So I promise I didn’t mean to stop writing for 6 months, but it happened so I figure I’ll update you guys and start anew.
Earlier, at the start of this new year my husband and I decided we wanted to try for a second child. It had been 12 months since Enoch’s death, and we were feeling positive about trying again and I felt like my body had really healed well enough to start that journey. I got pregnant on the first try and then at 6 weeks and 2 days the heartbeat disappeared and I had a miscarriage. I elected to let my miscarriage proceed naturally as I felt that route was the best option for my body, but after 2 weeks I needed medical intervention to prevent infection and to put an end to the excruciating pain I was experiencing. At that point I had what the medical community calls a “D & C” where they dilate your cervix and literally scrape your uterus with what appears to be a tiny metal spatula. I’ll be the first to tell you that while it’s a straight forward and even an easy procedure, it is by far the most painful thing I have ever had done. (And I say that having had a c-section and one of my organs removed…) If you ever have a miscarriage, and I sincerely hope you never do, definitely at least try the natural way first to try and avoid the D&C.
During my miscarriage I went to work like nothing had happened, and until the pain became so unbearable that I needed my husband to come rescue from my job to have the D&C no one knew anything had happened. I intended to march on with my life and not let this get me down. I knew the statistics (something like 20-25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage before week 8) but those numbers didn’t help. I began to feel like I was useless. I felt like I was never going to be able to do something that 15 year old drug addled teenagers seemed to do effortlessly. And I know fully well how horrible and self centered that sounds, but it’s how I felt. I wondered what was wrong with me, I wondered why I couldn’t do the one thing I wanted to do, I wondered how many more times I could disappoint my husband before he’d give up. And then I wondered what the point of my existence was, and that’s when I picked up my phone and called my doctor. I recognized that my thoughts were more than merely being sad, or disappointed. My thoughts were beginning to get dangerous and so I sought help. I went back on the lexapro that saved me after Enoch died, and I began focusing more energy on creative endeavors, and with time I have gotten much better. I’m not sure if I’m better enough to be able to go off my medication yet, but I know that someday I will be and that someday we’ll try again for another baby and that it’ll work out fine.
I tell you all of this for 2 reasons.
#1. Miscarriage and infant loss is too often swept under the rug. It’s not something you talk about in polite society. It’s often viewed as something you or your partner have done wrong, and there is a lot of blame tossed around. I’m here to tell you that all of that is bullshit. The moment you are brutally honest with someone about why you have no children (“I have 1 but he died”) that’s when their story of their own miscarriage or their cousins ectopic pregnancy, or their best friend’s stillbirth crops up. I do not know a single person who has never experienced some variety of child loss, or who isn’t close with someone who has experienced child loss. So do not feel ashamed if you have lost a child/pregnancy. It is not your fault, and it is not a shameful thing. Celebrate your babies, both those you get to keep, and those you do not.
#2. Seeking help for mental illness is not viewed very positively in America today. It’s either something to mock (“oh, she’s crazier than a shit house rat” being a common phrase in my childhood home….) or it’s evidence of some personal failing, or weakness. Let me make this very clear: Reaching out for help in your darkest hour, when you feel like you’re nothing and you’re worthless, takes MOUNTAINS OF COURAGE. Do not downplay how hard you work when trying to recover from mental illness. And do not let anyone tell you that taking medicine for mental illness is a crutch or sign of the fact that you’re just not TRYING hard enough to feel better. If you had diabetes, or high blood pressure, or chronic acid reflux no one would bat an eye if you were prescribed medicine to help you manage your condition. It would be viewed as a very natural step in the course of your treatment to give you medicine. And similarly taking medicine to help with depression or other mental illnesses is a very natural step in helping you manage your condition. This isn’t a joke, you’re not weak, it’s not that you need to try harder, it’s that you have a chemical imbalance in your brain chemistry and you needed chemical help balancing that imbalance.
Please know how much I love you guys and remember to take good care of yourselves and be on the look out for more stuff from me this summer.