Sunday, January 22, 2017

The quiet violence of perpetual loss and longing

Sometimes I like to tell myself that the way Celine's life ended - via a D&E that was proceeded by an injection to make her heart stop beating - was the least violent way to end it.  That surely being hooked up to feeding tubes and breathing tubes, and experiencing the potential pain of a heart that was malformed and a belly with none of her organs inside of it would be a more painful way to go.

My miscarriages, with the exception of one blighted ovum and a series of chemical pregnancies, are mostly notable for their lack of blood.  They were all missed, silent, and dealt with by the quiet efficiency of a surgeon's hand.

But there's a toll to be paid, even when you haven't experienced the dramatic bursts of blood that characterizes the few miscarriages I've seen portrayed on screen.  And for the record, I know women who have experienced those losses first-hand.  Fuck if people don't diminish their grief on a daily basis, even when the action of their loss was bloody, potentially life-threatening and clearly visible to a bystander.

I've been diagnosed with PTSD.  I've written those words now many times.  When a soldier returns home from a battle field it's so easy to imagine the cause of their trauma.  Sure, I'll grant that Americans don't like to imagine the carnage of war, most of have have been too far removed from it, particularly since the days when images were televised in the Vietnam-era.  But we certainly try to portray the accuracy violence and gore of battle on TV or in movies and the most popular shows on netflix and amazon are notable for blood.

For women who experience the trauma of repeated pregnancy losses, though, there isn't exactly a booming media market portraying our stories.  So sometimes, the violence is quiet.

No one can give you anything other than a blank stare when you attempt to casually relay to someone that you've lost five or six or seven babies.  And I can bet money that no one wants to even imagine it, let alone see it portrayed somewhere.

It's a really weird life to live.  Every day, you wake up and accept that you have experienced trauma.  That without a shadow of a doubt you will be triggered that day.  You won't know when, you won't know how, but goddamn, you will experience it.  You will look like a completely normal person, you will put on some make up and nice clothes and do your hair and you will smile, and as a result no one in your day-to-day life will ever see or understand the violence that's been perpetrated on you.

I'm writing these words for anyone who will read them because people have to know....  If you live this double life, I am honoring you, as fully as we would honor any soldier.  You did something enormously brave:  You tried to bring a life into this bat-shit crazy world, and in the process you ended up with a lifetime of grief and trauma.

I see the violence around you.  I can't make it better but I can acknowledge it.

I see you.

5 comments:

  1. My first loss was full of blood. 5 weeks of bleeding, 3 days of hemorrhaging, second surgery aaannnd a blood transfusion to be exact. The rest were less bloody. Literally speaking. Metaphorically I continue to hemorrhage. Daily. ❤️❤️❤️

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    1. I was thinking about you today and yo beautiful self, how I don't think anyone can even begin to imagine the trauma you've lived to tell. Sister, I shudder to think of the ass-kicking you will give the universe if it even attempts to fuck with you some more. <3 <3 <3 right back at you.

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  2. The silent trauma is unbearable sometimes. I avoid engaging in conversations sometimes because I know it will trigger raw emotions from my rather long list of losses. The flashbacks from the trips to the bathroom early in pregnancy discovering the blood, flashbacks from hearing the dreaded words in ultrasound confirming our miscarriages, flashbacks from the ultrasound room before our tfmr. You are not alone mama.

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    1. God I am so sorry that you're another person who has found me and can relate. I think I devoted a whole post back in 2015 to the flashback in the ultrasound room before my tfmr. It was the single most destructive event to my psyche that I had ever experienced and I can't even bring myself to that place very often. I am just so sorry you have to live this hell.

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