(Yes, this is Beyoncé in the video for “Heaven.” Once again, it’s funny what becomes poignant to you and what you cling to, and now it’s... Beyoncé. Whatever, I’ve loved her since “Jumpin’, Jumpin’”)
Geoff and I have been on the receiving end of an outpouring of love over the past few days, and while I’m still a bit overwhelmed by it and I can’t seem to concentrate on very much very well, I wanted to acknowledge it and to say thank you. Many of you have helped me feel the knife-wound a little less sharply.
I want to emphasize that I would never judge a woman who has suffered a miscarriage or any other loss and who has chosen to grieve privately, or even not at all. We are all so different from one another. I happen to be verbal, according to my therapist (ha), which has gotten me into trouble in the past (ever panic and wish you could dive into a mailbox to retrieve a letter you just posted?). What bothers me is the thought that women remain silent because they feel they have to, because they think no one wants to hear about it, because the physical reality of a miscarriage is far from pleasant (it can take weeks before it ends), or they remain silent after following the cues of the people around them, particularly in the workplace. I know that people don’t know what to say, or they’re afraid of saying the wrong thing. But silence, for me at least, feels cruel, as is the thought that anyone might be annoyed with me for not keeping the raw emotion to myself. Luckily, in my case, many of my friends are also verbal.
This is a different example, but it’s one that I know and so I will relate it: almost ten years ago when a friend of mine was diagnosed with a recurrence of melanoma, she was afraid to talk about it and had a mutual friend tell me the gut-wrenching news. I was young and completely inexperienced in these matters, and frozen for two days until the mutual friend emailed me and said “Listen. Just reach out. Don’t talk about cancer. Say something, anything. She’s scared of losing everyone.” When Sarah responded to the email I sent (neither of us was big on talking on the phone), I could sense her relief. Oh sweet Sarah Jane!
I hope this won’t seem condescending, but I want to add it. Through beautiful Emily I found this link on Jezebel; I am not too impressed with Jezebel at the moment but I think the post, on how to help a friend who has had a miscarriage, is helpful. There are things on there that I don’t necessarily agree with, personally (if someone says “you can try again” and it comes from a place of love and support, I could never be offended), but I still think the piece is worth committing to memory if you have women in your life who are important to you (basically 99% of you). Reading these sorts of pieces (whether on miscarriage, or infertility, or cancer, or any other source of immense trauma for another human being) is always a useful exercise.
I just remembered that Tori Amos wrote a song about her miscarriage. When it was released I wasn’t much of a Tori Amos fan anymore but I’ve always loved this song. A pop culture reference to miscarriage that is pretty different from recent ones on Nashville and Girls.
Finally, if any of you stumble on this post and want to talk to someone, even a stranger, about your experience, whether it was ten years ago or ten days ago, please email me. hi at fieldguided.com.
Also this: “Someone told me when we lost our pregnancy that some day it would serve me well. I don’t really know what she meant, unless she meant that I can help/understand/be there for my sister ladies when they need me. It’s the thing that made me feel better. So maybe this will serve you well one day too?” (via Dera. Thank you, Dera)