Friday, June 28, 2013

Suffering in Silence

I am NOT one to suffer in silence. I don't cope well that way. I definitely need time to myself, but I also need access to people I love and trust, so that I can talk when I'm ready.

The more I learn about miscarriages, the more I learn how often women suffer through this in silence. Often a woman miscarries early enough she hasn't announced the pregnancy yet. I had a miscarriage like that in December of this past year. I hadn't even told Brett I was pregnant yet. I tried to deal with it myself, only to end up sobbing in the middle of the grocery store the next day. (That wasn't embarrassing at all...)

Statistically speaking, one in four women experience at least one miscarriage. Some of them are so early, the woman doesn't even know she's pregnant. Most of them are before a heartbeat is detected. A few of them, like mine, are after a heartbeat is seen.

And most women suffer silently.

How many women in my life have experienced the pain of a miscarriage or a stillbirth? I'm not entirely sure, because for some reason, this topic seems to be taboo. Either we want to spare the grieving mother the pain of talking about her child, or we want to spare ourselves the discomfort of talking about a loss we can't fully understand.

Because you can't fully understand it. No matter how many losses you've experienced, or when, everyone grieves differently. Everyone experiences a loss differently. Some don't want to talk about it. Some want to try to forget about it.

I'm not one of those people.

Despite the brevity of my pregnancy, Hannah was and is very much a real person to me. She's not some abstract concept. She's not a lost pregnancy. She is my daughter, and she died. I never got to see her, other than on the ultrasound. I don't have pictures of her. I never got to hold her, or kiss her. But that doesn't make her any less my daughter.

She will not be forgotten or replaced. She has a name. If you talk with me about this difficult experience, please use her name. It is more hurtful to me to feel like she is being minimized or ignored by not acknowledging the name we gave her.

As hard as it is, and as much as I miss her, I know some day I'll finally get to hold my little Hannah. Some day I'll get to hug her and kiss her and tell her how much I love her, and how much I've missed her. Until then, I will remember her.

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