I decided a long time ago that I would never get too personal on here, because when one does that there’s the potential to make oneself vulnerable to insensitivity or unwarranted criticism (which can be warranted in some cases, of course, but I don’t want to talk about that right now), or to be misunderstood, and I’m just an ordinary person trying to live my life. Quietly, for the most part. But I went through something heartbreaking this week, and I’ve been feeling so alone and so miserable that through the tears I can see the benefit in sharing the events of this past week with others, in the hopes that good may come out of it. Even if it comes between posts about products. I’m sorry about that.
I made this little bunny rattle for the baby Geoff and I were to welcome in late August, but something went wrong along the way and I suffered a miscarriage at nine weeks (sorry, friends I never got to tell, but that’s why I wasn’t drinking at your parties months ago). It’s brought a sadness so profound I’m actually surprised by it, and a physical pain so intense that Geoff nearly called for an ambulance when he found me writhing on our bed. With it went my excitement, my daydreams that imagined my life gliding along a trajectory to a potentially happy future that had seemed elusive. And now I’m mired in feelings of hopelessness, uncertainty, fear, guilt. I had tried so hard not to get ahead of myself, leaving that soft, tiny one-piece with bear ears that was on clearance on the rack, not buying black and white, high-contrast stuffed animals when I saw them, only sharing the news with a handful of close friends and family. I knew that this could happen, that it happens so, so often, and is sometimes far worse (not that this is a competition… wouldn’t that be the most hateful competition of all time) but now I have to deal with the brutal outcome for real. With a possible D&C. With the devastated would-be first-time grandparents. With returning the small tower of pregnancy books and prenatal workout DVDs to the library and signing out the books I never wanted to read. Sometimes I feel fine, and sometimes I lose my breath and the tears come hot and fast and I can’t get it together, even on the subway, and it’s just despair and hollowness.
A few years ago someone I wasn’t particularly close to posted a photo album on Facebook. The photos were of floral arrangements, with notes of thanks to the friends who had sent them, and sympathetic yet vague responses from some of those friends. There was no hint as to why they had been sent, but I had the feeling that they had been sent because she had had a miscarriage. I may have been wrong, but I remember thinking that that was a sweet thing that people did for each other, that because no one can actually do anything to help (what can they do? Friends have asked and I don’t know the answer), they resort to a tried-and-true, kind gesture. I remember thinking that she posted that photo album as a way of crying out that this was a thing that had happened to her, that she was grieving and desperate for acknowledgement. Which may be what I’m doing here. And yet hardly anyone wants to talk about it, which I understand, I understand so well! I certainly don’t see one miscarriage announcement on Instagram for every three or four pregnancy announcements (one in five or one in four ends, I get different stats quoted at me). Imagine how many followers you would lose!
(That was facetious.)
This might sound silly/crazy, but I will take what little I can get where I find it: I recently finally downloaded the newest Beyoncé album. The video for “Blue” was so touching and warm to me that I cried. A few days later, while crying for different reasons, I listened to Jay-Z’s “Glory” and watched the HBO documentary Life is but a Dream. In it she talks about how she had had a miscarriage before Blue Ivy was born, and she talks quite a bit about how painful it was for her. I am no Beyoncé, and I have a net worth of maybe the total amount of spare change in just one of her purses (as if Beyoncé even touches paper money and coins with her own hands), but it made me feel connected to her, and oddly, shockingly comforted. She mentions that her grandmother lit candles in churches for her mother, and her mother lit them for her; I haven’t been a practicing Catholic since I was a child, but it’s funny how in times like these I get the compulsion to light a candle in every church within a 20 kilometre radius.
On the day in December that Geoff and I found out that I was pregnant we bought lottery tickets and took photos in one of the few existing analogue photobooths around here. We felt so lucky. A bit scared, of course, but relieved, and so full of love. And this week, only a few weeks later, my life turned into a surreal nightmare in which I sat in a chair in a downtown hospital’s emergency room waiting and waiting and waiting for a RhoGAM shot. A few feet away behind a thin, pale blue curtain a nurse asked a patient inane question after question about her life, making her recite phone numbers and addresses, trying to keep her alert and awake and to bring her back from the brink after she had tried to kill herself with an overdose of pills. It was harrowing. I still haven’t been able to process that.
I don’t want to be known as that woman who had a miscarriage (oh god!), and I don’t want this to be seen as a tragedy that I will let colour the rest of this year. It is only January, after all, and the best parts of the year have yet to come (this has been a particularly frigid, dreadful January). But for now I’m shivering, lying under blankets in my apartment that is barely above freezing because our furnace broke overnight, feeling that the universe is adding insult to injury. I can only hope that the universe will grant me a future will containing even a hint of the happiness and beauty in that “Blue” video.