I have been neglecting writing, a lot. I didn’t want this space to be angry and lately, I’ve been angry, so I waited.
I think this post is often called “I am one in four” or “I am the 25%”. It always seems so alone, because the truth of the many doesn’t show.
So, I am one of many. Statistics and research show that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I took Genetics at varsity, the stats are actually a lot scarier, but we’ll leave them be.
Today an old school classmate posted to Facebook. A simple post remembering her lost babies. Of course, having lost a pregnancy myself, this stirred up memories. But then I looked at the comments and reactions and was again reminded of how many of us there are. And how clueless the world remains.
To give you an idea of the many, I’m a virtual recluse, and yet 3 women I know, have miscarried in the last few months. And they are just the ones who have opened up.
When Mandy from Pregnant in Cape Town interviewed me during my pregnancy, I think I said I knew 10 women who had miscarried. Two years later, having almost completely withdrawn from the world, socially, I now know 17. And I didn’t over think the count.
Considering I work from home and almost all my friends are men under 30, that should really hit home.
One of those women told me today that after a very smooth twin pregnancy, she took for granted that she was risk free. All would go well. And then it didn’t. At all. She’s hurting, but she’s a mom and she needs to be strong. And now she is faced with all the idiotic things people say, because they mean well. Things she and I would likely have said before we knew any better.
“At least it happened early” There’s really no good time to lose a child. At a few weeks, you feel like you never even had a chance, in your third trimester you have to face things I can’t bear to think of, as infants they never had a chance, each stage contains its own type of grief and each is equally terrible. You always feel cheated and like you’ve personally failed. So early isn’t better. A parent has a real and soul-tying connection to their child from the very second they suspect the child’s existence. The loss is real, and painful and huge and timing really makes no difference.
“At least you already have kids/You can try again” Children, whether we have met them or not, are not like dinner plates. It’s not a matter of one breaking being ok, because you have 5 more and you can buy another. One child does not replace or make up for another. It would seem stupid to others, but I still have every single item related to my lost pregnancy. From the pregnancy test to the release papers after my D&C. I keep them in the same file as I keep my living child’s information. I keep them, because that baby mattered and someone should remember that.
But people don’t know. You don’t until you do. And though we are many, we are silent. For many reasons, often self-imposed. And because we are silent, we feel alone and those around us don’t understand. It is my wish for each of us that we find the courage, in time, to speak of the children that left us too soon, so that some feel less alone and others may finally understand.
Noone can bear your grief for you, but we can hold each other up, when the grief is too heavy.
As Samwise Gamjee said to Frodo: “I cannot carry it for you, but I CAN carry you”