Saturday is my due date. Or would have been my due date. I’ve been so scared of its approach because I have so many unresolvable feelings.
I tried not to know my due date. I had asked in previous pregnancies not to be told because I knew the knowledge of the first one haunts me. I got a little too confident after I heard a heartbeat & let the midwife tell me. Then I made the mistake of setting my calendar to that date. Now I can never forget it.
It is sad & overwhelming for all the obvious reasons. I haven’t processed this grief. In that sense Saturday is just like every other day. I’m always thinking about this in some sense. Be it specific memories of the miscarriages or thinking about all the memories I’ll never make. Mostly, I feel lost.
I am not entirely sure who I am anymore. I haven’t ever envisioned a life without children. I don’t know what to do now. I have to accept that my future can only ever be not quite enough. Moreover, becoming a mother has been my driving force. It’s the dream that kept me going when I wanted to give up. It was my inspiration to get stable & pushed me to pursue writing.
It’s very frightening to have your reason to fight melt away. It’s even harder to grieve the loss of this baby when it is such a crucial part of my big picture. I don’t know how to let go of that heartbeat.
I’ll be 39 next month and I have not a single clue about how I fill the rest of my life. A huge part of my identity was a mirage. I have a new reality. I don’t know how I learn to live in it.
Lemonade. I know, everyone is talking, writing & I suppose singing about it. I must confess to not having heard (or seen) the complete album. I’ve sampled some highlights and whilst not a member of the beyhive, I’m excited to hear more. I have no issue with Beyonce’s music (her fur wearing is another matter). I applaud the increased political input in her work. Her support of black & feminist issues is on point. Her artistic viewpoint is increasingly progressive & radical. Which is why, some of her fans retrograde behaviour of late has been particularly hard to take.
Oh, I know fans are fanatical these days. Bey is queen & they worship her. That’s all good, but the reaction to Lemonade & hints that Jay Z may have cheated are down right backwards.
Rachel Roy’s ‘ Good hair, don’t care’ Instagram post ignited smouldering rumours that she was Mr Carter’s indiscretion. The beyhive immediately launched a social media witch hunt. Bee & lemon emoticons appeared en mass on her various pictures & posts. Along with the taunting images came more serious abuse, which inevitably led to her making her accounts private. Today’s tabloids decided that it was in fact Rita Ora would had done the dirty with Beyonce’s spouse. She too was lavished with the same treatment.
Perhaps you think those involved in infidelity deserve what they get. Maybe you feel betraying Bey is worthy of a good hounding, but wait, what about Jay Z? If he did in fact step outside his marriage surely he’s where the hive loyal should turn their scathing tongues? He’s the one who made vows & a child with Yonce. Why does the arse who couldn’t keep his dick in his pants get a pass?
The answer, as is so often the case, the patriarchy. Woman are still being conned into feeling that other chicks are the enemy. Our old boy’s club society wants it that way. It’s much better for the status quo if smart, talented women view each other as the competition. Stop letting yourself be suckered by the tired old trope that cheating men can’t help themselves, but cheating women are whores. It’s such a dangerous road to go down. It ultimately leads us to rape apology & the dismissal of female sexual agency. That’s not what we should be teaching our daughters. The bottom line is the Carter’s marital woes are not my business, but women tearing each other down is.
Cheating is cruel. I’m not loving anyone who participates. But, ladies, come on. Stop beating on your own whilst letting men off easy. We’re better than this.
I want to talk to you about something that isn’t often discussed. In a world where almost nothing is taboo miscarriage remains an uncomfortable topic. I know from personal experience that friends and family are often unsure how to approach such a loss. A misplaced belief that a mother’s (&her partner’s) privacy must be maintained or worry that bringing up the subject will cause distress can leave a grieving parent feeling isolated. I’d like to open up the subject, share my experience & hopefully change your thoughts on how best to support a friend who has suffered a miscarriage.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to acknowledge a person’s loss. Miscarriage feels like a death, you have lost a life that you created & have already given your heart to. Let your loved one feel that pain out in the open. Treat this grief as you would any other. Send flowers, a sympathy card, be available to listen. Acknowledge that the child who hasn’t made it into our world is real. To feel that those around you care for not only you, but your unborn child is a crucial part of the healing process.
There is no rule book for recovering from miscarriage. Some people need to throw themselves into work or a busy social schedule. Others may require time alone to process what has happened. There is no right way, listen to what your friend tells you they want & support them. Whether that is getting raucously drunk or cuddling them whilst they cry. There are so many complicated emotions attached to losing a child. I felt a crippling guilt. I know others who have felt rage & some people who accepted the loss as part of their path or an act of god. There is no correct way to feel. As irrational as these responses may seem to you, let your friend feel what they feel. Listen, reassure, but never judge. Each person knows what is appropriate for them, respect that.
Miscarriage is a life changing event. Conceiving again does not wipe out the loss. Your unborn baby can’t be replaced. For me a permanent memorial was necessary. Many people need to commemorate their baby. Be it tattoos, planting a tree or a gathering do not shy away from involvment in these acts of love. Allow you friend to carry their child with them.
Don’t assume that miscarriage is best kept secret. In the immediate aftermath & in the years that have followed, I have wanted to talk about my experiences with miscarriage. Sadly, I haven’t always felt that I was allowed to do so. My loss was treated as something that must remain private. Whilst I am sure this attitude was well meaning, it left me unable to express emotions that I felt suffocated by. If your friend, family member, colleague or even a stranger on a bus wants to talk about their miscarriage, please let them. You cannot imagine how freeing it is to let out the tumult of thoughts in your head.
Miscarriage is not a rare occurrence. Many women will have to find their route through its consequences. This post is based on my personal experience & the consensus of the many women I have known who have had the misfortune to share that experience. Of course there will be parents who have differing views. I can’t speak for everyone. Ultimately you must trust that each indivdual knows what they need & follow their lead. However, I do hope that some what I have written has given you pause for thought. Moreover it’s my wish that my suggestions will ease this painful journey for others.