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One in Four

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a blog by Lisa Rosenthal, October 15, 2015

One in four.

So in a room of eight women, there are two of us.

In a room of twelve women, there are three of us.

You get the idea.

Miscarriages are statistically normal. One in four women will have one.

Statistically normal is little comfort when you are that one. It certainly wasn’t for me.

When you are the one who sees, feels and grasps the enormity of that much wanted possible life slipping away, out of your grasp. When there’s nothing that you can do and yet all you can wonder is, “did I do enough?” “Did I do too much?”

Statistically normal is of little comfort when the pregnancy you have been longing for, working towards, dreaming of, implodes to a memory that will never materialize or grow to fruition.

You may have another pregnancy, another baby. We all may go on to carry another child to term, to hold in our arms, to look into their eyes, to lose ourselves in being a parent in all the normal parenting ways there are to be. That very well may happen. In fact, we may all ready have another child, we may all ready be a parent.

But for now?

We grieve.

We grieve for this baby lost.

For this baby never to be held except within our own bodies.

We grieve for this heart ache. For knowing that we will have a missing one at our dinner table. This child who will not reflect back generations or give us that view of what the future might hold.

We grieve for this person we will never get to know, never get to see smile, or cry. Never get to hold and rock while they sleep. This child who will never stamp their foot at us, tell us no, or hide the remnants of something that they have broken.

We grieve, with tears and words, poems and songs, rituals and funerals, our children that we no longer have in our arms and in our lives.

We ask for help. To please not make statements that are designed to appeal to our brains but do nothing to soothe our broken hearts. Perhaps this was God’s will. Perhaps this was meant to be.
Perhaps we will have another child. Time will heal us.

But those statements do not ease our heart ache.

And we know it’s hard to know what to say.

Of course it is.

You want to fix this. You want to say the perfect words, in the perfect order, in just the right tone, at exactly the time that will make this all better. You want us to feel better. We know that.
You can’t do it. Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could?

But you can’t.

So please stop trying.

Let us cry. Let us weep. Let us hold onto our baby’s things longer than you perceive is necessary. Let us talk about our babies. Ask us about our babies. Please know that your silence about our babies makes it harder for us to share what is in our hearts. Please don’t worry that you are reminding us, we are thinking about our babies, whether you ask or not.
If you don’t know what to say?

Follow our cues.

Here are a few ideas.

Hold our hand. Hug us. Ask us. Send us a card, a letter. Make the phone call. Make a donation.

Don’t avoid us. We all ready feel alone. Offer us your loving company.

Don’t know what to say?

Tell us that you’re sorry for our loss.

Tell us that you are here to help- and then make suggestions. Offer to take the dog for a walk. Bring dinner one night. Pick up groceries.

Don’t know what to do?

Just be our friend. Don’t disappear.

We all ready feel as lonely as we may ever feel.

One in four of us will have a miscarriage or lose a child.

We offer our love, our heartfelt compassion to those out there who are in those statistics.

We mourn with you.

You are not alone.


Comments (1)

I have been the 1-in-4 many times, and love the statue, The Child That Was Never Born. It speaks volumes to me each and every time I see it, even 20 years later. I believe it, like this blog, tells the fertile world that it is ok for those living through infertility that our grief is indeed important and valid. Thanks for sharing ideas on hwat helps, and more importantly, what doesn't. Great writing, Lisa!

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