*If you’re squeamish or in denial about how women’s bodies actually work during pregnancy, miscarriage, etc. (spoiler…there’s blood and stuff), you may want to skip this post and maybe the next few.*
There’s a show called Flummox and Friends I like to watch with my kids at school who have ASD (autism spectrum disorders). In the first episode, “The Party,” the characters learn all about how to be a part of a group–using your eyes to see what the group is doing, your ears to listen to what they’re saying, and your brain to connect your ideas to their ideas. There’s a catchy song sung by Dex Brickerson, a charming if arrogant “adventure pilot.” The chorus repeats the main point “In the group, out of the group” over and over again…which is helpful for kids with ASD who don’t get subtlety, but it’s an earworm for sure.
When we found out we were pregnant, I was almost a little hesitant to be joining the “parent” group. Friends instantly changed their language as they lamented about rowdy children in public places, adding on a disclaimer or two about how not all kids were rowdy or annoying and surely ours wouldn’t be. And I wanted to assure them that it was ok, that I still find tantruming children lying on the floor of Target annoying, full well knowing I’d probably be that mom at some point.
And I started to settle into a new identity. A close girlfriend and I talked strollers and car seats and what accoutrements you actually need to raise a child. She let me sit in her glider and we debated the gliding motion versus a rocking motion and when I got home I asked Elisha if he thought that was even a rational debate or if I was going to a little overboard wanting to have everything exactly perfect (I was, he said).
And so when we went to my doctor’s appointment last week, pregnant, and left the hospital decidedly not pregnant, it was a bit of a shock. The pregnant to not pregnant transition had taken less than 8 hours total, a sort of emotional whiplash I wasn’t prepared for.
At some point, the Flummox song popped into my head. In the group, out of the group…we’d been in the group, if only for 10 weeks. I’d adjusted to being a pregnant woman. I’d searched out and bought a BOB on Craigslist for a steal, we’d acquired onesies (only 2…but enough to make it plural), we’d thrown around names (mostly ridiculously made up and silly…like Brijisha or Ellidgjit), I’d talked shop with other moms. And suddenly, I wasn’t…we weren’t. We weren’t pregnant, I wasn’t a mom, I hadn’t been through labor, delivery, the sleepless nights…When the dentist or pharmacist or anyone else asks if you are or could be pregnant…nope, not anymore.
As we shared and people became aware of the miscarriage, another community, another group emerged…the women and couples who had been through it before. And for that I was immensely grateful. As I wrote in my last post, these people were so compassionate and empathetic and reassuring. They understand the turmoil, the conflict, the emotions. I’d love to say being part of this group made it all better, but it didn’t. It’s like choosing teams in PE, a demeaning exercise I endured countless times in elementary school (and probably longer though I’ve blocked it out). The miscarriage group is the last kid picked…when you’re that kid, you try to shrug it off, act like it’s not a big deal. You’re glad there are other people, you feel their love and support, but you wouldn’t choose it, no one in their right mind would. Some days it’s not a big deal and it’s easy to think about the future and the possibilities of a happy healthy pregnancy. But there are other days, other reminders…the week 11 email about what size fruit your (now dead) baby is now, the stroller as you walk into the baby’s room, the tiny newborn in the airport in the carrier you wanted. You, at least for the time being, are out of the group.