What It Means to be the 1 in 4

Somehow during the Reagan administration, someone decided that October 15th should be a day to remember those who suffer and grieve from the experience of pregnancy loss.  It still is kind of shocking to me, as someone very vocal about the subject, that it’s something that we often do not hear about, and when we do at all, it is usually much later after the fact.  As a sufferer of three miscarriages, I may be confident enough to say that I’ve read almost all the available material on the internet concerning the subject and all of them have left me feeling, well, alone.  And when you experience this sort of thing, that is the direct opposite of what you want to be feeling.  So, in honor of the Mamas who have survived this tragedy and who suffer daily with the grief of bearing a child who did not live, or being unable to conceive at all, this is for you.

You are allowed.  You are allowed to stay home and not attend baby showers.  Send a gift in the mail.  Trust me, they’ll understand- as long as you send a gift receipt.  You’re allowed to snap at your elderly aunt Hilda when she asks you for the 10000000th time when you and your husband are going to have children when you have been unable to conceive for years.  You’re allowed to cry about it.  Daily, even.  You’re allowed to leave restaurants when a young family walks in with a very pregnant Mama and the very sight of her makes you bite your cheeks in pain of jealousy.  You’re allowed.

You’re allowed to celebrate your friends healthy pregnancies and births and acknowledge the miracle they are, and you’re allowed to weep about it on the way home.  Guess what? You’re also allowed to weep WITH them- something I’ve found with my closest friends is that you rejoice when they rejoice, you cry when they cry, they do the same for you and sometimes that all falls at the same time and that’s ok.  Good friendships can handle it and will be stronger for it.

You’re allowed to have no feeling about it at all.  No attachment.  No pain.  You’re allowed to wonder what the fuss is all about, why there is a day dedicated to such a thing.  You’re allowed to continue trying without fear.  You’re allowed to dust yourself off, call it a day and move on.  No one expects you to react a certain way- there is no wrong way to respond.  No one is you.

You’re allowed to be devastated by it.  No matter how far along you were.  You’re allowed to have dreams about faces and names and what they would have grown to become.  You’re allowed to spend their due date in bed with Netflix and popcorn and wine and take yourself out of life for the day because it’s too raw for you out there.  You’re allowed to hold ceremonies, have dedications and any other tradition that gives you peace and comfort and will help you through.  You’re allowed to reach out to your community throughout the coming YEARS, however long it takes, to come up underneath you.

You’re allowed to tell people when you’re hurting.  That a birthday party or a christening or the post baby chat on what was supposed to be a girls night out is just too painful for you.  You would want to know if something you said was hurtful to someone else, give others the courtesy of telling them.  People aren’t mind readers, and the one in four means that three people don’t have any idea what you’ve gone through.  It’s not even on their radar.  It’s not fair to seethe in the corner without drawing it to their attention.

You’re allowed to choose how you’d like to go forward.  You’re allowed to stop trying to conceive entirely.  It doesn’t make you any less of a Mama.  You’re allowed to adopt or to foster or to care for your community’s kids by volunteering.  You’re allowed to move on from the idea all together.

Guess what? You’re allowed to react, respond and proceed however feels most natural to you (albeit harm to yourself or others, obviously).  And you’re allowed to let the joy back in.  It comes.  In dribbles,  in waves, in oceans.  In brought meals and good laughs and dark chocolate. With it comes the ever illusive hope that you thought would never come for you again.  It came for me.

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