Read an Excerpt
"You Dont Ever Forget a Miscarriage"
Debbie has a four-year-old daughter. Since that birth, she has lost three babies through miscarriages. Right now, she is at the 15-week stage of another pregnancy and is finally being treated with one of the newer methods for miscarriage prevention. Although anxiety-ridden, she says she is praying hard.
I don't see how you can be expected to "forget" a miscarriage. Even if it happened at only 8 weeks, there had been a baby inside you. There was hope, and planning, and dreams. We don't let each other grieve the right way. It's not "just a miscarriage," but a baby that has been lost. Whether you know someone for ten years, or it's a baby that's only been inside of you a few weeks, there's still a relationship there that you have made. It's become part of your life.
All the time, women like me hear that "it's God's way" or "it was meant to be." But those words don't take away the pain, even if they're right. If you want to talk about it at all, friends, relatives, they try and change the subject, and you'll be asked, "Do you want a cup of tea or coffee?" What I say is, if it was really God's will then why does He let me get pregnant so easily?
If a friend of yours died, people wouldn't say, "Oh, it was God's way," and if you're crying over that death, they wouldn't say, "Stop crying." I've found that the only people who really understand what I'm going through are others who've undergone miscarriages; they can share their sense of loss with you.
I was really strong for the first miscarriage. But by thisthird one, I've just been thrown. How strong can you be? I hold on for my husband's and my daughter's sakes. But I cry when I'm alone in the evenings. It's something I'll never forget.
Debbie is not a wealthy woman. Her husband works as a store manager. They can scarcely afford the medical bills involved. Yet her genuine desire for another child drives her on. She is being treated for an autoimmune disorder that has been detected as the possible cause of her problem.
Philippa, socially Debbie's opposite, is the wife of a wealthy lawyer. A graciously attractive woman, she, too, had a daughter before suffering any problems with miscarriages. That daughter is now eleven years old; in the years since her birth Philippa has lost five more babies. Recently, Philippa experienced another devastating loss, another miscarriage. At the age of forty-two, both she and her husband feel that they have lost control over this vital area of their lives.
"No One Knows How to Respond to You"
There are people for whom life always goes easily. Until I was thirty, I was one of those people. Then, after that first miscarriage, I realized I had passed through a door onto the other side, a magic door. Now I'm with all those people who suffer, who grieve, who cannot make life run along the lines they'd prefer.
Once you've gone through that door, most people just don't know how to respond to you. I can't really blame them; until it happened to me I wouldn't have known either. But I've had friends cross the street rather than have to confront me. Most people, I think, would prefer to pretend the baby never happened, rather than talk about your loss with you.
After the loss of this latest baby a little girl, born at 23 weeks my husband took me away for a vacation to Barbados. It was lucky we were staying at a very proper English resort, because the one thing I didn't want was anyone becoming too close and friendly. How do you answer the common question, "How many children do you have?" What I want to say to them is something along the lines of "I have one live child and a garden full of babies we have buried." But you can't do that to your random well-wisher, can you? I'm not strong enough yet to take such a stance.
On the way back from that vacation, the movie on the plane unexpectedly showed a scene of a woman giving birth. That was the last thing I wanted to see. But it was a jammed flight and I couldn't get out of my seat. I took the headphones off so I wouldn't have to listen. But I burst into tears. There I was still postmiscarriage, bleeding heavily, and my milk started to gush forth. I was wet and crying uncontrollably. The woman sitting next to me tried to move as far away as she could get. But the stewardess kindly brought me a blanket to cover myself.
You go through all the same hormonal and emotional changes as after a full-term birth. And you can't explain your situation to anyone. Would anyone have wanted to hear?
For some women the loss of a baby may be almost unnoticed. Happening in the very early weeks following conception, the blood loss often appears like a heavy but late period. To other women, the loss is traumatic, painful, and most deeply experienced. Today, the medical and caring professions are becoming aware that no woman should be ignored at the time of such loss. If the woman was emotionally involved with the pregnancy, then the miscarriage should be seen as an important time in her life, and in that of the couple...