There she was: slightly ahead of me, a tall, slender woman, about 35, ambling towards the book fair cashiers. Her turquoise t-shirt hugged the bump of a 4-month pregnancy. She was radiant, and almost everything that I am not. I am tall. I am slender. I am 35. I like book fairs and turquoise t-shirts too. Had things turned out differently, perhaps I would have gone up to her and asked her where she would be getting her tall maternity clothes from, because I’m 16 weeks today, how about you? Taking a deep breath, I took my place behind her in the checkout line, the stack of books in my arms suddenly outweighed by the dark cloud that descended over me. I studied her bump as we waited. It was firm, round, and pulsing with life. Mine is definitely none of those things. I must be the only woman in the world bemoaning a perfectly flat and fairly toned stomach, I half-joked to myself. My would-be doppelganger approached the table, and the cashiers cooed over her belly, and waved her goodbye, laughing. Up next, I gave my brightest hello, but the cashiers were indifferent to me, exchanging no pleasantries as they totted up how much I owed. Everyone loves a pregnant woman. No one wants to know about a miscarriage. No one gives a shit about a silently grieving woman who is wondering where the hell her post-miscarriage period is.
Today was supposed to be a better day. I’ve been having them more recently. In fact, I am having so many more better days that I have been working hard at catching up on a month’s worth of homework. (I was pleased when one of my teachers told me that it said a lot about me that I have been determined and able to catch up as much as I have.) I have a few good days in a row, followed by okay days, punctuated by the odd hour or two of sadness. When I visualise what this looks like, I see my hands in front of me, scratched and dirty, clawing their way up a rocky hillside tunnel. I long to look up to see how far the climb is but there’s no light yet, so I concentrate on one hand at a time, scrabbling their way in the earth. This way, I make steady progress. Sometimes I take a break and see how far I’ve come, but I don’t look down for long. I slide backwards in the gravelly tunnel which makes me panic that I’ll never get out.
And, seriously, when will my cycle return? It’s been over 5 weeks since my D&C and my uterus is quiet, lifeless, still. I don’t even feel like my body is gearing up for a period, but if nothing happens in the next week then I have to go back to the doctor. I’m trying to stay calm (to help the process along) but I am feeling angry. I couldn’t stay pregnant, couldn’t miscarry properly, and now my cycle stubbornly refuses to return. I feel a mixture of betrayal and failure. It’s an ugly combination.
Just as ugly are the words I never thought I’d say: I had a miscarriage.
It all seems so unreal. Was I actually pregnant? Did I really have a miscarriage? Why do I feel like I’ve been split down the middle? Why is it so hard to be around pregnant women? Why does this all seem so unfair? Why does everything seem so hopeless?
Yes, I had a miscarriage, and I am angry one minute, sad the next, and always thoughtful.