"Ten Things of Thankful" and its purpose is to focus on the good things that happened to you each week. I really love it because I always try to focus on the good stuff and the blog hop helps me to do so even if I had a rough week. Lizzy is such a kind and lovely person! She is funny, witty, smart, and has an adorable British accent that I miss hearing so much!
I am really happy that she took the time to post on my blog today.
When I was little, my Dad told me a funny thing about getting old;
“They say that grey hairs are genetic – parents inherit them from their children.”
I slid (a little disgracefully) into my thirties last month, not a grey hair in sight, and though the prospect of Looking Old was not one I ever relished, I’d turn every hair on my head to the most un-dye-able grey if I could live the reality of that joke.
Because the super-power my two gave me was the power of being an Invisible Mum.
Both my children passed away very early in pregnancy but they’ve changed me forever – they made me into a mother, albeit one you wouldn’t recognise.
My sleep deprivation can only be blamed on myself, as can my figure.
Any mess or clutter in my house is not their fault.
Any breakages, mysterious spills or missing food is traced instead to Mr Invisible or the One-Armed Man.
Not my children.
Because when they left me, things got backwards and I became their legacy.
I became a woman who knew such conflicted pain as I’d never felt before. I became a person who suddenly understood what people meant when they said the word ‘miscarriage’ as though it was cursed. All at once, I was a mother, and yet not. And it left me with new powers and (with them) a new set of responsibilities.
Respond to the Calling
Just like Clark Kent had no option to turn his shuttle around and head back to Krypton, nor had I the choice to just ‘not become a mother’. It happened at conception, but from there, accepting Invisible Mum status and deciding to make it ‘visible’ has been a choice I’ve actively had to make. I could have just gone on with life, pretending it never happened. Many women do, and that’s ok, but that’s not where I’m at, nor many of my friends in the same position. We feel there is purpose in the place we’ve been left, and that Good that can come of it.
Fight Evil (and ignorance)
I’m in a (not so) unique position of having the time, energy and capacity to get on my soapbox and try to make myself visible (after all, I’ve only myself to look after). I know that when I first inherited my ‘powers’, they were frightening, hateful and very painful. I needed others who’d gone before me to comfort me and offer me a sense of solidarity (and that there was an ‘other side’ I would get to one day). These women were so vital and their input so valuable, I decided I wanted to be part of the movement of breaking down the taboos surrounding miscarriage, smashing the barriers to communication and dragging this sorry subject out into the light – because if we can see it, in all its truth, we can be less afraid. And then women affected by it can feel less alone. And that is very important, because the perceived isolation can be crippling.
It’s very easy to get swamped by self-pity. You’re allowed to a certain extent (after all, when your baby’s just died inside you, no WAY should anyone have to feel they should ‘just suck it up’) but after the grieving abates a little and the pain very slightly begins to recede, you’re left on a knife edge, where almost anything can tip you back over. And in those moments, your behaviour (by which I mean ‘my behaviour’) can be nothing short of appalling. I was guilty of ignoring friends who’d just had a baby, of glaring at pregnant women’s bellies in the street, of rejecting my husband, of whining on and on and on…all of which is understandable, but eventually, needs resisting, lest pain and grief give way to anger and bitterness, because these last two, once instilled, are really hard to shift and will totally mess up your life, your relationships and are just not worth it.
If your friends and family don’t know about your miscarriage, they can’t help or support you – nor can they be held accountable for unintentionally hurting you with a “So when are you going to pop out a baby?” type comment. In sacrificing your right to privacy and letting people in on this very intimate, very tender news, you allow them to treat you with compassion and empathy, letting you know they care, as well as being able to mourn with you, for they also would have loved to greet your little one, alive and well – they too will have experienced a loss, albeit far lesser.
Grief is very good at covering your world in darkness. And if you succumb to it for a long time, it will begin to erode your view. Everything will be forever tainted with having lost your baby, but if you actively seek Good Things, you can go hand-to-hand with the pain which would love to suck you under. This one’s not easy, but it is important.
Expect the unexpected
Like all good Super-villains, the pain and grief of loss will pop up suddenly, just as you were starting to relax and feel you had a handle on life. It may be weeks or months later, and nothing in particular might trigger a huge regression into being huddled, crying in pain at the non-presence of your child. Roll with it. Allow yourself to feel deeply, because it’s a Big Deal. But know that you came through this once, you’ll do it this time, and you’ll probably have to do it again, but each time you pull yourself back from the struggle, you’ll find it easier to do.
Never Give Up
Never, ever. Because, even though I’m a member of the Invisible Mums Club, life is still Good. Not all of it, not all at once, and sometimes not even every day, but it is Good, and worthwhile engaging with.
A huge thank you, Lizzy, for this beautiful and powerful post! You really have a way with words and I totally adore this post!
More of Lizzy's fabulous writing can be found on her blog. Don't miss it!