When I had my two miscarriages, I didn’t tell anyone but my husband, my parents and my sister. I didn’t feel ashamed. I don’t think anyone should feel ashamed. I just didn’t want to talk about it.
Now I see lots of women talking openly about their miscarriages, and let me be clear – I think that’s great. It’s wonderful that they are doing what’s best for them.
Key words: for them.
Sometimes I feel guilty that I don’t talk about my miscarriages. Maybe I could help someone else if I did? Maybe I would feel a sense of freedom and support that I don’t get from keeping quiet.
Then again, maybe not. One bad thing about getting pregnant in your late 30s is, well, an increased risk of miscarriage. One good thing is that you know yourself at that age, or at least I knew myself much better than I did in my 20s. And I knew what would make me feel better. I knew what would help me heal.
I wasn’t afraid of insensitive comments. I knew that my friends and colleagues would be sympathetic. They would talk amongst themselves about how to support me, and they’d probably Google the best things to say to me. One by one, respectfully, kindly, they would approach me and express their sorrow and sympathy and love.
And I didn’t want it.
For one thing, I wanted a damn baby, not sympathy, and that wasn’t really their fault. But the thought of making space to receive their kindness, again and again, just seemed like work I wasn’t up to doing. In my pain, my introvert heart wanted nothing more than to curl up in a hermit shell for a bit, letting no one touch me while I healed. I had to be a little selfish.
I’m not recommending this method, to be clear. There are probably healthier ways to deal with grief than focusing on work, not talking about my feelings with anyone except my husband, drowning my sorrows in ice cream and red wine, and crying myself to sleep.
But you know what? It worked for me. I felt really lousy and then, bit by bit, I felt better.
No, I didn’t open up a conversation. I didn’t bravely shine a light on my pain to help others. But I survived my pain. At the time, that’s all I could do. I won’t apologize and I can’t fault my past self for that. She did what she needed to do so I can sit here writing this. I want you, and her, to know that my silence did not mute my grief. I mourned those babies and I will always carry them in my heart.
I’m in no place to give advice, but I will tell anyone who suffers a miscarriage this: Be kind to yourself. You don’t owe your story to anyone and you don’t owe your silence to anyone. If you want to tell people – your work colleagues, your college roommates, the cashier at the grocery store – tell them. Speak your truth. If you want to tell no one, and retreat for a little bit, that’s OK too.
The light will still be here, when you are ready to step into it. I promise.