"Your pain is the breaking of your shell that encloses your understanding." -Khalil Gibran
I never thought I would take an early miscarriage as a loss in the way that I did. I never thought the pain would be so all-consuming. I never thought I would feel such an ache, such sorrow, and so very alone. Then again, I never really thought about myself having a miscarriage.
But I did have a miscarriage. At a mere 7 weeks pregnant. I wanted nothing more than to shed my skin - to run away. I stopped washing my hair because it felt extraneous. I stopped wearing my wedding ring because it felt too heavy. I didn't know what I wanted or needed but I knew it wasn't anything that could come from anyone. The word "loss" was pulsing through my head. Over and over and over again; like the clacking of a train that seems endless. It eventually became soothing. Easier to tune out. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally aching. But did I have the right?
For the record, the term "blighted ovum" is the worst. A fetal sac in which no fetal development takes place. No fetal pole. No heartbeat. No baby.
I've never really been sure where I stand on the whole "when does life begin?" question. And some kind folks tried to ease my pain by assuring me I hadn't "actually" lost a baby. Inserted somewhere in between my sadness and my grief was this questioning I just couldn't shake of "what did I really lose?" I think miscarrying so early in my pregnancy and the way I did made it harder for me than it would have had the event happened further along or in another way. I thought maybe I didn't have the right to take it as a loss because, after all, there hadn't been an actual baby. When I expressed these feelings, as well as I could, to a friend who had gone through not one but two miscarriages, she told me that of course this was a loss. Of course I had the right to grieve. The physical reality of the loss wasn't the issue. The issue was that I had had this vision of the next chapter of my life and suddenly that vision was gone. It was lost. And so, of course, was I.
Having a toddler to care for while dealing with my carouselling emotions meant I couldn't burst into tears every time I felt myself building up to it. It's not that I was afraid to cry in front of my child. It's just that I didn't want to lie to him about the reason. And he wouldn't have understood this. We got into the car and drove a LOT those first couple of weeks. That's where I cried. While he listened to "Step In Time" on the iPod and told me about how many garbage trucks he would find.
Having a toddler to love (and to love me) while dealing with my carouselling emotions meant I knew I would come out it. Meant I got to laugh. And sing. And dream of the chapter after this.