2006 was a tough year by any measure. I’ve alluded to some things before, like how I ended up with a little counseling and a little lesson in communication in its wake. But haven’t really thought about it, or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that I haven’t really felt broken about it, in a while. Amazing really. If you had asked me this time last year, I would have said that I would never be able to think about that year without being overwhelmed by the grief of it.
I still can’t guarantee I won’t cry.
Let me start at the end. The end really was the worst.
I found out that I was pregnant on my birthday. Not long after that I saw her heartbeat. Her name was going to be Zoe. Of course it was going to be a little girl. A little girl named Zoe. I mean, it could have been a little boy named Henry, but really I didn’t believe that. I believed in a little girl named Zoe. I believed that she was the gift. The gift I was being given after a year of learning the intimate details of heartbreak. She was the balance.
And so, once upon a time there was a little red-headed girl named Zoe. Zoe, who would have to be doused in SPF 163, would have an attitude like her Nunna, and a sense of humor like her Ddaddy, even though she would never meet either of them. I believed in her until the morning I woke up bleeding. I believed even as I filled a package of super-max Always pads. I believed even as I watched the blood flow down my legs in the shower.
I had thought 2006 was a lesson in heartbreak. I was right about the lesson. I was just wrong when I thought, in early December, that the lesson was over.
What was funny, funny “weird” not funny “ha-ha,” is how many people I discovered had their own story of miscarriage. I was so tired after all of it that I just couldn’t lie. People would ask “How are you?” (I was obviously not well) and I would just matter-of-factly say “I just had a miscarriage. I’ve been better.” It opened a door. Men talked to me about their wives. Women talked to me about how miscarriages almost ended their marriages.
It was like a secret club with a decoder ring. The words were there all along but you needed to have the ring to tell you what they were saying. And what they were saying is that this loss is common, frighteningly common. Current statistics estimate that 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Certainly, much of what Fernanda Moore writes about in her article on Parenting.com rings true. It doesn’t make it “all better” that you aren’t alone, but knowing it, perhaps even believing it, can certainly help you drag yourself onward into life.