I have been amazed at the outpouring of support we have received over my miscarriage. The stories I have heard from others and have read about online or in the books I’ve skimmed paint such a different picture than our experience. Times have definitely changed. Hospital procedures are sensitive and supportive. Friends and family acknowledge our loss. Our church has been amazing in encouraging us to grieve and remember this baby however we want.
As much as I have wanted to rush through the grieving process, I have been told repeatedly that “grief comes in waves” and “the only way *around* grief is *through* it.” Now, I don’t want to obsessively blog about the topic, but it is a pretty big deal, and it does consume my reflections of late. My understanding of the way to properly grieve is to talk about my sadness, my loss — not ignore it or my emotions, as I am prone to do.
I’ve talked to a couple of women who had losses at the same time frame I did, one 30+ years ago and another 16 years ago. I am amazed at how much things have changed. 30+ years ago, you were expected to just move on. Not talk about it. Not hold the baby you lost and delivered. Just get on with your life. As if nothing happened. Even just a bit more than a decade ago, the hospitals did not have the procedures in place to allow for grief to begin, for remembrance to happen. Even now, from what I’ve heard, not all hospitals have the same procedures. For us, St. David’s was such a blessing. They put a sign on the door of my room so that anyone entering would know of our loss. After I delivered the baby, they allowed us to hold him as long as we wanted and left us alone. Then, they took photographs of him wrapped in a hand-knitted blanket with a hand-knitted hat and booties. When we left, they gave us a hat box with mementos — that blanket, hat, and booties, those pictures, a card with the baby’s footprints, a tiny angel handkerchief that was in one of the pictures alongside the baby, as if for scale, and a James Avery charm of a heart with a heart cut out of it. In one picture, they have posed the baby so he is holding that charm. Our nurses included a note from each of them in the box. We were also given a book on grieving a miscarriage or stillbirth and pages of resources.
I had written most of this post before I stumbled across this article today.
I wonder what we’ll do next time, in terms of telling. With Caroline, we waited until the second trimester to tell anyone. This time, we waited until we had seen the heartbeat, when your chance of miscarriage drops to three percent. At the time, that seemed like such a remote number. The chance of a second trimester miscarriage is one percent. Now one in 100 sounds a lot more likely than I am comfortable with, especially being that one in 100. When we get pregnant again, I do think I’ll tell a few people because I plan to rest like crazy (so I’ll need someone to entertain Caroline). I can’t imagine going through this without the support we’ve had, though.
Also, since I am a bit of a nerd about research and such, I have also requested the book, MOTHERHOOD LOST: A FEMISINIST ACCOUNT OF PREGNANCY LOSS IN AMERICA through interlibrary loan. (By the way, how cool is google books? And interlibrary loan for that matter?!)