me in ways – very experiential ways, even though they defy description – that make the empty spaces feel more like part of a beautiful lace design, and less like a rip in the fabric of my life. I pray that your healing is as complete as mine has been. And I thank the Lord that He is both sovereign and wise.

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  3. Beautiful and lovely and well said. Thank you for sharing your heart and experience. I have nine children. I've never had a miscarriage and often wondered what it would be like. I think I would be processing it very similar to you. Grace enough, always…… BTW, I came across your blog through Hope Writers. I live down in Sitka, so we are Alaskan sisters in Christ. 🙂 Love to you, Renee

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  4. Thank you so much! My heart is finally starting to settle from it and things are finally starting to feel almost normal again. I'm glad you found me and I'm excited to get to know you on fb and in the group!

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  5. I'm so sorry for your loss! We had an enormous ordeal having our last 2, with 3 losses before we had them. I kept the first two quiet, but the last one happened in a much more public way because it was later. Either way, they're painful. But for me, I'd rather share the pain with others than have to manage it all on my own. I hope you've been finding healing over these last few months! (popping over from Hope*Writers)

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  6. With my first miscarriage, the silence was oppressive. At first I couldn't talk about what had happened, didn't want to talk, but then when I finally did, no one wanted to hear me talk about it. Seriously, I had a number of very awkward, hurtful exchanges when I tried to bring it up. When we miscarried again earlier this year, I was determined to not be quiet about it, even though we hadn't even told people we were pregnant again. Based on my first m/c experience, I shared six ways to pray for someone going through what I was going through. I really believe those prayers are what got me through this year. Given the choice, I will never keep it quiet again. Thank you for sharing your experience!

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