I was only seventeen, and terrified when I looked at that test and it had two clear lines in the little window. I was only seventeen, and he wasn’t much younger, but he was as terrified as I. It took us three months to come to terms with the massive change that was about to impact our lives. We waited the twelve weeks before we started buying all the things on the massive list we’d made. We knew it wasn’t always safe until then. I sat at home looking at the piles of tiny new things that you would never wear.
My first scan was the next day, the first time I was going to see what was already happening inside my body. I packed your things away gently, I was excited. I’d had pains all day, growing pains, the nurse on the phone said. I got in the shower, I had a whole pre-scan ritual planned. I was still sick, but it didn’t seem to matter so much on that particular evening.
I washed my hair and looked down at my feet, and there it was. The tiniest speck of blood. I told myself spotting was normal for a lot of women but behind my self-soothing there was a screaming panic and I knew, I knew from the first spot that you were gone.
I went to the hospital, they put jelly on my belly and looked for you. They came across a dark patch and stopped, peering. I stopped too, breathing, and asked with no small amount of urgency, “is that a baby?”
The doctor paused a second, and looked at me before saying “that’s where it used to be.”
The world crashed down around me. I knew it. I knew it.
Nine years later, I know as I knew then that I, at 17, was in no condition to have a baby, to provide for it and raise it. But after all the time it took to get used to the idea I still couldn’t help feeling heartbroken, robbed. Set up to be knocked down.
Nine years later I still think about you, when I look at your brother and wonder what you might have looked like if you’d made it. Almost four months isn’t a lot, you were barely ever a baby at all. It’s funny how your mind works. I loved you then, and I love you still.
October is infant loss awareness month apprently, I suppose that’s why I’m writing this. I don’t really think about you every day like I used to. I know everything happens for a reason, and it’s ok, really it is. But sometimes, when I’m being real honest with myself, I miss what you could have been.
I am privileged to know many strong women in my life, and am overwhelmed by how much loss and suffering they have been through. I’m not sure what level of awareness this sort of thing raises, I don’t know how much good those memes letting you know it’s October again do. But I do know that there is comfort in a pain shared.
With as many as 75% of conceptions ending in miscarriage, and the probability of miscarriage higher in young mothers, you can really never know who around you is carrying something like this with them. When you post those fake pregnancy pranks in April, when you post those things about “expecting soon” when you’re talking about Santa and it’s all a big laugh, please remember those people for whom this hits hardest. Because the reality is you know a lot more of these women than you think.