The only way to cope with that last post was to get drunk afterwards
After I wrote the last post, I went over to my neighbor’s house, on the pretext of giving them some cut-comb honey (sidenote – I keep bees in my backyard, and today I had to cut some comb as a part of swarm prevention). But I knew when I went over there that they’d give me wine, and my neighbor S. would get into a big talk with me and distract me with a dozen topics she knew would keep me away from the topic of the miscarriage. The neighbors have been fantastic – they’re a big, happy Irish Catholic family with a deep reservoir of compassion. There are five daughters in that family, and three of them have had fertility issues, so the matriarch totally gets it and she’s like a surrogate mother to me the last two weeks. And I think they sensed it, that I just needed to get a little drunk. They kept my glass filled and kept me talking about anything other than babies. The youngest daughter is only 23 (close to the average age of many of my students) and having some career issues, so I found myself doing a little educational counseling, which is one part of my job that I really love. I always feel better when I can take my experiences and help someone else feel better, help them feel less alone and more understood. I don’t know if they all knew I needed that and were just playing along, or if I really helped my neighbor’s daughter, but frankly, I don’t care. I’m just grateful that someone kept my glass full and kept me away from the topic I’m sick to death of thinking about, for one blessed night.
And then I came home to Jon, who was a little freaked out but understanding, and a fussy basset hound who finally forgave me when I let him fall asleep in my lap. This is my little family right now, and we’re all a little battered but we’re doing the best we can. I’m pretty thankful for that, and for the people who’ve reached out to me since the last post, because I deeply appreciate that compassion. It is almost too much for me to handle, but I’m handling it as best I can. It is pretty good that no one has to see me right now, because I look like a crazy person – I spent my afternoon sweating in a beekeeper suit, my evening drinking white wine, and late into the night, I’m just tearful and pathetic. Be glad you’re not seeing this live.
In the two weeks since the miscarriage, I’ve been slowly getting better – at first, I could barely get out of bed. I just holed up in bed and watched episodes of “The Killing” for hours at a time. (How perverse is it that the only thing I could tolerate was a crime drama about a dead teenager? Something is wrong with me.) Last week, I started to consider the idea that I needed to get up from time to time and accomplish something. This week, I’ve actually started to do that and I try to get a few functional things done every day – laundry, bills, groceries, etc. Once I’ve done something productive, I give myself permission to cry and feel like crap the rest of the day. Next week, I’m hoping that I can get a little more done and limit the crying to just 2 hours or less, but we’ll see. I don’t get cocky with my plans right now – the wind is so completely knocked out of me that I know better. I feel like I’m doing pretty well just to get the bills paid and the dishes done, you know?
The other humbling factor are the number of women I know who’ve been through this before, or who have been through more and worse. Whoever you are, if you are reading this, I want you to know: I read your stories, and I cry for you. I get it, I really do, the horrible things that you went through in the hospital and after, the silent suffering, the way you stifle your rage and your despair and slap on a functional get-through-it face that nobody even bothers to notice is completely false. Those of you who’ve done this more than once, or who went even further in your pregnancies before they ended, or who went through months and years of treatment cycles and gritting your teeth and trying not to let it take over your life (even as it takes over your life), I just want you to know that I read what you write me privately, or I read what you posted anonymously online. I’m the person who stays up all night these days, reading those messages in bottles. Sometimes the only comfort I can take in all of this is that I’m not the only one – that is a weird, grim sort of comfort, which hinges rather unfortunately on the fact that you suffer just as much as I do. But there it is, we’re all having this shitty moment together. Oh well! At least we also live in an age where you can buy wine for $6 at the grocery store. Trade-offs!