Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pregnancy Loss Guest Post -- Kate

{This is my close friend Kate, her loss and my first were right at the same time and she was a HUGE support for me. To see all the posts, click here}

Apparently we have a lot to be aware of this month. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to my friend over at The Naptown Organizer, it’s also Window Covering Safety Awareness Month. The sign at my local community college let me know that it’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. A quick Google search confirms that it’s also Autism Awareness Month, Dwarfism Awareness Month, and on a lighter note, National Squirrel Awareness Month. No, I did not make that up, I swear. (WTF, America?) With the exception of the latter, October is a pretty heavy month.

Today, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, which is part of the month long Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. But I hope you never have to be aware of pregnancy loss. As you may or may not know, I became very aware of pregnancy loss myself a little over a year ago.

I’ve been meaning to follow up on that experience, but I can’t seem to get it down on paper for some reason. I'm working on it. The short version is, time does heal all wounds, but there are some wounds that never completely heal. And I suppose that’s what this day of awareness is all about.

A couple of months ago, I was on the beach with Kid A, and as usual, he found a little friend to play with. A boy who was a little bit older than his two-and-a-half years - maybe about four, running up and down in the surf. I watched them play for a little while from my chair until I had to get up because they were getting too far away. I’ll bet I probably looked pretty lazy to anyone who might have been watching. Honestly, I had been trying to avoid the boy’s mother because my aversion to small talk makes for some pretty awkward conversation most of the time. But I had to swallow my social anxiety or risk losing my kid.

So I did, and the usual stranger-moms talk took place: “How old is your child?” “How old is yours?” *awkward silence* Obligatry back-and-forth about respective child’s developmental stage (ie: “Is he/she potty trained yet?” "Does he/she still nap?") *awkward silence* *awkward silence* - and this is about when I start getting weird and telling inappropriate stories and embarrassing myself because I can’t deal with the silence any more. But something different happened this time. Stranger-Mom asked me if Kid A was my only child, and I said, “Yes, you?”

She replied, “Yes, he is. But it wasn’t supposed to be this way.”

She didn’t have to say any more. She could have if she wanted to, I would have listened. She didn’t though, and I understood. It was implicit in those seven words – it wasn’t supposed to be this way – the terrible pain she had been through, the grief and hurt she was still feeling. The plans that were made and never lived. The excitement that turned to terror that turned confusion that turned to an ocean of tears. I wanted to do so much in that moment. I wanted to hug her, to reach out and grab her hand, to sit down and share our stories. But she and I were strangers, just passing through each other’s lives for a few minutes as our kids played on the beach. So I just looked at her and nodded and said, “Me, too.” And that was that.

The funny thing about experiencing the loss of a pregnancy or infant is that once you go through it, you enter into this tragic sorority. Maybe it’s not so much funny as it is heartbreaking. But the good thing about it is that someone out there understands. We feel each other's pain, and that’s what you need. Sometimes it's the only thing that gets you through. After I wrote about my molar pregnancy, so many women reached out to me to share their own experiences of loss, and I am forever thankful for that. Those simple messages of empathy played such a huge role in helping me cope with what I was going through.

I wish I had said more to that woman on the beach, because I knew we were sisters, and she knew it too. So today, this goes out to all my sisters – I understand. You’re not alone. Not even close.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard of molar pregnancies but had no idea how awful it could be. Thanks for sharing your story.
    -Megan

    ReplyDelete

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