My mother loves Christmas. Even though we lived below the poverty line for the first ten years of my life, she always managed to make Christmas magical. Every Christmas Eve, my grandparents would come for an elaborate dinner, and then we would gather around the Christmas tree to sing carols as my mother played the piano.
Every Christmas Eve but one.
On Christmas Eve 1988 I was 8 years old. Grandma and Grandpa had come to spend the evening with us, but the piano was silent. Mom was in the hospital, and we were gathered around the Christmas tree to pray.
My mother had a miscarriage that night. She was about 4 months along, and although we children knew about the pregnancy, until that night it had intruded on our lives only slightly. When she came home on Christmas morning, we were so overjoyed to see her that we soon forgot the baby boy that she had just lost. But she did not forget.
Over the next 10 years, my mother miscarried 9 times. Until I was an adult, I knew of only 3 of these losses. After the second time, people began to tell her that she should stop trying to have another baby. No one understood her desire for another child, so she stopped sharing her losses. Years later, I found a little notebook tucked away in a back closet. Inside were ultrasound pictures with dates and names; brothers and sisters that I knew nothing about. Now, as a midwife, I see my mother in the eyes of every woman who suffers the loss of a baby.
When I see women for early prenatal appointments, I am often asked my opinion on the best time to tell friends and family about the pregnancy. Is it “okay” to tell people early? This is a very personal decision, and not one that I can make for them. All I can say is that whether the pregnancy ends in a healthy baby or a miscarriage, they should share the experience with their loved ones. No matter how the pregnancy ends, it is an important part of their life journey.
Beyonce shares her experience of miscarriage:
Miscarriage and Stillbirth Resources:
Hope Exchange – an excellent resource site with links to information on stillbirth and miscarriage, national support groups, and grief management. http://www.hopexchange.com/ResourcesLinks.htm
Elizabeth Ministries – an international ministry focused on bringing hope and healing to women in the areas of childbearing and relationships. http://www.elizabethministry.com/