Eli's Corner


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On Facebook and Honesty

I left Facebook last week.  I was in the middle of a compulsive news feed perusal when I suddenly realized that I needed to pull the plug.  My husband was out of town for the week and I didn’t much feel like entertaining, so I was sitting at home dealing with the aftermath of a miscarriage alone and looking to Facebook for some level of social interaction.  It turns out that Facebook does not provide the level of social interaction required for dealing with a miscarriage alone.

I felt like anything I posted would be used against me in the court of public opinion.  If it were light and fluffy, it would give those who know what’s going on permission to assume I’m fine and over it.  If it were in any way remotely indicative of what’s really going on in my life, it would be merely succeed in making people feel awkward – or be a “pearls before swine” scenario, giving casual acquaintances far more insight into the depths of my pain than they ought to have.  So essentially, not wanting to be fake there, and not wanting to be real there, the only logical choice was not to be there.

But I still feel a compulsion to communicate my life in status updates.  So what do I do?  I come here, to you, dear stranger.  Comfortably cloaked in anonymity, I say to you the things I will not tell acquaintances and struggle to share with dear friends.  So here are the past couple of weeks in status updates you likely wouldn’t have heard if we’d ever met:

“My husband leaves town next week for work, and I don’t want to miscarry alone.  Long story short, this makes my decision about how to end this pregnancy for me.  Trying not to resent my husband for leaving.”

“Waiting at the abortion clinic to have my dead baby scraped out of my uterus.  On either side of me wait women whose babies’ hearts are presumably still beating.  This guts me in a way I can’t begin to describe.”

“Home from procedure.  My husband just told me he feels like this is all we ever talk about.  I can’t remember a time when I felt this alone.”

“It is a bittersweet blessing to have four women I dearly love have gone through this in the past year.  One twice.  One after carrying her baby to term.  One after six years of trying to get pregnant.  These women have suffered deep, and they are not afraid to dive into my abyss.  They are absolutely carrying me.”

“What could I have done/eaten/said/thought differently?  I feel like I’ve done you such a disservice…and I don’t even know quite what it was.”

“Telling me you’re sure I’ll get pregnant again doesn’t really address what’s going on.  This is not a mere setback to me; it is a bereavement.”

“I’m hollow with missing you.”

“Two friends stopped by (independently of each other) with flowers and cookies this morning.  Changed my whole day.  Why did I not think to do that when my friends were going through this?”

“Finally gathered the courage to see the friend I was pregnant with, the one I was so excited to be a mother with, the one who went to the hospital to find out her baby’s gender the day before I went to have my baby removed.  She is fighting hard for our friendship in this, bravely wading into tricky waters.”

“This is a loss to isolate…unlike losing someone who was loved and known by many, no one experiences this loss at the level that you do – not physically, not psychologically, not spiritually…and even with people who love you deeply, you both sense that there is a chasm they’re not able to cross.”

“Two weeks post-D&C.  I know, this miscarriage is old news.  But I’m still bleeding.  Yes, the world marches on, but this is still happening.”


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To My Little Bean

Your heart may no longer be beating, but your body is still nestled in my womb, and I still feel like your caretaker.  While you’re still here, there are a few things that, in whatever cosmic realm where you are capable of knowing, I will you to know:

You were perfect.
They’re saying that this is my body’s way of keeping an unhealthy baby from being born, that most likely there was something wrong with you.  But I know a secret: you were perfect.  You were perfect, and you were powerful.  I’m not saying that to try to extrapolate meaning from this…I’m saying it because it’s true…

You changed my life.
You gave me the chance, for nine glorious weeks, to be your mother.  I didn’t know that I could be a mother.  I didn’t even know that my body was capable of being pregnant.  And, you, you amazing, powerful little bean, did what no one else could do, you gave me the gift of being a mom.

You gave me superpowers.
I experienced the wonder of watching my body change to accomodate you – changes invisible to everyone else, but I marveled as my body took over, doing what it needed to do to make a home for you.  I reveled in every clue that signalled it was working. Even every time I felt nauseated, I was filled with awe.  You showed me that my body, which I have seen as broken and defective for so long, is amazing and capable and knows how to do this.

You were loved.
A lot.  You had a huge group of friends, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents that was so excited about you.  I’ll never forget the crazy shout from your uncle, aunt and cousins when we called to tell them about you.  Your family on your daddy’s side mobbed us with hugs.  Your cousin offered to drop out of college to be your nanny (I told her no way).  There were cigars, there was champagne (your daddy’s friends went out and got some in your honor, even though none of us were there), there was laughing, there was crying, there were celebratory muffins.  All because of you.  You had some amazing, amazing, amazing people gathered around you, little bean.

You had the best daddy.
You really did.  He was built to be a daddy.  He asked about you all the time, he talked to you, he prayed over you, over us.  He was working so hard to make sure we’d be taken care of.  He sometimes worried about whether or not he was able to be the daddy that you needed, but he did the best, most wonderful job of it.  In your life, and in your death, I’ve seen tenderness and strength in him that I have never seen before.  I think you’re making us love each other better.

Thank you, my amazing little miracle.  I may have times when I’m very, very sad that you’re gone, but there is no part of me that will ever be sorry that you came.  You’ve changed me forever, just exactly as you are.


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More Script Changes

My baby, small but scrappy in last week’s ultrasound, was silent in today’s.  Its fierce little heart has stopped.

Once again, I am confounded by trajectories and deeply aware of how small and powerless I am.

And yet, impossibly, through the fits of tears and completely unexpected range of thoughts that have kept me awake tonight, I feel very much like I’ve been prepared for this.  I had no idea that it was this I was being prepared for, but as I arrive here, it’s like someone walked this trail ahead of me leaving supplies, which I put in my pack as I went, not knowing what I would need them for.  Yet at this moment, here they all are – that passage from the Psalms I’ve been weirdly drawn to for weeks, the sudden and odd (and guilt-inducing) emotional detachment from my pregnancy over the past few days, even my last post, which meant something totally different to me when I wrote it, now reads eerily like it was written for this moment.  And this is the moment I need to get through.  Just this one.  And I am bewildered to find I am equipped for this moment.