In Her Words
Struggling with the painful loss of a miscarriage
-Stacey Conner, anymommyoutthere.com
Generally, I think life is best when it’s viewed with humor. I enjoy taking the mishaps and incidents of our days and turning them into funny stories. Sometimes, though, my heart’s not in it. Sometimes life happens and you’re just sad and there’s no getting around it. The best you can do is say it, straight up.
I had a miscarriage last week, and I’m sad.
Not “crushing, can’t think, can’t get out of bed, would do anything to dislodge the small black beast from my chest and make breathing a little easier” sad. I’ve been that sad. After our first pregnancy, a 10-week miscarriage, I was sad like that. I lie awake some nights and dread the first time one of my children is that sad. I know the little boy who didn’t stay with us felt that sad, and I lie awake on other nights hoping his forever mother has touched that spot in him and eased it.
This is different. In part, because it was earlier. There was only enough time to find that magical 40-week date and grow attached to it. But mostly, because of my children. They are with me all the time, joyous and healthy and alive. They blur the edges, disrupt my focus. They fill my chest and leave the beast no room to curl up and get comfortable. I can’t let myself miss too many moments with the children that I have, grieving the children that I have not.
I don’t know how to put words to this sadness. It’s familiar. It’s like the poignant sadness I feel over the passing of time. It’s a sadness that makes happiness more. Sharper. Deeper. More compelling. More fulfilling. More, happy. Painfully happy.
So that, when my baby boy comes wobbling towards me on his unsteady legs, and grabs my leg in a baby bear hug and chirps “ai’ee” (“mommy” – we worry about him a little), the hug resonates up my leg and into my chest and the little black beast stretches languorously and leaps like a graceful cat to the ground on its delicate paws.
So that, when my 3-year-olds and I dash through a Virginia downpour, laughing over the sound of the rain and yelling “Oh, no! Oh, no! The rain is getting us!” I physically feel it slink away and leave a warm, almost welcoming spot around my heart that the happiness floods and fills.
So that, when we sit at the dinner table and each child gravely holds an imaginary phone, carrying on animated, nonsense conversations in perfect imitation of my tone, I have to hold the stitch in my side, and I ache from laughing. The small black Beasty finds a sunny corner across the room and curls into a doughnut in a huff.
So that, in the dark, when I slip into their rooms to see their soft, sleeping faces one more time before I go to sleep, I feel it curl around my feet, rubbing my legs and I almost smile. I reach down to stroke the soft fur of its back. Familiar. Sleek. Beautiful.
I can bear it. I can welcome its soft touch in quiet moments. Because of them. Because of these moments. These shiny, perfectly formed, glass-pebble moments. I get the briefest second to hold each one, finger it, roll it around my palm, before it slides away and the next one falls, hard and smooth and beautiful into my hand. I want to collect them and keep them all in bowls on my windowsill, so that the light will hit them just right and make all the colors shimmer together, reflecting under water patterns on the walls. A mother’s collection of moments too small to remember on their own, but together, collected together, they are a work of art, a masterpiece, a symphony, beyond anything I could ever consciously create. It surpasses me and my small life and my small griefs and makes it all seem grander and bigger. More.
I’m sad right now, and a little afraid. I let the little beast slip, quiet and sure, through a crack in the door and now I fear it’s here to stay. Maybe one more is too much to ask. Maybe I’ll have to be content with this.
There isn’t much room for sadness in that.