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.