There is a deep truth to that even if the story is just that; a story.
Over the last week or so one of my good friends has been posting blogs from a woman who recently lost her twin sons at 20 weeks gestation after a few days battling for them after her water unexpectedly broke.
I did not say much about the situation. As I've said before, as extroverted as I am there are certain things that I can find no words for. Some things cannot be spoken, only felt.
I didn't intend to say much about this dear woman, Diana, as it has all been said a million times by dozens of women who know her far more than I do. But something she wrote in her two most recent blogs really touched me.
I was blessed to be able to have a hospital that let me stay earlier than 20 weeks and when they died – they were recognized. I was never made to feel .. that my struggle was in vain or silly. My children meant something there – and they let me know it.
But so many of you never got that chance. And no matter what you believe or what religion you are or aren’t – choosing to have a baby and then losing it at any stage changes you forever. To not have it recognized before a certain point is cruel and dehumanizing. My boys were born 3 days shy of 20 weeks. It makes so much of a difference every week that went by – somehow to someone they were closer to “real” and after that point, after those weeks, it was ok to grieve. And this truly bothers me.
And then she said...
The thing is – so many want to brush off women’s pain as something to do with that time of the month, hormones, pregnancy, mama bear, etc. But God made us in a different way than most men in this process. While we all grieve differently, it’s hard to grieve and let the words flow knowing that someone is going to try to diagnose or compartmentalize the way you feel. It isn’t done maliciously, ... but we have to stop doing this to each other. As Chrisians we so often feel anger is wrong or a loss of faith in God. Mine is neither. ...
I have a right to be in pain and grieve and be angry – as a woman and as a Christian....
And with that I broke into tears.
Just about four years ago, a few days before Christmas, after trying for months, John and I found out we were pregnant with our first child. On New Years Day we lost the baby. It broke my heart in a way I can't find words for. I suffered a deep loss.
And what drove me to a point of hurt I could even less explain was the reaction of those around me. Those who told me that if I hadn't of tested I wouldn't have known I was pregnant and therefor I would have thought my miscarriage was just a late menstrual cycle. I was treated very much like I was over reacting and that my loss was somehow minimal because.... because what? Because I hadn't gotten an ultrasound of my baby yet? Because I hadn't found out the sex? Because I hadn't named him or her? Because I didn't hold him or her in my arms as he or she died?
Do those things quantify a mother's love? Justify it? Make it any more real?
All I know is that I wanted that baby, badly. And when I learned I was pregnant I celebrated the life within me like the life it was. I talked to my baby. I told my baby he or she was loved and greatly anticipated. My husband talked to the baby as well. Then, suddenly, he or she wasn't there anymore.
That hope, that joy, that expectation... our child was gone.
And people treated me like it didn't matter. Like I was some kind of hormonal psycho. Sure, I may have gone through something sad but nothing nearly as sad as what others have had to endure.
I've never written about this because I have wondered (and often felt) like maybe everyone was right. Maybe I was just hormonal. Maybe my loss was not as great as the loss of others. Maybe my loss didn't matter as much as the loss of those who have something tangible to say goodbye to.
I have been forced to feel guilty for my grief. To feel like I should be thankful I didn't have to hold my child as he or she struggled for those last breaths. I've been forced to feel like I overreacted, made a mountain of a mole hill or that I somehow overestimated the life I lost.
That's right. I've been made to feel like I overestimated my child's life.
And this morning a woman I don't know posted something in a blog I've only read a few handful of times that seemed to give me permission to stop feeling guilty for the pain I experienced.
It was a long time ago and there has been healing and there has been joy. I have two beautiful children whom I love dearly. Though the memory of my loss has faded it has not disappeared and sometimes I wonder about my third little baby. S/he is waiting for me. That gives me comfort.
Diana will probably never read this blog. She'll probably never know how her experience, still so fresh and tragic, has helped me find some sort of post-loss peace, but she has.
I pray for her. I hope she finds the healing and peace she needs. I hope and pray she finds joy.