Usually, The Rebel Diaries will be anonymous. I've had so many of you share with me your story this past week, and it's been amazing and healing and helped me see so much potential within the Church. Pamela decided to step out and share a post originally from her blog, LaLa Browntown. Knowing this wouldn't be the last of the "messy stories" she would share, she mentioned I could attach her name to the post.
I won’t spare details. This story is not meant to be pretty. The experience is not pretty. Yet, 10-20% of the women you know, are intimately familiar with this story.
On the way to the hospital all I could think of was how pissed I was going to be if they made me take out all my piercings. That, and if my sister was going to be able to remember how to get back to my house.
It’s all I could concentrate on. It was the maximum amount of awareness I could have in that moment. I was too full of numb to be anything else. The tiny bit of brain I could manage to access was separate from everything else it was supposed to be attached to. There was no body, no heart, no limbs connected to the remains of my head.
I had been carrying a dead baby for three weeks. I was going to have that “taken care of”.
I would wait for three hours with my sister in tow. I would begrudgingly take out all of my piercings. I laid down on the table, shivering and shaking beneath the harsh gown, as the nurse strapped my arms down in a T. The Velcro was terrifying as it ripped from the connecting point, snaking along my wrist and reattaching to it’s home. I was so thankful when they finally asked me to count backward with the mask covering my mouth and my vision began to blur.We had been to the first-time parent’s meeting. We had gotten all our homework on what to eat and not eat. We told family. We told friends. We bought pretty tops for real women to cover my first trimester.
This time was supposed to be different.
The summer before I had taken a pregnancy test. It was positive. The next morning the cramping and bleeding started. I went into the ER, uninsured, because we thought I was hemorrhaging. I thought I was dying. It was just our baby that had died.
This time, there was no blood. Just a happy stick with pee and two weeks of nerves and tiptoes and cautious telling to a few. When we survived those first few weeks, we thought we were in the clear, so friends were made privy to our excitement. I touched my belly with less fear. I waited anxiously for the smells, the gags, and all the other things pregnant women tell you they suffer through. I couldn’t wait to throw up on the side of the road, to feel the painful pull of ligaments, the heavy ache of growing breasts. Maybe I would have it easier than some?
We went to the doctor for our 12 week appointment. This is when we would finally hear the heartbeat of our little one. Today we would breathe. Today we would be sure.
Today we could rest because he or she would have made it through the worst. But it didn’t.
The doctor said that our baby had stopped growing at 9 weeks.
I didn’t understand.
And then I did.
“Now what?” I asked.
I could wait for it to happen naturally, a process I was hauntingly familiar with. Or, I could have surgery.
“Get it out.”
My voice shook with anger and disgust. I had been carrying a dead baby with me for three weeks. It didn’t have the decency to leave. My body was too stupid to know to get rid of it. I was angry with my body for not knowing better. I felt lied to. “Get it out now. I don’t want it in there anymore. Get it out!”
For three days I sat in my state. My heart was encompassed by my angry numbness like some monster devouring its prey. It was quick but painful and I felt every tug of being shredded to pieces. Each fiber of what was left of my already brittle heart was torn, pulled through my gut out too small of holes.
The days after surgery were no less painful than the first time. No trip to the ER this time. I knew what I was doing. I was practiced in the blood and cramps and clots and filth and disgust. I learned to have my husband run to the pharmacy in the middle of the night in hopes to shame him a little less than during daylight as he grabbed the largest, most absorbent, maxi pads that the store carried. When the blood and clots had to leave my body, there was no polite or pretty or sanitary way to let that happen. There were large passes of time where I would sit on my toilet just so I didn’t have to bother with pretending it was less messy than it really was.
Women are supposed to make babies. That’s one our biggest jobs and privilege. No matter where you are on the feminist spectrum, our bodies were made to make babies. Even if I wasn’t ready at the time, I wanted to make babies. I wanted to be good at making tiny people.
I couldn’t do the one thing I, as a woman, are supposed to be able to do. I was a failure.
My body had very little worth to me going into this part of my life. And now it was actually broken. I didn’t work right. I pushed people away as hard as I could. I made inappropriate remarks, refused to hang out with friends with kids, and made dead baby jokes about myself when meeting new people.
My kids would be in elementary school by now.
I am thankful for the things in my life that could not have happened if I had kids when I was first pregnant. I am glad God gave me a friend that survived the dead baby joke. I even have a miracle baby. He turned two this fall. But all those things are different stories.
This story is one to start many.
One where I give myself permission to be sad that I don’t pack school lunches. One where I start shaking for fear of trying again and losing again. One where I tell my husband he is allowed to be just as sad. One to knock down every single understanding that this is something we “just don’t talk about”.
Miscarriage does not make someone a broken woman, but it breaks the hearts of many. And we are all out there wandering alone! That has to stop. I will not be afraid to tell you my story. I will not be afraid to show you my scars of heartache, tell you of the gut wrenching terror that I won’t be able to make another baby, or let you see my tears when I see anyone experience the loss of a child they never met.
I give you permission to feel broken but I will do my best to not leave you there.
Sister, I will walk with you out of this well-charted territory of awful secrecy. We will break the bonds formed by aching bodies stretched thin to cover their shame and fear. We will let each other be brutally angry or quietly undone no matter how many minutes or days or years have passed, our hearts in a constant state of repair. We will stand alongside those with barely parted lips and salty cheeks while whispers turn to mutters and words begin to form.
And we will celebrate our healing with such fierce joy and promise and hope like no one else can.
Because, my loves, there is healing to be found.
That’s what all women are made to do.
Do you have a story you want to share? Let me know. I'd love to host you.