Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Birth and Death

Day 201 (Tuesday, September 7)

Today I learned just how important it is to allow yourself to feel, and grieve, and express yourself. I have been trying so desperately to move on from the pain associated with this miscarriage- and denial was really working for me until tonight when I was leaving Target and was confronted with a 16 year old, crackhead looking, 11 month pregnant girl who was smoking a cigarette and drinking a Starbucks. Thankfully I am not one of those women who struggles being around pregnant women and babies. It doesn't pain me to watch the joy on their faces. What does pain me is seeing a woman who couldn't care less about her unborn child, or mistreats the child she does have, while there are billions of women around the world who are trying to get pregnant and either can't get pregnant or can't hold a pregnancy. Seeing her tonight brought on emotions that I was so completely unprepared for. I feel like I'm carrying not only my pain, but I'm suddenly more sensitive to the suffering of every women who has ever known this kind of loss. Thankfully I was surrounded by some of my close friends and sisters tonight and I was free to express myself fully- which I haven't truly done since this whole mess started. I guess all those psychologists, with their grieving process, were right on. You really can't skip any of the stages. You can try, but it will come up to bite you unexpectedly in a grocery store parking lot.

It finally occurred to me why this particular trial is so excruciating. Miscarriage and stillbirth leave you so completely vulnerable to the two most fundamental aspects of our mortal experience: Birth and death. And you're expected to cope with both of them simultaneously, usually without any answers, and very little hope. A miscarriage rocks any trust you had in your body and leads you to begin questioning if you're capable of anything worthwhile. There is a total loss of innocence when it comes to future pregnancies. I will never be so blissfully unaware again- and I resent that. How do people go on to new pregnancies and not be completely stricken with panic every time they feel the slightest twinge, or cramp? I am now so aware of how out of control we all really are. How do I quiet the "what if's" when I'm trying to go to sleep or concentrate? How do I mourn this tiny, but very significant life? There's nothing for me to hold, or look at. There aren't any memories or pictures, or even a body to bury. Why are there people that are so complacent about miscarriage? Even if you've never experienced it and you've never had trouble giving birth- why aren't you more sensitive to the pain? This was a life! Scientists have proven that at the moment of conception the embryo has all the DNA necessary to become a fully functioning human being- so why isn't this loss given the same sensitivity and attention as if a living, breathing child had died? And the physical aspect also seems to be so overlooked- there is a great deal of physical pain and a frightening amount of blood associated with miscarriage. You're constantly wondering if this is normal, could I die from this? Will the bleeding ever stop? And not only that but you're stuck between this paralyzing fear of and desperate need to see the fetus. Your heart feels like it's going to beat out of your chest each time you go to the bathroom for fear of what you're going to see.
But a friend recently comforted me with two comments. First she reminded me of one my core values and how important a role it plays in my current circumstances- Faith. Second she made a promise, that with time I will begin to recover. It's a miracle that we've been given on this earth, the ability to heal, both physically and emotionally. I still don't understand how, but people do heal from some of the most unexplainable, agonizing events. They may still carry scars, but they do heal.


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