I didn't feel it the first time: the humiliation.
But here I am, with nervous fingers, embarrassed to write that it has been six days now since my husband and I lost our second pregnancy. Six slow mornings of sleeping as late as the day will allow. Six quiet evenings alone, or in the company of loving friends. Six days of ice cream, Jim Halpert, and Kurt Vonnegut. Six days of a deathly sleep-state.
Empty in all senses. Empty womb. Empty questions.
This is the first time I've written about my second miscarriage, and even now, I feel like a liar. Like it didn't really happen. Like I'm just making things up so I can drink the gift of the concentrated kindness of my friends and family. But it remains: I am physically ill, bleeding, and passing alarming amounts of tissue. I was pregnant. I ate a jar of pickles. I got really excited. Then I miscarried. Again.
Even as it happened, as I watched my body expel the fragments, I disbelieved it. I held the tissue in my palm and made excuses for it. I said quietly aloud to myself as my husband slept, "no. this didn't happen again." But my excuses for the tissue and for the pain wore down, and beneath the weight of evidence, I admitted it to my husband.
I can only explain it this way:
If I found my way out of an abusive relationship and told you all about it, you might feel awful for me. You might say, "Oh Tiffany. I'm so sorry that man did such terrible things to you." But if I were to get into another abusive relationship and tell you all about it, your tune might change. You might say, "Well, have you thought about what you might be doing wrong? Is this a pattern in your life? Are you really doing everything you can to have healthy relationships? Is this actually your fault?"
Because when you find yourself in the same situation multiple times, it's cause to take a look at your own choices and ask yourself who might really be responsible for your "misfortunes".
It's cause to wonder if it's your own damn fault.
The problem with this is: a second miscarriage feels just like that, but it's not like that at all.
Because our second miscarriage happened while I was practicing yoga, eating whole, organic foods, abstaining from alcohol, and routinely taking my too-expensive pre-natal vitamins. I was checking all of the boxes and still, we lost the pregnancy. It's not like choosing abusers over and over again. The responsibility doesn't fall on me. It doesn't fall on anyone. There is no one to blame and rationally, I understand that.
But it doesn't relieve the shame. It doesn't lift the embarrassment from my shoulders. I don't know why, but it doesn't.
I feel humiliated.
I feel defective.
I wonder, "Is there something wrong with my body? Did I do something wrong that made me lose two pregnancies?" I wonder and I am flooded with anger. It's not fair. Life's not fair, I know. But this is really not fair.
Why is it so easy for some women; so easy that we actually have clinics and doctors whose job it is to get rid of thousands of unwanted pregnancies?
Why do some women get pregnant the first time they have sex, while others try for years? Why do some women have, almost effortlessly, a family of six, while others shell out $60,000 for in vitro fertilization and still nothing ever takes?
What are the steps to successfully carrying a child? What is the sure-fire way?
I ask these questions in vain because I know there Are no satisfying answers. It's just the way things are. I wrestle these questions down, sweating and crying, and look them in the face. They look back at me, full of inquisition themselves. They don't know their own punchline. There is no reason. Only riddle.
I am humiliated though it isn't my fault, and I am angry with no one to blame.
So I find that all there is left for me to do is to let it go.
Over and over, every day, I let it go. I do my work. I see my friends. I get my oil changed and make my lunch. I take pre-natal vitamins and wait for my health insurance to kick in so I can go see a specialist, just in case. They say you shouldn't worry unless you have three or more early miscarriages in a row, but I want to go soon.
I feel waves of grief, I let myself feel it, and I let it go.
I ask the harrowing, answer-less questions, and sigh a heavy sigh of limits.
This limited body.
This limited understanding.
Some things cannot be understood. Only accepted.
In accepting and letting go, I find a way forward.
In loosening my grip on what I think is fair; on what I think life owes me,
I begin to embrace what life really is: a series of wonderful and awful moments; all beautiful.
A series of moments which afford me the opportunity to become the kind of creature I want to become.
A series of moments which often make little sense, but are full of richness if only I can lay hold, sadness and loss included.