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Taboo

18 Dec

Well it looks like this blogging thing is starting to work out – so I’m going to do something that is expected of most bloggers. Rant. I apologize in advance.

The first time I got pregnant my parents (and especially my father) freaked out and basically begged me not to say a thing until I got through my first trimester.

I pretty much balked at them. It’s not that I told the whole world, but pretty darn close to it.

Now, mind you – three months earlier one of my closest friends miscarried at nine weeks – so it’s not as if I didn’t know that this was a possibility, but I was so excited I just couldn’t help it.

To be honest, I didn’t really regret telling the people I told. Most of them were my support system once I went through the first miscarriage.

The second time I got pregnant my husband and I hardly told anybody. I basically did the math: If I miscarry again, who would I tell about it?

Those were the only people we told.

But a funny thing happened after my second miscarriage. I wanted to yell about it. I wanted everyone to know. If I could have shouted it from the rooftops I would have.

A friend of mine shared a video with me from TED (a site which I love, and everyone should check out). It’s a cute funny video about two parents talking about “parenting taboos”.

You can find the video here

Alisa Volkman speaks beautifully about her own miscarriage. I won’t try to paraphrase her here (just watch around the 10 minute mark).

But basically, I agree with her completely. You can’t have a funeral for what society at large calls a “fetus”. there is no public forum for you to express your grief. It’s something that happens to you quietly and behind closed doors.

The weird thing is (and Alisa kind of touches on this as well) – is that once you miscarry – all of the sudden all of these stories start coming up out of the woodwork. And that’s when you start hearing about your neighbor, your aunt, your husband’s cousin, etc etc who had a miscarriage.

But then it gets even weirder. People STILL won’t really talk about it.

When my husband and I came in to the doctors office while I was in the middle of my second miscarriage (this is the expensive private doctor – not the a-hole from the first pregnancy), he seemed completely unsympathetic and unperturbed. I asked him why this was happening. He said “I don’t know – it just happens”

yep – and it happens in about 20% of all pregnancies!

20%! Think about that for a minute. Sit ten women who have been pregnant around the table and chances are that two out of those ten has miscarried.

It’s a staggering statistic. Yet no one talks about it.

And after the second miscarriage I really tried. I think I was kind of testing people.

I was working at an office at the time, and it was a fairly big company – something like 100 employees in the building, and I knew about twenty of them.

When I found out I was pregnant I didn’t tell anyone except my boss because she had to know in case I had dr’s appts and so on. Plus, I really  liked her.

But that was it. No one else knew.

When the miscarriage happened I was out of the office for a week. The first three days were because I was physically weak. The rest were because I just couldn’t handle being around people.

When I came back, people were naturally curious as to why I was gone. So I tested it out on one of my co-workers. I told him – the truth is that I was about 6 weeks pregnant and I lost the baby.

And he was actually quite sympathetic. And I felt a bit better myself – just for saying it out loud.

I quit that job about a week later (the whole – what am I doing with my life this is a wake up call- thing). And on my last day, I stopped to say goodbye to the receptionist. I smiled at her and she asked me why I was leaving.

I chose honesty again: I had a miscarriage. It’s my second one in three months. I need to re-think my life choices and I can’t do that here.

She took both of my hands and looked into my eyes. She was crying. She told me that six months earlier she had miscarried at four months. The pain in her eyes was palpable. I could feel how she was relieved to see a person in front of her who so openly spoke about it. it was as if she was exploding wanting to say it to everyone.

I lost a baby, I am in pain.

I squeezed her hands tightly and said “I can only imagine your pain” (and I barely can. I know how broken I am after such a short time – I can’t fathom the pain of a miscarriage that far along into a pregnancy). “I understand. I know. Be strong. Take care of yourself. Try to bring yourself to a place where you can be happy again. I wish all of the joy in the world.”

And I walked out of that office.

My mother – who turns out had a miscarriage about two years before she had me, and guess when she finally told me about it – even my mother – who I assume understands the pain of losing a baby – really wants me to move on already. As in – the minute I’ll have a healthy pregnancy and she’ll be a grandmother all will be well. And why am I still sad about this anyway?

Well – first of all – of course I want to try again. I wanted to try again the second I could medically do it. But trying again just isn’t that easy.

