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Things You Do When You Have a Miscarriage

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Things you do when you miscarry — or more precisely,  the things I did:

You turn to online shopping because leaving your home and the deluded safety of the couch feels like an impossible feat, but you still need the prospect of something new, something exciting wrapped and in your arms to arrive at an approximate time. Oh the irony.

You watch comforting reruns on Netflix (while periodically googling miscarriage statistics). There are no sudden surprises, you know the plot, you can trust this narrative. (See: The Office, New Girl, Parks and Recreation).

You veer from your pregnant eating habits and indulge in sherbet, salty chips and that elusive diet coke you didn’t dare drink when you were considering that babe, your babe. You think about a glass of wine but decide you’re not quite ready. The babe is still inside you, what if there’s still a chance? You know this makes no sense but refrain anyways. You eat until you feel sick and feel surprised that you could feel any sicker.

You develop a violent cold. You cough and cough. That tickle in your throat keeping you up at night, or is it your grief? You take solace in the symmetry of it all. The emotional and physical pain: cruelty on dual plains.

You cry so fiercely the bed shakes. You watch the discomfort wash over your loved ones’ faces. No one knows what to say and no one in your circle has been to the bottom of this lake. They are unfamiliar with it’s sweeping darkness and grave chill. But they wait for you at the top and swim patiently above you, guarding.

You become ridiculously existential. You question everything like a melodramatic fool. What is the point of makeup or making an effort? Of eating healthy? Why ache for this baby, is it meant to be? What is this all for?

You start to wonder if karma is legitimate. Did I miscarry because of that one time I didn’t give my seat to that maybe-pregnant woman on the subway? Is this my punishment?

You listen to Gillian Welch’s “Hard Times” incessantly. Her stoic, velvety twang takes you in and swaddles you tight. You remark that the song is over too quickly and you wish to wallow and be swaddled some more.

You learn there’s no need for a new apartment, a two-bedroom. You go to Ikea and finally replace that dorm room dark and dusty bookshelf with a bright, spacious one. Your partner builds it and by some miracle it just fits in that alcove. You arrange the books in bright, cheery colors. You hold each other admiring it from the opposite side of the room, Gene Clark spinning on the record player. You feel productive, like part of a team, like for a moment you are yourselves.

You go for long walks with friends. Sometimes the sun is out; often it’s not this time of year. You grab tea and coffee to keep warm under the perpetual grey sky. Together mulling over life events, the minutiae and the essential. You long for female company and it is plentiful.

You return to work where no one really knows what happened, only that something happened. How far have their minds wandered? How transparent am I? You muster the courage to be strong, to get through the day. You do.

You see your therapist. You feel her genuine empathy. You feel heard.

Your maternity clothes and maternity books come in the mail. You think about returning them but hold on to that glimmer of hope. In the end, you decide to get that one winsome green dress altered because you are impatient, you are realistic.

You buy a ridiculous amount of flowers because, why not? Because tulips can still make you smile at every stage of their bloom and decay.

You find yourself crying at the end of every book you read. Both the sentimental and mundane. Things move you in a way they haven’t before. You are both hardened and softer.

Your energy levels slowly return, your body starts to feel like your own again. You find this strangely comforting and unsurprisingly depressing. You do a lot of yoga and it truly feels good to be strong.

You snuggle your pup. She is wonderfully oblivious, or at the very least, a good actress. You think: thank god I have this baby. You marvel at her tenderness.

You grow closer to your partner, another welcomed surprise. The way he comforts, the shared resilience you’ve gained. You look at him with a warmth and a love in your heart that reminds you of those butterflies you thought had left long ago.

You wonder, what does it mean to be ready? To be ready to try again? You ache for that certainty.

You plant a small garden together. It’s not as beautiful or perfect as you’d hoped, but it is certainly life. It is growing and it is hopeful. The gleaming orange petals seem to sing out in a buoyant chorus that you can’t yet join but are pleased to hear. Your dog runs through it one afternoon, knocking the marigold heads straight off their stems and you laugh instead of cry and consider that a win.

Getty image by RyanKing999

Originally published: June 3, 2018
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