You Will Prefer Silence
They call it the silent sorrow.
The unspoken grief that parents go through with pregnancy loss and stillbirth.
Silent because nobody speaks it? Or silent because nobody wants to hear it?
What should we say, really, to make ourselves louder and somehow more defined? Cry louder? Yell harder? Scream at strangers in parking lots?
What should I say when the lady at the dentist office asks if I’m sure that I don’t want to come in for my cleaning today. Or when the clerk at the grocery store asks if I had a happy Thanksgiving?
Should I tell them that I spent six days in the hospital, pleading with my uterus to release my dead child.
That my daughter was born in the toilet. Two nurses, two doctors, and an army of my sobs the only witness to her never beginning.
How she was 31/2 inches long, and I was too scared to ever touch her skin because I didn’t want to break the last bit of beauty I could hold onto.
How my body, which had already defied me in the most brutal way imaginable, wouldn’t release her placenta, and only surgery at 11:30PM–5 hours after her birth–could convince it with scalpels and suction to let go. The way they had to squeeze me, every few hours, to wring me of blood, and life, and hope, throughout the night.
That they won’t burry her for several months, and I’m not sure if I’ll fully sleep until then.
Maybe, it isn’t that parents just don’t want to talk about it. Maybe, it is that the loss is so traumatic, that they don’t want to burden anyone with the reality of their experience.
I would say anything, and everything, to change one second of this but there just aren’t adequate words.
My Thanksgiving was fine. I’ll come in next week to get my teeth cleaned.
I have not gone through the same experience you have, but did just lose my brother to suicide and drug use. I think what you are doing is great. I wish I would give my grief an outlet more often becauae holding it in is making me bitter and mean. I think making people uncomfortable is good for everyone – you get to be honest, they get to see that if something traumatic happens to them in the future, it’s okay to show it. I am so sorry for what you are going through. Thank you for openness.
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There’s such a wide variety of experiences or none at all for others to pull from. And, yes, there are those who freeze up all together even though they’ve been through similar experiences. Loved ones, friends, acquaintances… they love us, they love you, they love us, there’s just no norm or common experience to pull from. Fundamentally, most people don’t know that showing up and being a part of the process is most important.
Don’t draw too much or expect too much from others, to the extent possible. There will be some heros in your life and there will be loved ones we will have to see other strengths in.
Know that you are loved very, very much Megan. I am so sorry you and your family are going through this.
I think the silence multi-faceted – there’s the brutality of it all that makes you not want to re-live it, and stay quiet about it while you heal. But there’s also some cultural crap around it as well. I didn’t like talking about it for a very, very long time because I thought if I heard another chipper voice say “well you can try again!” or “oh, your angel is waiting in heaven” again I was going to beat someone with a chair WWF style. I didn’t want to try again – I wanted THAT one. The one I’d already met in my heart and was waiting to meet in real life, and had dreamed an entire future with, had started a journal for, already full of “Dear baby” letters. And don’t even get an agnostic started on the ineffectiveness of well-meaning comments about angels. And yes – I think you should feel free to tell folks your Thanksgiving was a living hell, thank you very much, and you’d rather not discuss it. Or shit, fill them in. But don’t do the “it was fine” because it wasn’t. And it’s ok to own that as part of your grief babe.
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I am so sorry.
Oh, Megan… I’m so so so sad for your broken heart and your devastated spirit. I know I can’t imagine the depth of your grief, but many others can, and share your grief. It’s tremendous that you’re writing about it, and saying what you need to say. I hope it brings you healing, and that you feel the love and warmth of those around you in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.
Megan, I’m so sorry for your loss. You say adequate words are scarce right now, but you write beautifully and it will heal you. Until then, read the beautiful words of others. A friend lost her husband recently and I sent her this essay about loss. I hope you find it helpful. https://brevity.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/chop-wood-carry-water/ Linda
Grieving is an act of deep love. As long as you live, as long as you love, grief is a scar on your heart.
Listening – this is so sorrowful and vulnerable and brave all at once.