Nat’l Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Last year, on National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day, I posted my story of loss, which you can read here if you so desire.

It’s been a year and a half since my miscarriage now, but there are still nights where my grief is crushingly present. I am triggered by the oddest things. For instance, when I found out that a friend is due on February 8th, the day I miscarried, I laid in bed and cried. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled for her, but her February 8th and mine will always be very different types of anniversaries, and being reminded of what I should’ve had, and what I did have, is heartbreaking. The memories I have of that day have not yet softened with time.

Here’s the worst part of my lingering grief, though: Every time I think about the child I could have had, I am overwhelmed with guilt because I have an amazing little boy who wouldn’t be in my life it weren’t for that loss. Grieving my miscarriage feels like a betrayal to Atticus.

These feelings aren’t rational, I know, and I would tell anyone else who felt this way that they should grieve as long and as hard as they need, and that grieving one loss does not diminish the love you have for your other children. Easier said than done, I suppose.

So, since writing anything else about this will only increase my guilt, I’m sharing a poem I wrote in the aftermath of my loss instead. If it rings true to you, I hope you find comfort in knowing you are not alone.

Your Poem (2-8-14)

your poem started with anticipation
and joy
with two blue lines on a thin white stick

it started with smiles
and nausea
and tiny socks
with plans
and scribbles of names on scraps of paper
with a belly that had just started to grow

i thought your poem would be seven months longer
that there would be
blurry photos of a uterus
a heartbeat
a nursery

but when i sat down to write
what came out was
and cramps
and a trip to the ER
where you fell away like the leaves in october
when you were going to emerge

so your poem ended early
with you the size of a sesame seed
with words as heavy as my heart



3 months of momming makes me an expert, right?

I’ve been a mom for almost 3 months now, and my life is basically a kaleidoscope of change. I’ve learned a lot of little things (like how to artistically tie a scarf so it covers the fact that your breasts leaked milk everywhere while at the grocery store) but I’m pretty much flying blind about all the big stuff. In fact, most days I don’t even feel like a mom. I can count on one hand the number of “I’m a mom” moments I’ve had. Mostly, I just feel like “Kathleen: Version 2.0 (now with permanently-attached baby!)”

That said, here’s a list of advice for new moms anyway. #blindleadingtheblind 😀

  1. Ignore everyone who seems a little too excited to tell you how much your life is going to suck. Yes, babies cry and expect to be fed and poop a lot and prevent you from going clubbing on Friday nights (or even enjoying a cup of tea uninterrupted) but it sucks to hear that from somebody else. Especially when they say it in that condescending tone like you hadn’t imagined your life would change at all. So what if I have to heat up my coffee six times before I finish it? I also get baby snuggles. I count that as a win. So when Aunt Greta cackles at you over Easter dinner and reminds you that it only gets worse from here, smile politely and ask her to pass the ham. She’s just hatin’ on your baby snuggles.
  2. Find people who didn’t tell you how much your life was going to suck and complain to them about how much your life sucks. Babies are hard! Sometimes I just want to lay in bed and never wake up because Señor Fussypants is refusing to nap and one of my milk ducts is clogged and I haven’t showered in three days and all I’ve eaten is half a granola bar I found in my desk and a heaping spoonful of cookie butter and the only diapers that are clean are the one that always leak and Atti’s already spat up on four separate outfits and I’m exhausted. Find someone who loves you and complain until you feel better. (Pro-tip: if it’s someone who has met – and subsequently adores – your child, they’ll remind you of how awesome said child is and make you feel like it’s all worth it.)
  3. Delegate chores. I’m awful at this. I just want to do all the things I used to do around the house but it’s impossible now. I don’t know why I have such a problem asking J to switch the laundry over or vacuum the bedroom but I’m working on it. Plus, it feels great to delegate. Like I’m the manager of the house giving orders to my underlings. (Please don’t tell J I said that.)
  4. Be prepared to do things you’ve never done (and never imagined you’d do.) I never once thought motherhood would include scrubbing poop out of carpet and off of crib rails. It just wasn’t something I considered. What’s more, if you’d have suggested that would be part of my life four months ago, I’d have been disgusted. Now I think “meh, it’s just poop.” Loosen up. Realize you probably won’t even be grossed out. Because it’s poop from a human you made and somehow that makes it less revolting (albeit still a terrible chore.)
  5. Take pride in the amazing things you’re accomplishing. Sure, I’ve had to cut back on performing poetry and attending political rallies, but I’m still crushing it. The other week I carried Atti, in his carseat, two blocks in the snow without dropping him or collapsing from fatigue (he’s a big baby and carrying the car seat is all in the forearms.) The week before, I assembled a mobile whose instructions were written in a combination of hieroglyphics and Sanskrit. Oh, did I mention I birthed a human being without any drugs? Yeah, I did. Doesn’t mean I won’t perform poetry or attend rallies again in the future, but for now, if all I’m doing is rocking Atti in my arms for six consecutive hours, I think that’s pretty amazing too.


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