No one is ever prepared for the tragedy of a miscarriage or prepared for the emotions one deals with following one. Writer Jennifer Cameron Klein shares her experience and how she dealt with her grief six months following her miscarriage.
Jennifer Cameron Klein

The anniversary
It's been six months since the miscarriage. Six months since that graphic day in the ER. Since months since I lost perspective. Since months since we lost the baby. I don't know why six months felt so momentous to me, but it did.

I didn't mark Sept. 24 in my calendar as an official anniversary of our loss, but I knew it was there. It was sneaking up on me, and then it was here. To almost anyone else, it was just another day on the calendar. No one else knew the thoughts and images and prayers clouding and crowding my day. But Sept. 24 was also my sister-in-law's birthday, the day my younger son decided to wear underwear to his preschool for the first time, the day I had a PTA meeting, and the day I locked my keys in my car in a friend's driveway. Life has kept going. Whether I wanted it to or not, it just kept going.

There have been other days along the way that stand out, and many others that I can't remember at all. Days I cried, days I was able to laugh again, days I wondered what would have been, days I felt hope, days I looked out upon the Atlantic trying hard to empty my head, if only for a few minutes, days I smiled and was proud of my boys.

Two weeks after the miscarriage, we had 15 six-year olds at our house on an abnormally chilly day for my older son's birthday party. They are loud and rambunctious. They are six! I realize I have baby weight to lose, but no baby.

Four weeks after the miscarriage was my nephew's birthday party, at which we learned that my brother-in-law had told some people that he shouldn't have about our loss. I feel violated.

Six weeks after the miscarriage a trip to visit my pregnant friend. The trip was planned before the miscarriage. I was trying to honor commitments, even though I sometimes felt like I should be committed. It was so much harder than I imagined it to be. I feel marginalized.

Seven weeks after the miscarriage. Mother's Day. I'm in a netherworld -- not quite the mother of just two beautiful boys and not a mother-to-be anymore. My boys kiss me. A lot.

Exactly two months after the miscarriage, our new nephew was born. And one week later, our neighbor's twin boys were born. Three months after the miscarriage, my friend's baby boy was born. I am happy and sad at the same time. I grin at the abundance of Y-chromosome beings in my world.

Five months later, I learn my cousin is pregnant. I am thrilled for her. Truly thrilled. She has been through years of fertility treatments, and finally success. She and her husband will be wonderful parents. But think about how far along I would be -- should be.

Six months later, we are coming up on what would have been our baby's due date.



Varying support
Support during this time came in places and from some people I did not expect, and some people from whom I expected support couldn't or didn't give it. Other women's words have been reassuring. In the month after the miscarriage, there was an article in the New York Times magazine by Peggy Orenstein about mourning her miscarriage in Japan, where there is a ritual for this kind of loss. More recently, there was an article on miscarriage and support on the Internet in the Sunday Boston Globe Magazine. When letters to the editor in response to that article were printed a few weeks later, I recognized the first respondent as someone I knew once. She has had three miscarriages.

Almost from nowhere, I told a coworker of my husband's that I had a miscarriage. I hardly knew this person, but I told her. She had had one, too. Some part of me knew she would understand. She has become a friend, to both of us. In particular she has helped my husband to understand better, and for this I am thankful. I recently learned she is pregnant.

Those who don't understand, well, just don't understand. But do I want them to? That's a hard question. Why? Because for them to truly understand, they would have to go through this, too. And I don't wish this on anyone. Anyone.

My older son has asked many questions. "Why did the baby die?" There's not much more I can say than, "I don't know." I still ask why, too. My younger son has developed a thing about my belly. He just asks to hug it. They both ask when we'll get another baby. I just smile, and say, "I hope one day soon."

Change
I am changed. I don't know that anyone gets over losses completely. I still think about the baby and the miscarriage every day, and I'll always have a part of that little being with me. I actually recognized a pattern in the way my body recovered; it seems I've probably had two other very early miscarriages over the last few years.

My husband and I decided that we will plant a tree for our baby. It's been nice to think out loud together about what kind of tree and what it means. It's a way for us to acknowledge together what we hoped for and what we lost. We haven't made any final decisions, but I think we are leaning toward a fall-bearing pear tree. It would have been a fall baby, and pears are one of our favorite fruits. I think about making pear pie each fall to remember.

We've decided to start trying again. We are hopeful and afraid and anxious and a little excited all at once. To face this fear took a leap of faith, and I don't know where I found the strength to do it. I just did. Maybe it's because, whether I think I want it to or not, life keeps going.PregnancyAndBaby.com

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