At the end of our session on Tuesday, my therapist asked me, as she does every week, whether there was anything else I’d like to tell her or ask her before we go.
“Yeah. What do I do now?” I asked. (Remember, we’d just established that I can’t go back and undo my miscarriage, and I’d been crying kind of a lot.)
She gave me some answer about how she didn’t know; there is no formula for healing this kind of hurt; and if we knew what to do, we’d be doing it. And then she asked whether I’d ever been to a support group.
“No,” I told her. “At the appointment following my D&C, the midwives said they could recommend a few support groups if I wanted to join, but I declined. I didn’t think I belonged there, because I wasn’t married and I hadn’t been trying for a baby. I figured the women in the support groups – the ones who had wanted and deserved a baby more than I did – would think I was mocking them.”
“So you decided you didn’t belong,” she clarified.
“Yeah. I did.”
I see now how stupid this was – holding myself and my loss up against a bunch of women whose stories I didn’t even know. There is no support group for people in my exact situation, because the situation I’ve created for myself is so particular. Who else in the world has lost a pregnancy, decided she didn’t want another pregnancy, and then continued to mourn the lost pregnancy with all her heart, every day? It’s sort of ridiculous, when you think about it.
My friend Hillary, to cope with her infertility and find support for her journey, turned to the infertility blogging community (and if you didn’t know there was one, there is; they have a ton of acronyms and speak in code). She once suggested that I find a community of miscarriage bloggers to act as an online support group for me. And I looked, but when you type “miscarriage” into the wordpress or blogger search fields, you end up with, not a whole community of people like me, but single entries from – you guessed it – the infertility bloggers. (Only they don’t call it “miscarriage;” they call it “MC.”) And so I decided, once again, that I was totally and utterly alone.*
Then today, my mom came over and brought an article from a few-months-old issue of San Diego Family Magazine, entitled, “Mourning a Pregnancy Loss: Steps to help move you through the grief process,” by a local woman named Lesley Vance. Lesley, as it turns out, has also been on the local news talking about this subject:
She also runs a free support group, to which she extends an open invitation on her website:
If you are having difficulty conceiving or if you have experienced miscarriage, ectopic, stillbirth or loss – come join a caring and understanding group where you will know you are not alone.
So, two years later, I finally decided to look into joining a support group. I mean, I said I would do any and everything to perpetuate healing, right? And this is a concrete thing to try, suggested by my therapist no less! I emailed Lesley to inquire, explained my story in as few words as possible, and then said something along these lines:
I was wondering whether your support group would welcome someone in my situation, since I am not, to my knowledge, infertile…
Still trying to put myself on the outside of the pack? Sigh. Some things are not learned easily…
*And trying to perpetuate the loneliness, apparently. After her miscarriage this summer, Beth has decided to wait a while before she and her husband try again. But instead of accepting that decision, and grasping at the solidarity it provides, I keep asking her when she’s having babies, and why they changed their minds. It’s a defense mechanism, sure – I want to be prepared and in the know when they do decide to try again – but still a little masochistic.