09 November, 2011

things that i learned from my experiences with miscarriage

for months i've been jotting down thoughts, mentally. like in the shower or right before i fall asleep. thoughts about the many lessons that i have learned over the past six or so months that i learned because of or about miscarriage.

i debated sharing such personal thoughts over the internet, and so i've edited the list in my head to things that i do want to share with you, hoping that if there's someone out there going through something similar to what i went through, this might help them in some way.

the first lesson i want to share with you is this:

right after everything happened with my last miscarriage, there were some people who tried to offer love by telling me about people they knew who had gone through "the same thing" that i'd gone through and they'd been "just fine"... well, here:

person: you know, my friend ___ had a miscarriage, really similar to yours. she didn't seem to have any of the same feelings as you, though. man, she really just jumped right back into things and she wasn't all sensitive about it.

me: oh.

my brain: i really wish i was stronger than i am, but i'm not. this is hard for me. i'm doing my best. the very, very best that i can. and maybe it doesn't make sense to you, but it's how i feel. please respect that.

disclaimer: i know that people who do this are usually trying to offer up these experiences at inspiration to those who are mourning- that if someone else can get through it with a smile on their face, you can too. good intentions.


i resolved almost immediately that for the rest of my life, if something happened to someone and to them it was awful, i would let it be awful to me too. meaning that i would never downplay someone else's pain because i'd already endured it and knew it wasn't really that big a deal, or because it seemed trivial compared to child starvation or global warming...

the point is this: i'll never make anyone else defend their grief to me - whether it's an end-of-the-world-ugly-hair-cut or a job loss or cancer... grief is grief, and i'll always try to "mourn with those that mourn" - whether i understand it or not.


  1. I think that's a good way to think of our responsibility to mourn (after, of course, you're done calling them a jerk in your mind ;)). I think as women we attempt to make people feel better, and I know sometimes I try to do that by offering a solution. Most times a hug is just more effective.

  2. Thanks for sharing Brooke! I'm so sorry that happened to you. I hope your message reaches another mom in need.

  3. I had 6 miscarriages and I kept my grief mostly to myself.
    I'm that kind woman your friend was talking about who seems to just keep moving and doesn't show any real signs of depression. Shows how much she knows.
    This just means I handle it differently, not any better or worse than you. It doesn't mean someone like me feels it less or mourns less, just differently. We all have different coping mechanisms and I internalize I suppose. I can tell you, after 9 years, I still feel it and if I think about it too much, the tears will fall quite easily which I'm certain would surprise most people who know me.
    I say, take as long as you need to take to get through (not over) it, cry as many tears as you want and it's okay. It's also okay not to cry, we are all different, we move through this world differently with different lessons to learn and different hills to climb.
    I like your lesson that if it is awful to them, you'll let it be awful to you even if you don't understand it. I think I will strive to be more like that too.

  4. katie - i totally agree!

    thanks hedy :)

    jeanette - that's a very good point - that we all grieve differently. i'm always impressed at your compassion and strength, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with me!

  5. Oh, people are the worst sometimes. Talking about infertility brings out the worst in people, too. I have one work friend who always tells me that my husband and I just need to open a bottle of wine and relax. (Apparently wine makes you ovulate now?!)

  6. thank you for sharing brooke! you are very brave, and also very right! compassion and sensitivity towards others is always the best choice! thank you for a good reminder! :) love you girl!

  7. First off, I am sorry for your loss.
    Second, I agree with you whole-heartedly. Each persons grief is real and tangible. It might last 20 minutes or 20 years or come in waves, but it's there.
    Third, people (myself included, unfortunately) say such insensitive things, without meaning or realizing they are unintentional cruel.
    Thank you for your sharing a piece of you. It's never easy to put oneself out "there". and someday I'll share my heartache, but today is a good day. :)


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