Monday, February 1, 2010

my closet in the corner

There was a discussion on Glow in the woods about how isolating losing a baby is, how lonely dead baby mamas feel. It got me thinking about my desperate search for people like me.

When things looked bad at the very beginning of this pregnancy (we didn't know until 20 weeks that it was doomed to start with) I asked my sister how common miscarriages really were. She's a doctor starting her specialty in OB and she told me that it is less common to see a patient that hasn't had a miscarriage.

After my loss, when I started telling people what had happened, I was flooded by stories from other women.

My neighbor had multiple losses, Kira's daycare teacher lost a baby at 5 months, My sister in law lost twins at 8 months. The list goes on and on.

So it got me thinking, if this is so common - why do we feel so alone? The only conclusion I can come to, based on my experience, is that people just don't talk about it. I feel shunned at work. Only one person said anything about my loss, everyone else acted like I was never gone or made vague references to "when you were gone."

I'm not sure if this is just a fear of our reaction (no one wants a bawling, hysterical woman?), an inability to process tragedy unless its personal, or a fear of it "catching." Whatever it is, it isolates people when they most need support and its not fair.

I have been feeling especially vulnerable and alone because we chose to end our pregnancy. Women who have had miscarriages are treated badly by society, they are placed in a corner and ignored at best. I feel like I am in the closet in the corner. It is very difficult to find other pregnancy terminations online, even among the large ALI group of blogs. I think this has more to do with women fearing other's reactions than a lack of reluctant members of this dismal club.

I wish it was more accepted to find support for losses like ours. I keep looking at blog lists and wondering where I fit in. Technically, medically, our loss was an abortion. I call it a stillbirth because I birthed my son, and he was still. It was just early and his heart was stopped so that he wouldn't suffer. He was born at 21 weeks, which means that if his heart had stopped spontaneously, it would still be called a miscarriage. There are generally two categories on blog lists and support groups: stillbirth/neonatal loss and miscarriages. Late term miscarriages that were delivered and induced miscarriages/abortions/medical terminations don't really fit into either category. It's not that I think I deserve a special grief badge - I really don't want to know what it's like to birth a child and watch it die - but I want to feel accepted and known. I want to be with other people like me.

4 comments:

  1. This is something that has really been bothering me lately--the lack of awareness and compassion for losses like ours. Baby loss is isolating to begin with, but termination for medical reasons comes with so much more baggage. I feel like we have to tiptoe around people who may not understand our decisions, and that's completely unfair. I always wonder if people think we shouldn't be sad because it was our "choice."

    The terrible thing is, no one is talking about it, but there are more of us every day. It is so more common than I ever imagined.

    I know of two different message boards that are full of people like us--have you found them yet? If not, I would be happy to send you the links if you email me...heyaleina@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. People don't talk about it because it's too terrifying. Because they don't want to accept that if it happened to you, it could happen to them.

    Especially pregnant people, I think. They are scared that your bad luck will somehow taint their pregnancies. Which makes the support of my (pregnant) best friend all the more special.

    The fact you decided to terminate - knowing that you loved and wanted Aiden more than anything - makes me think you are braver than I can imagine.

    You absolutely fit into the stillbirth category. You did what you could to ensure your child didn't suffer. What more could any mother do?

    I feel like I don't fit anywhere either. I wish none of us had to.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Here from your comment on Cecily's blog. I'm so sorry for your loss and the awful way you were treated by the medical community where you live. It makes my blood boil. You and your son deserved much better.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So sorry for your loss. I have often wished that "termination for medical reasons" was just automatically grouped into the miscarriage/stillbirth/neonatal loss category. It's hard to feel like ... an asterisk, if that makes any sense.

    ReplyDelete