What were you doing?
That question was asked by a radio personality as I drove Mary and Minah to school this morning. Although I had not thought about it in years, it instantly flashed through my brain.
Thirty years ago today, I had a miscarriage.
We'd been married 5 months when we discovered we were unexpectedly pregnant. We were terrified at first, but then we were thrilled.
And, about a week later, we were no longer pregnant. It was scary, and upsetting, and I thought it boded ill for our future family. I was wrong, but, at the time, it was all I could think about. Although we thought we would wait about 5 years to start a family, we were afraid for our chances, and started right away. In fact, our oldest was born one year and one day after our miscarriage.
People can be very cruel about children. "Oh, you had to go and ruin a perfectly good marriage." "He's cute now, but wait until he's a teenager!" You know, those sorts of supportive, loving comments. People are often doubly so about a miscarriage. "You're young. You'll have more." (Can I get that in writing?) "You barely knew you were pregnant. What are you fussing about?" (Hmmm...Maybe...My child DIED) For the record, I was at 11 weeks, had thought long and hard about what I was doing, and was glad for it.
Miscarriages hurt, physically as well as emotionally. As I only ever had one, I didn't know what to expect. I was hurting, scared, and felt very alone. Although my husband was also very upset and disappointed, he was wonderfully supportive. Our doctor, who I met as this experience began, was terrific, and I was very glad to have him care for me through 4 pregnancies. But it's still an experience I am glad to have had only once.
In case you're wondering, 30 years ago today, John Belushi died. The irony was not lost on me. Here was this talented guy, full of promise, and he frittered his life away on drugs. And my little baby, also full of promise, died without even getting the chance to fritter away a life. The irony, the situation, and my memories caused me to tear up in the car. I told the girls what I was thinking. We talked about it a bit, and then they went into school. I drove off into the morning.