My wife miscarried last weekend. She was somewhere around 5 weeks pregnant. We’re both really sad about it. It’s weird. I’m ardently pro-choice and don’t think human life begins at conception, but emotionally I was responding as if this were the case. The feeling of loss is big. Definitely a grieving process. I can’t remember if I’d posted here that we’d start trying (in late May). I didn’t want to mention this on the blog but I also want to start letting folk know a bit more.

Mostly it’s that I want to write about this. One part as a way to get it out of my head some more, and one part to reflect a bit as part of getting more distance and processing.

I’ve only told a few people, and mostly by email. I feel bad for this, given how impersonal that medium is. It’s a control thing. I have a lot on my plate with school and all, and have times when I have to be keyed in to what I’m doing – like when I’m teaching and so on. So I feel the need to maintain a high level of control (I feel that generally anyway but right now I feel pressure externally – or at least fear of external consequences – and to a higher level of control), like a sort of feelings on/off switch, or rather a “expressing my feelings” or “reflecting my feelings in my demeanor” on/off switch. As part of this, I don’t want unexpected phone calls or conversation about the miscarriage. It’s not that I don’t want to talk, it’s that I want my road map of my day to have the times and places where I’ll be talking about this very clearly marked, if that makes sense. I want control over when and where and under what circumstances I talk about this. Hence the resort to email.

I’ve mostly just told folks I have responsibilities toward with political work, to say I won’t be fulfilling them well or perhaps at all for a while. (I’ve called my mom too.) This has tipped the scales into the big step back from political work that I’d been thinking for a while that maybe I should try to take. I need to put energy and time into my partner, and to myself. At the same time, I want to keep up with some stuff, to maintain a sense of normalcy. I dunno.

Let me also just say I don’t like the term miscarriage or the way the verb “to miscarry” makes it sound like something my wife did. And like I said despite my views on stuff, I had started to feel (not so much to think in words but to feel the way that the words would reflect emotionally) like the pregnancy was “our baby”, so “miscarriage” feels something like “loss of our baby.”

Hard stuff. I’m not good at grief generally. I tend to try to solve it or treat it as a problem; that’s generally my reaction to negative emotions (I’ve learned to not act on this reaction so much, to just listen to others and so on when they have bad feelings, but I still feel this way about feelings). I’ve been telling myself, it’s okay to not feel okay about this. I don’t owe anyone my feeling okay. And it’s also okay to not pretend to feel okay, that I can just say “yeah I’m not doing so hot” then when I want to stop talking, just change the subject even if it’s obvious and clumsy (“so, looks like an early winter, eh?”) I’ve also been reminding myself – we will have a baby eventually, a perfect and beautiful one – not as a like “get out of grief free card” but just to remind myself that while this sucks quite a bit it’s a specific loss, not an “I will never be a parent” kind of thing.

Grief is odd. I remember getting very angry at my grandpa’s funeral when I was 11 or so, because people were laughing at the reception thing afterward. Looking back it makes sense, though it didn’t at the time – my grandpa was funny, and part of grieving is remember what you had and what you no longer have, so it’s possible to feel good and really bad at the same time, in a way. We were incredibly happy about being pregnant, and will be again. A part of the grief is the loss of that happiness. When I think hard about it I can sort of feel that feeling again, at the same time that I feel sad.

There’s also this sort of “everything should stop” sort of feeling. Like … buses and cars. What are people doing commuting when I feel all rotten like this? How dare the world keep moving? That’s not right, really, it’s not even “how dare” so much as “how strange that” – it’s not so much a sense of indignation as it is a sense of confusion. And a bit of going through the motions to the degree that I need to keep moving in and through the world while feeling down.

Sad. Very sad. Not much more to say about that right now.

So… looks like an early winter here in Minnesota. Or at least a cold fall. The state fair was neat, eh? Read any good books lately? Got any thoughts about possible musical supergroups?

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