I’m sorry – I can’t just “get over it.”

(don’t get me wrong, my mom is pretty sympathetic toward me with regards to what I’m going through – but I know her. I know what she’s thinking. And she’s thinking “get over it and make me a grandchild already dammit!”)

But I’m kind of getting away from the point. If 20% of women have miscarriages – why the heck don’t people talk about them? Why did I have to go through one to find out just how common they are?

Honestly – I don’t even think Oprah’s done a show about it. And you know what – considering that she’s done shows about men giving birth that is quite a statement.

To quote Kenan Thompson: What’s up with that?

A quick footnote:

That very expensive private doctor who was very informative the first time around but incredibly blase’ the second time around? yeah – I’m not going to see him any more.

The new doctor I have started seeing is awesome. When I walked into his office and told him what I have gone through, the first thing he said was: “I understand this has probably been very difficult for you. You should definitely take a couple of months to recover from this emotionally. In the meantime, let’s see if we can figure out if there’s a reason this is happening.”

Yeah. I like my new doctor.

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8 Responses to “Taboo”

  1. slcurwin December 20, 2010 at 07:31 #

    I’m glad you’re trying to put it out there too. I’m having a bit of a time but I’m trying to raise awareness in my own way and MAN it makes the world uncomfortable. But it’s proven easier than I thought and it really helps to talk about it. Sorry you’ve been through this too.

    • mommyodyssey December 21, 2010 at 00:33 #

      Thanks 🙂 I suggest printing out Novelty T-shirts. Or bumper stickers “Honk if you’ve had a miscarriage too!”. Perhaps if we add a smiley face at the end it would make people less uncomfortable. 🙂

  2. slcurwin December 21, 2010 at 00:37 #

    lol, I’ve actually been toying with the idea of making a shirt of “what not to say to someone after a miscarriage”. It would horrify my mother i’m sure, but I’m getting a silk screener for christmas so…;)

    • mommyodyssey December 21, 2010 at 00:47 #

      Oh that’s a good one!
      How about:
      In big friendly letters up top:
      Hi, I’ve recently gone through a miscarriage.
      Then in smaller print.
      *please don’t tell me you know how I feel if you haven’t gone through one yourself
      *please don’t tell me how common it is – I already know thatfrom the million google searches I’ve done
      *please don’t tell me you’re sure the next one will go great – because hey – you’re not a psychic and I’m already freaking out as it is.
      *oh – and if you are a psychic – then please tell me everything’s going to be ok and I will have a healthy pregnancy soon. but only if you’re a real psychic – not if you’re a fraud. Proof of supernatural abilities will be required.

      (um… wait… that’s probably a bit too much text for that silk screener, huh? 🙂 )

      • slcurwin December 21, 2010 at 02:22 #

        well, mine was longer in relation to a post I made but you can find my list (i found it when ,looking on the internet once) @ http://angiealexander.tripod.com/whatnotsay.html . it probley will we too long, maybe i’ll have to pick my favorite.

        you were pretty damn close. and I want to find this psychic.

  3. onetokeep January 18, 2011 at 12:59 #

    I think this is a very thought provoking post. I am an ‘in the closet’ miscarrier. I just dont want to talk about it – that’s my deal.

    But I know plenty of women like you who feel differently, and I applaud them for it. I admire there fortitude and strength. I just dont have it.

    One of the things that I thought was well pointed out that I had never thought of myself, was the Oprah comment. I think you’re right, I dont think she has ever done one. That’s a real shame, as with that platform I wonder if more attention were brought to the issue if more treatments would come about, or even the ones that are about would become more mainstream.

    Great point. Off to write the Oprah show! 🙂

    • mommyodyssey January 18, 2011 at 14:55 #

      Thanks. 🙂 I honestly don’t get the oprah thing. However, yesterday I read that in an interview with pierce morgan she confessed to being pregnant at 14 and having a miscarriage (and being relieved at the time that it happened). It was really disturbing for me to read about. On the other hand – I do think that as such a public figure and an example to women she should do something about it.
      hmmm… I feel a new blog post coming on!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Dear Oprah « mommyodyssey - January 18, 2011

    […] comment from Onetokeep on a previous post of mine got me inspired to finally, after watching you for all of my life, write you a […]

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