Surprise! Another positive test without even trying!! This time the results were met with excitement, but tempered with some apprehension. The doctor’s voice was on replay in my head. “It WON’T happen again.” I should have gotten that statement signed and notarized. Less than two weeks after the test, I had a miscarriage. At home. Alone. Nothing and no one can prepare you for that experience. It is a disgusting, gut-wrenching process that leaves you emotionally exhausted. I was teaching summer school at the time, requiring me to bounce back quickly as I knew that there were no substitutes to cover my class. I put on my “never let them see you cry” face and powered through the pain. Another visit to the doctor. Another “It won’t happen again.” The doctor seemed confident that it was “bad luck.” Oh, how I’ve come to despise that phrase.
The funny thing about a miscarriage is that many people have no idea how to treat you afterwards. There’s no funeral for closure, no public tears. Does it warrant a card? A hug? There are several reactions that I’ve witnessed firsthand.
1) The Avoider - They don’t acknowledge it because they don’t know what to say or don’t know if you want to talk about it, leaving you to profess to your husband later that they must not care, even when you know they do. And you know deep down that you might actually be pushing them away because that’s what you do…
2) The Storyteller - They tell you all about their own experiences or those of someone they’ve known; the stories are told to reassure, but can feel a little flippant when the pain is fresh. “Really, your cousin’s wife’s sister had 10 miscarriages and then got pregnant? Wow! There’s hope for me yet!!”
3) The Interviewer - They ask you questions like any normal, curious person. “What did the doctor say caused it? What are you going to do to prevent it? Why does it keep happening?” What they don’t know is that these are the questions that you ask yourself in the privacy of your bedroom, at night when it’s dark, when everyone else is asleep. They affirm your fears that it just might be your fault.
4) The “Friend” - They stop talking to you altogether. Whether this is a result of not knowing what to say, or the thought that a miscarriage might be contagious, I’m not sure.
5) The True Friend - They react like the amazing friend they are. Maybe they encompass some of the above, but in the most well-meaning way and with some texts, cards, facebook messages, hugs, phone calls, dinners, and even tears sprinkled in…these difficult moments bring out the best in the best of friends. J