because of them

Oh November, you bring with you such a mixed bag of emotions and moods and thoughts for me.

I love fall.  I do. I love crisp leaves and pumpkin spice lattes and leggings with boots and scarves.

But you make it so hard to really love those things with all the other stuff you bring with them.

With daylight savings time, you make my world darker, making me consider a SAD lamp every year. But I am cheap and delusional that I can get away without any SAD this year.

You also bring the end of the first marking period at work with it’s fluster of GET ALL THE THINGS DONE NOW week, so you know, stress and anxiety kicks in.

You also have the election.  Even when it’s a non-presidential election year, there is still something that we are supposed to vote for and people get jazzed up and political commercials take over the TV where there should be commercials for erectile disorder and tampons.  You know, light topics. And try as I might to ignore it, know my own beliefs and not get sucked into the opposing view, I do anyway.

And then there is that other thing about November.

That thing that was supposed to happen five years ago, but didn’t.  And then again four years ago, but didn’t.

I never know how to talk about my miscarriages.

I think I am in the minority of miscarriage survivors when I say that I don’t think of them as people that weren’t.  At least not most of the time.

I think about how our life would have been different if, five years ago, we started our family.  And I like to think that the spirits that were possibly in those small balls of cells…if there were souls in them…are in heaven with Cort’s dad.

But I don’t think of them as ever being full-fledged babies.

I don’t think of them looking like anything.

I don’t think of them and wonder about their futures…because they weren’t meant to have one.  That was not the plan.

That sounds harsh, doesn’t it?  It sounds cruel and insensitive.

I don’t think that about other people’s miscarriage.  Especially those who have suffered so many and have never had the blessing of a full term baby.

I read in my devotions not that long ago that everyone has a purpose in this world.  The ones who die young fulfilled their purpose quickly…even if we don’t know that purpose.  If the purpose is never revealed to us, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one.

I try not to play the “why” game.

I gave up on that game when Cort’s dad died.  There just wasn’t an answer that I was allowed to know.

I mean, I can conjecture from what I see has become of our life and how certain things wouldn’t be as they are without those tragedies, but I can’t say that was for sure the purpose of losing two pregnancies.

As I told my therapist last week, I never even thought of them as babies.

I’ve tried to.  I’ve called them babies, but after having Eddie and Charlie, that just didn’t feel right to me.

The first never progressed past a couple cell divisions before it quit.  It was my body that didn’t get that message.  My bodythought it was pregnant.  Had my body not mixed up that message, it would have passed without me ever knowing it was a miscarriage.

The second was a small dot on a screen.  But we never saw a heartbeat.

However, if I am being honest here, even seeing Eddie’s heartbeat for the first time didn’t convince me he was a real baby.  I know now that was probably a defense mechanism on my part.  And I am in no way saying anything about when I believe life starts (goodness knows I don’t want to start THAT debate here…this is about me and my experience only), I just don’t really grieve those lives that never were anymore.

I have a small box next to my bed with two hearts in it that represent those two pregnancies.

They were hugely important in my life.

The first convinced me I did, in fact, want to be a mother.

The second showed me my own strength and that I could get through physical pain that was greater than anything I ever thought I could endure.

Both pregnancies opened my eyes to who I am…a person I didn’t know I was.  A woman who was stronger and braver than I knew.

Both pregnancies are a puzzle piece to how our family was shaped.  How our attitudes toward loving each other fiercely and not holding grudges was fashioned.  How our persistent to be open in communication and our love for one another was created.

I know that those losses created an urgency of love and appreciation and living in the moment with those we love.

I know I am different because of them.  I know Cort is too.

I know Eddie and Charlie are seen through different eyes and loved with different hearts than they would had their not been loss before them.

But I don’t spend my November thinking about babies who weren’t born in this month.

And now, with the addition of my sweet new niece, Maria last weekend and the other niece, Lilly due in a couple weeks, I have two babies births to celebrate this month.

I don’t forget what I lost, but I don’t mourn it anymore either.

Instead I say a prayer of gratitude for all I have been blessed with despite the losses we have endured.

And we just are.

 

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. wow–such honesty and beauty in this. Love it.

  2. What an amazing, open way to look at loss.
    Congratulations on the new additions to the family!

  3. There i go, crying on the bus again

    Beautifully said. *hugs*

  4. The thing about loss is that there’s no right way to experience it. The way you experience it is YOUR right way.

    Congrats on the new babies!

  5. I can’t even begin how to fathom a loss such as that.
    Sending you so much love.

  6. Oh Katie, I didn’t know I felt this way until I read your words. I could never truly put into words how I feel about my own miscarriage so many years ago. I already had two beautiful healthy children and as much as I still think about it and sometimes wonder I don’t think, I’m in mourning. Thank you for making me see a bit clearer! Hugs…

  7. I still have a hard time thinking of anything other than a full term baby as a baby – and I held mine. They were so tiny and perfect, and yet in my mind that’s what they’ll be forever. I don’t see them as infants or toddlers, I wish I could but I just can’t.

    ((hugs)) I get a little of this. As much as I can without being in your exact shoes.

  8. Your way of processing loss is exactly right for you, and I think you put it into words beautifully.

  9. Oh, I can relate to this. I’ve lost three and although I grieve each baby, with time I’ve come to a place where my due date with those 3 can pass without me even realizing it. I’m not sure exactly how I feel about that, but I know that I have other things I must concentrate on now. The part of each loss I grieve the most, have the hardest time with, is how/when I discovered I had lost the baby. I sincerely hope you know that this is all OK and I, for one, think all you’ve said is completely right.

  10. Your honesty…is heartwarming. Congrats to the new nieces to dote on 🙂 I haven’t been to your blog in forever but you’re one of those bloggers that I missed. Sending you lots of hugs, Katie!

  11. I don’t dwell on my miscarriages… until I do. Reading this brought back memories of pain and hurt and tears.

    I miss those two babies. To me, they were babies, or memories of babies, or something. I mourn who they would have been. But, had either one of them come into this world, my little Gavin would not be here. And that is hard to wrap my head around.

    I love them. I miss them. But I don’t picture them as physical people.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I kind of get what you’re saying.

  12. Honey, however you think of them is how you think of them. You need no guilt, no weird feelings or feeling badly. You think of things the way that work for you.

    I applaud you for being so open and honest and raw. And I send you love. Unlimited. xo

  13. A really powerful post Katie. And one that I understand. I don’t mourn mine either in the way that it seems other people think I should. They weren’t what I think of as babies, the first was before Izzy arrived and I do wonder if she would be here if the first one hadn’t gone. The second was very early but would have been due next month. Life is as it is meant to be. I don’t forget them but I don’t mourn them either.

  14. Your method of thinking of your miscarriages, that they’re babies who are playing with Cort’s dad might be the healthiest way of dealing with such loss that I’ve ever encountered.

    We had two “disappointments” before CJ – the child was born, after the birthmother had picked us to parent the child . . . but then the birthmother chose to parent. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder how those kids are doing, what they’re up to, what they were named.

    It makes for a rough moment, but only ever a moment, because, once I have it, I usually have to run and deal with the children that I do have — that make my world go round.

  15. This is a beautiful post, Katie. Thank you for writing it and for remembering. I especially love this line: “Instead I say a prayer of gratitude for all I have been blessed with despite the losses we have endured.” and will be using it in an upcoming post. Stay tuned.