Wednesday, April 25, 2012

After Miscarriage: a worthwhile read

Another post, another post gap.  Normally I would observe such a chasm with self-deprecating humor or excuses.  However, small waves of grief have unexpectedly come forth as the miscarriage aftermath fades away.  Added to that was witnessing our neighbors mourn the death of their 20-year-old daughter in a car accident two weeks ago.  She would have survived had she worn a seat belt.  I will never forget the face of the grieving mother, looking imploringly at KB as we left her house, who said, "Promise me you will always wear your seat belt."  Through teary eyes I assured her that we will always remind KB (it's a non-negotiable anyway).

I wrote the previous post thinking the miscarriage grief had passed.  To my great surprise, I was mistaken.  Without warning, waves of sadness came out of nowhere: a movie with a newborn baby, looking at newborn baby clothes, realizing that we wouldn't have a baby in November...these little things just added up. Thankfully, a couple girlfriends who have had miscarriages assured me my feelings were normal.  No need to call in the men in the white coats! Ha.

As Providence would have it, a recently published book has helped me tremendously: it's called After Miscarriage: A Catholic Woman's Companion to Healing and Hope.
Karen Edmisten's book strikes a very good balance for grieving mothers: she doesn't dwell on the sorrow to the point of despair, yet she also doesn't linger on the "your baby is in heaven" to the point of forced giddyness.  A very difficult balance to obtain.  My grief feels very raw, very real.  Through Karen's stories (she endured 5 miscarriages) and the stories shared by others (moms, a father, a single mom...) I find affirmation in my grief yet also some hope to which to hold fast. The book also offers practical advice about burying the remains, holding a memorial Mass, grieving, etc. 

I'm a huge fan of my Kind.le, but this book works best in its natural, hard copy form.  The pages need  highlighting and folded corners.  I hope to purchase copies for some priest friends of mine, so they have an idea of what to say to a couple after miscarriage or a failed adoption. 

The passage that struck me the most: 

"And eventually a picture came to my mind.  I was weeping, and Jesus approached me, held me, a bloody, wounded hand on my hair, a strong arm around me.  He said that he would not tell me why but that he knew  what I felt."

I can very much relate to that image, and I think it also relates to the struggle with infertility/miscarriage.  Wanting something/someone good.  Watching pregnant teens who didn't want to be pregnant.  Surrounded by families.  Walking by the baby clothes, knowing what you had hoped will be there in 9 months will not.

Jesus will not tell us why, but He will comfort us.  And many times, His comfort comes in the forms of family, friends, bloggers, a kind word, cupcakes, or a book published at exactly the right time. 

By the way, after all of these heavy posts, a lighter one is in order. Stay tuned.  


Ryan Ann said...

Thinking of you and sending hugs.

Maureen said...

I too am always asking Jesus, "why, why, why?" Thank you to the friends who support you so faithfully.

Karen Edmisten said...

Thank you for such a beautiful review!

Margaret Mary Myers said...

Thank you for sharing. I didn't get the book, because I've never had a miscarriage, but I was reading your review because I follow Karen. But it turned out that what you explained from her was a help to me, also, having lost our 26 yr. old son in January, who died in his sleep, so that we don't know a "why", either. You picked just the right quote from the book to help me. And yes, grief comes and goes in waves, I believe. But Our Lord is always with us.

Percolating Petals said...

@Margaret Mary, I'm so sorry for your loss. :( What a blessing that Karen's book was able to touch your aching heart.

My cousin died at age 26 of a sudden seizure, and it took a long, long time for us to get over his death. you will be in my prayers!

All in His Perfect Timing said...

"He said that He would not tell me why but that He knew what I felt."
Wow. Thanks for sharing that. Its so comforting.

the misfit said...

What a beautiful image. And brilliant idea to get that book for some priests. If I ever land on the perfect infertility book, it's going to every priest in the archdiocese.

This_Cross_I_Embrace said...

Beautiful. I'm still praying for your healing. And be kind to yourself. This isn't the kind of thing that "just takes time." It's more than that. It takes daily strength.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog through *Hannah's Tears*. Your posts are heartwrenching and so close to my heart right now. I was crying as I read them. I also read this excellent book.

My situation is very different. I have three older children (2 adult, 1 teen) and a sweet 8 yr. old. I had two miscarriages after her and now am at an age where I can no longer conceive. There has definitely been a mourning involving the loss of fertility as I move to the next stage of my life.

You are not crazy...I still cry when I am in a baby section, I am surrounded my large homeschooling families, AND I work part-time in ultrasound, so I am constantly exposed. I just finished a post titled *I still cry in the baby aisle*. I haven't published it yet, but would love to share the link with you when I do.

My heart goes out to everyone here who is struggling. Know that I am keeping you all in prayer in a most special way.

I look forward to visiting your blog again. Bless you...Theresa

Anonymous said...

Here is the link I mentioned above to *I still cry in the baby aisle*:

God bless you~ Theresa

kate spade said...

If you have gone through a miscarriage, I understand your pain. If you decide to give pregnancy another chance, educating yourself to increase your chances of pregnancy can go a long way.

conceiving after miscarriage