....but you need to talk anyways.
We all know those moments. The ones where you feel compelled to say something, but have no idea what to actually attempt to say.
Like when someone dies or gets really sick. There's really nothing to say, other than "I'm sorry"....but you feel like you want to say so much more.
But what if you're the one that is in pain, who's going through a tragedy? What do you say then? There's so much bubbling up inside you.......you need to talk.....but what can you say?
I've been quiet around the blogosphere the past few weeks. That's been on purpose - we're adjusting to life back on the East Coast and a new job and schedule for the family. Our youngest is attending preschool a couple days a week.....a big deal for this homeschooling family. We're updating our adoption paperwork like crazy and trying to get all of that moving forward in a timely manner.
And last week....I was that woman.
The one who wanted to say so much, to talk about so many things.....but couldn't find the words.
I was that woman who miscarried.
Last Monday, ironically on the day that's set aside as a time to remember pregnancy and infant losses, I miscarried our youngest rascal. The child that the majority of our friends and family weren't aware of yet. The child that I'd known I was pregnant with since pretty much the day of conception (yay for Natural Family Planning and my chart). The child that I already loved dearly and spent a good chunk of my time thinking and dreaming of. The child I was already praying for......and who now is interceding on my behalf in Heaven.
I had known it was coming. This was my second miscarriage, the first being before Rascal #1 was even born. I saw the signs starting on Friday evening....and by Monday morning, when my baby's death had been confirmed through an ultrasound, I had already accepted the fact that our youngest rascal, this child I already loved, had already left us. I didn't like it....but I'd accepted it.
So we went home. To wait. Thankfully, my body didn't make me wait too long before Nature kicked in. I am very grateful for that - with my first miscarriage, I waited for almost two weeks, wondering when it was going to happen, trying not to let that little voice that kept whispering "Maybe the doctor was wrong....." get too loud.
And then it was over. My baby was gone almost as quickly as he had appeared. Mike and I wrapped up his tiny body as carefully as possible, and started to make arrangements for a burial, which will happen tomorrow afternoon.
Almost instantly, the part I'd been dreading the most started to set in. The "fog of emptiness," as I've come to call it.
Everything became empty.
Physically, my body was emptying itself. My arms physically ached to hold my baby, but were empty and cold.
My heart ached with grief, unable to focus on anything other than the empty hole left behind by my baby.
Emotionally, the fog manifested in a sense of numbness. There were no emotions. My emotional vault was empty.
I walked around on auto-pilot, completing daily tasks and chores, trying to keep life as normal as possible for rascals 1, 2, and 3. I made phone calls and arrangements. I answered emails. But behind the normalcy was a deep cloud of emptiness. No energy. Sadness. Guilt. Pain.
Hardly anybody knew about our littlest rascal. We'd not wanted to tell people yet - partly because of our previous experience with miscarriage, and partly because we had so many changes going on in our lives at that moment and we didn't want to spring this kind of announcement on everyone (and risk it getting lost in the chaos). He was our little secret....to cherish and revel in.
But people figured out that something was going on. We told a few friends......and then a few more....and then the process of retelling our rascal's story over and over and over again became too painful, and Facebook helped spread the news for us. While the support and love that has been shown to us has been incredible, I can't help but wonder about the millions of women who struggle with the loss of their baby in the darkness, in the silence. Publicly talking about our baby has been hard for me. I can't finish a conversation without crying at least once. The fog of emptiness is still there, and it is thick. I'm grieving my child, and reliving the loss of my first child......and that pain is raw. It is deep. It permeates everything I do and say right now.
And there's a part of me that can't help but pray for the millions of women who may still be struggling with this pain today, even if they lost their child years ago. Whether it was by their own decision, or through natural causes, they are all touched by this fog, this emptiness, this pain, in some manner. They, too, are hurting, and my heart aches for (and with) them.
In a society filled with people who scream that my baby was nothing more than a "ball of cells" or a "blob of tissue," how do I give myself permission to grieve? My pain and sorrow reaches down to my innermost core.....but there are millions of people surrounding me today who argue that my baby was not a real baby. Millions of people who claim that my baby was not a real person. Millions of people who argue that my baby was not valuable enough to be grated the basic, fundamental protections in our Constitution.
My grief is real. My pain (physically and emotionally) is real. My baby was real.
But how can I talk about this, work through my grief and my pain, remember the memory of my child, or the dreams I'd dreamt about my child.....when our very own government and leaders will not admit that my child was a real person, one with inherent dignity and value?
It makes no logical sense to try and appease a woman like me with the idea that my baby was real because he was wanted. My baby grew and developed the same way he would have if I hadn't been happy about the pregnancy, or if I hadn't welcomed his addition to our family. My wants and desires do not dictate biology. Allowing me, a woman who miscarried naturally, the right the grieve purely because I wanted my baby and pregnancy, only does a disservice to women who do choose to terminate a pregnancy that they may not "want." We need to allow these women (and men) to grieve, as well.
They have lost a child. They have entered the fog of emptiness. And at their deepest, most instinctive level.....they know it. One quick google search will pull up hundreds of organizations and ministries designed to help post-abortive women through this fog, this grief. They feel it too. And they need to be allowed the chance to grieve.
But NONE of us women who have lost a child will ever be given that chance to truly, and freely, grieve until we, as a whole, recognize the fact that our children who died this early were just that: our children. Until we stand up and call them by name (child, baby, etc) women will continue to find themselves stuck in a place where there are no words....but where their hearts yearn to say so much.
My pain is real.
My grief is real.
My baby, my Jonathan Francis, was real.
I challenge you to stand up and speak for these women, myself included. If you've had a miscarriage, stand up and say so. Talk about your baby, your experience, your grief to anyone who will listen. We cannot continue to let women suffer in silence and pain, mourning their children because our culture screams that these children do not exist and are nothing more than a ball of cells.
Please. For my sake. For your sake. Let us come out of the darkness, out of the fog, and reach out for help. Find the words your heart is longing to say.
Allow our children to be who they really are. It is okay to mourn them - they were real.
**if you are struggling with the loss of your own child, please know that these organizations are here to help you speak those words you hold in your own heart: