Grief, In Writing

A few moments ago, I was pregnant, and now, abruptly, I am not. It is a strange feeling.

During traumatic situations in my life, there seems to be a one-liner — something that someone said — that is forever etched in my memory. Hearing this line echo in my head is enough to send all the feelings back to the surface, making the exact time and place play fresh again like a movie.

Ich habe keine gute Nachricht für Sie (I don’t have any good news for you),” the doctor said, her look shifting between me and the ultrasound screen, where I can also see the glaring absence of a heartbeat. My heart fell, but I remained stone-faced. I was praying for a miracle, but it was not to be. All I could muster up saying was, “Okay.”

After a pause, I asked if she could tell me why the fetus suddenly died, and she said, unfortunately no. I don’t know why I was looking for a why in the first place, and what it could change, if anything.

The tears started gushing when I called my husband, who was waiting outside the hospital, to tell him one of the worst news he could ever hear. The precious baby that we were excited to welcome into the world in 6 months was suddenly gone. I wasn’t confused or angry, my heart was just in pieces.

A miscarriage as I experienced it was very different from what I saw in the movies. In film, everything was quick: the woman howled in pain, bled profusely, and broke down in tears — scene fades away. They skipped the part where you go to a hospital, hear “missed abortion” mentioned several times between medical colleagues, and then see the ultrasound to actually gaze upon the lifeless baby in your belly. They missed the part where you lay in the hospital bed bleeding, as you wait for your operation, and then someone comes in to explain how they will extract the baby and scrape your uterus clean once again. Definitely not movie material.

There’s never the perfect thing to say to parents who had just had a miscarriage. I do appreciate the kind thoughts to try and cheer me up, but right after what happened, at that point, it felt wrong to even try to see a bright side after our child has died. Some things were, for me, simply worse to say than others. For example:

  • You have an angel looking over you now,” – I get the sentiment, but it was hard to hear this graciously. I’m sure no parent ever said, “I sure wish I had a guardian angel instead of a child,” Nope, please give me back my healthy, living baby to raise anytime.
  • “Things happen for a reason,” or “There is a reason for this,” – Again, I get the sentiment, but stating this as if it were a fact is just not consoling. You’re telling me that there is a neatly planned series of events designed to make me learn a lesson, that required a sacrifice of a child? No. If so, I find it cruel. I find it easier to believe that things could happen for no predestined reason at all, and all that we could muster for it is a lesson and a lot of heartbreak after. Not everything can or must be justified.

One thing that did help me through this ordeal was when loved ones reminded me that I was a strong woman, and that I was a warrior. It was the reinforcement that I didn’t know I needed. It gave me the strength to fight against the wave of helplessness. I remembered all the times that I became strong to help someone else through their hard times, and perhaps I could muster the same strength to bail myself out of the dark pit I was starting to dig for myself.

I guess the hardest part of coming to terms with a miscarriage, for me, was that there was no do-over. No superhuman effort from me will ever bring my baby back to life. Sure, we could move on and try to have another baby, but there was no undoing what has happened. And that will forever be a hurt that stings.

Maybe some chapters in our lives are just meant to have sad endings, as I feel for this one. That does not say that the whole novel has to be a tragedy though. I’ll be doing my best to move on, once I’m ready to let go.

It’s funny how a quote so apt for our current situation can magically fall into our laps, even if we were not searching for one. This one just happened to be in my feed:

Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you wanna give, but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in the hallow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go,”

– Jamie Anderson

I guess the good thing about quotes is it helps us articulate something we are struggling to make sense of. I do think that it is true, that my pain mostly stems from the overwhelming love that has now been orphaned. But it is not necessarily true that it has nowhere to go — I still have my wonderful, amazing family here on earth, and I’ve chosen to channel this overwhelming love to them. I still have an incredibly loving toddler, who still relies on me to be a strong Mama, who will live for him, too.

For my sweet baby that we have lost: I wish I could have done something to change what has happened, but humanly, I can’t. Thank you for all the exhilarating happiness you brought, and we are very sad that you are gone.

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