Welp, I've had a thoroughly cathartic past few weeks. I did a lot of "coming clean," and not just with the blog. I also decided it was time to open up about my miscarriage. To me, that felt a whole lot like strapping myself into a rickety zipline and hurling myself through the jungle whilst praying the thing doesn't snap just to spite me:
Surprisingly, and maybe unsurprisingly, nothing snapped. There were no burning bridges, no one brushed my broken heart aside, and there was no indignation that I'd waited so long to say something. I don't know what I was expecting, but none of the above happened. Instead, things felt like they'd fallen into place.
In addition to being the month of the Rosary and Sensory Awareness, October is also Respect Life Month. October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and whereas last year I spent the day in passive solidarity with others who have borne this cross, I wanted to become an active participant, encouraging others to share their stories and raise awareness amongst my circle of friends.
(Click any of the above images for more information.)
Personally, I know of at least five other women my age who have suffered miscarriage. Two of them do not speak of the miscarriage at all, one has a supportive husband who enables her to vent in short bursts, and the other two haven't even felt comfortable sharing their miscarriages with their significant others - the fathers of those little saints.
I've tried to encourage through personal contact, but I have done a terrible job of leading by example. How can I suggest opening up to others when I find the task so incredibly difficult?
Thus, I embarked on the task of opening up about Myla to my two SILs.
To this point, I had only ever told my MIL what had happened. I didn't know if she'd mentioned it to anyone else. I asked, and she said she'd only told Danielle.
Thus, first up on the docket was Danielle, the pretty blonde you see to the right. She's my age and has a little girl, herself (the gorgeous and ever lovable niece you've seen me post about before). Since she already had some idea of my miscarriage, I messaged her through Facebook (since we were having an ongoing discussion there anyway). I apologized for not coming to her - in person - to tell her, myself, sooner. I then asked if she'd told Nikki (the pretty redhead to the left) so I could do so if she hadn't.
The entire time I was writing my message to Dani, I was shaking. I couldn't word anything correctly and finally gave up trying. I clicked "send" and just said a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to get my point across for me since I was too emotionally incoherent. That worked out well because she responded with support. She had not told Nikki (which surprised the crackers outta me).
Thus, I knew I'd have to bite the bullet and do it myself. That's how poor Nicole became the first person I explained things to face-to-face.
That's right, folks. I'd somehow managed to go more than a year without having this conversation with anyone without the aid of a computer. Sure, I mentioned the miscarriage briefly to my MIL and a very tiny number of friends, but I'd never had the full conversation with anyone - BY DESIGN.
I never wanted to have this conversation with anyone. To be honest, I didn't think it was possible. How was I supposed to have a conversation when I could barely breathe, let alone speak, when it comes to Myla?
I stumbled over myself as I made last minute plans to talk to Nikki before I changed my mind. Fear is crippling, and though I wasn't afraid of her treating me poorly, I was terribly afraid of showing such vulnerability. Tears? Incoherent strings of babble? A very plausible moment of pushing things onto the floor in outright frustration? None of those options are particularly appealing to me, but if I wanted to help other women, I'd have to start by helping myself.
So, shaking like a rusty old washer chewing through your favorite comforter, I walked into her office and promptly realized I had no idea how to actually begin the conversation. Heck, she wasn't even sure why I'd asked to meet her, so I can only imagine what she must've thought when I started choking on sounds that refused to form words.
I'm still frustrated with myself for that.
Annoyed at myself, I just came out with it. To her credit, she didn't bat an eye. She steadied herself on both feet and crossed her arms as if bracing for impact. I think she knew I needed to get through this, so she patiently waited until I'd gotten it out. When I had, she walked around the desk and hugged me. She is her mother, that one. She didn't have two seconds to process things, herself, but she made the move towards me just the same.
Again, it's moments like this that I know I married up. You don't just marry a man - you marry his family. It's one of the reasons I knew John was for me... I fell in love with them right alongside him.
Anyway, after trying to make sure I'd given her all the pertinent info, I realized that I'd done it - I'd come clean! That was a liberating thing, because I knew I could then take that back to those friends of mine struggling to find their voice.
And I was finally honest with the people I care about. There's only one person left who should know if he doesn't already - my FIL.
In all honesty, I don't know that I'm able to say anything to him. Of all the people I feel I'm disappointing most by not having more children, he and my mom top the list. Telling him that he'd had another chance at a grandchild seems cruel, especially with all the loss the poor guy has experienced this past year.
But one step at a time. For now, I've inched forward Neil Armstrong style.
And it feels pretty darn good.
I encourage those of you who struggle with miscarriage to voice your feelings. It's a terrible burden to carry alone, and there are people out there who love you enough to WANT to carry it alongside you.
I speak from experience now. :)
Plus, don't our children deserve to be made known?
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