Many times since my miscarriage website began, women have asked me, “Why don’t you write a book?”
My answer has pretty much always been the same, “Good books are already out there.” Medical books. Psychology books. Collections of women’s stories. Tons of them.
I didn’t see any need to compete with these other books. I merely read them and list the best on my site. Then, as I listened to people on the forums and read emails from grieving women, I began to see what was missing–the whole story. Not just facts and figures, self-help and psychology, but everything else.
What these other books don’t tell us is how do you get through each day? How do you go to work and face clueless coworkers who ask tactless questions and ply you with empty platitudes? What happens when your sister announces her own pregnancy over Thanksgiving Dinner? How do you maneuver through love with a partner, a relationship that is deteriorating over your differing styles of grieving, or your lack of interest in sex?
There is so much more to the miscarriage story than just the loss, but the re-engaging with the rest of the world, living the rest of your life when a jagged piece is missing.
So I decided to leave nonfiction behind. Forget statistics, pages of causes and preventions, chapters of advice and handholding. That was too limiting–it didn’t get to the heart of these women and their situations.
So I’ve decided to write a novel instead. I want to dig into the lives of several women and throw them together in a pregnancy loss support group where they are introduced, then follow them home, back to work, in their kitchens and bedrooms and closets and showers. We can watch them like voyeurs, using everything I’ve learned in eight years of talking to women, listening to their stories, and going through it myself to show others not necessarily the best or worst way to get through it–but how people just do.
Let’s feel it. And learn. And teach everyone else what it feels like to be us.
It will be a long hard journey. Not just for me, writing it, but you, recognizing your situation in these fictional ones, their darkest moments dredging up yours. But come along with me, advise me, make suggestions. I have a few secrets that even I’ve kept. There are things I will reveal along the way. Lessons I’ve learned without a net, nothing to cushion the fall. Moments when I thought I had heard everything after running the site–seen every situation–could handle anything–then some story would set me back to the day when my own blood filled my hands in a bathroom, my own terror and fear and despair overwhelming every aspect of my life.
I’ll start by planning the characters, determining what situations merit inclusion, then we’ll form the story, breathe life into the scenes, and watch these other lives unfold, as realistically as possible, with every scrap of knowledge I have about miscarriage and how to survive it coming into play.
Bookmark the blog, leave comments if you like. Help me think of what needs to be in there. Tell me what happened to you. Or just check in from time to time. But let’s get started on a book that will make a difference.
17 thoughts on “Yes, I will!”
My livejournal has a few stories of my feelings on it…August 6th, 2004 was the day I found out. August 11 was my surgery. I thought I wouldn’t write, but I did. Anything in there you can use. A few thoughts on things important to me…that I struggled with. I kept replaying the time before and right after the d&e. I would relive getting the iv, the nurses talking and the doctor coming to visit. I wanted everything to be such and such a way…I wanted just my husband to be there, but my step mom came too. This made it sooo hard. I just wanted to talk to him and cry with him, and she was there. I remember the cold hallway, all the baby blue clothes of the staff. I remember trying to move myself to the table and they yelled, “no, we’ll do that for you.” I remember them putting on the netting because they hadn’t yet, putting on that heart monitor, then I remember nothing until I awoke wishing I could just sleep longer. The doctor talked to me a few moments, his face was so blurry to me. I then looked at the clock and realized I’d been in there longer than planned. I remember the feeling that I had waiting to wake up fully, the desire to just have everyone leave me there and let me alone. Then I felt elation for two days…mixed with despair. It was confusing to feel the elation. I think it was the medication or the hormones. It really did feel like when I had my babies and had that all over love feeling. Then came the crash. I lived in deperation in that crash for months, really. I prayed, read the bible, did a bible study, and it was a slow process.
Another important thing to me was my step mom’s reaction. She had the audacity to tell me while carrying my dead 16 week old baby that I needed to get back to teaching, have no more children, and just go on. She showed up to be at the surgery…to lend support, and gave my husband the same speech while I was under. I was dumbfounded when he told me she did that. When she said it to me I was at a fair, and I was silent. When I found out she said it to him, I was angry. I called her and told her how angry she made me, and read her a poem about being a mother. I was indignant. How could she say I shouldn’t have more kids? How could she judge my life? She just said she thougth staying at home and being a mom was not enough. I was wasting my life. All this in the time I was dealing with the death of my child. She also said I needed to get over the loss of my baby. I couldn’t do that. My relationship with her became more distant for months, until her niece lost her baby at about 20 weeks. They had a memorial service and took pictures in the room when the baby was born. My step mom never said she was sorry for hurting me, but she mentioned how sad she was for her niece. I think it was her way of saying sorry. Also, when I told her how sad I was about my baby, she told me about a baby she lost one Christmas season when I was 13. She just “got over it.” I was amazed. I had heard she had been pregnant, and was aware she lost the baby, but never really thought about how I had a little sister or brother. She said she hadn’t mourned, really…and just made Christmas dinner for 22 people a few days after her D&C. Well, I think she may now realize it was okay to grieve then, but no one allowed her to. Our relationship is better, and I think we understand each other better.
Thank you, Dawn for you story. I’m glad your stepmom came around, and I’m sorry she made those days so much more difficult for you. I think all of us had one or two people who were like that to us, and it will be a subject we talk about here on the blog down the road.
And everyone who comments–certainly leave your blogs or memorial sites or LifeJournal or MySpace links for all of us to go visit. I love to see the tributes to these beautiful babies–and also the other parts of who you are.
Thanks you! This will be an amazing book, I’m sure! I’m really lookingforwarding to following along! God bless you for all you do!
I just want to thank you, as many have along their journeys, for the wonderful resource and safe place you have created for all of us when we felt there was nowhere else we belonged.
It sounds like a wonderful book, and I appreciate being able to see it unfold. Best of luck on this new adventure.
I think that this novel will be an amazing comfort to so many women who have lost a child. I know that your website and the women that make up the bulletin board community have become my family in the time since I have lost my child. The resources you have provided bring hope in a time when each day of life is so difficult.
Deanna, I can’t wait to read this when you are done! I hope you find room to talk about 2 things, which I feel are often overlooked. First, how hard it is to experience infertility after miscarriage. As though having the miscarriage(s) weren’t enough, to then not be able to get pregnant again! And also, I hope you explore the phenomenon of losing a baby later than the first trimester. So many books seem to indicate that once you’re out of the first tri, you’re safe, and it simply isn’t so.
Deanna, thanks for all you do. Pregnancyloss.info is the very first site I look at in the morning and the very last one in the evening. It has become such an important part of my life.
Thank you Deanna..I can’t wait to read your book and this blog. Everything you write is so raw and so real.
Mom to five misscarried babies 6 weeks to 11 and a half weeks gestation.
This is my story up until I lost my seventh pregnancy. My eighth pregnancy was successful and resulted in the birth of my daughter.
Thanks for making us feel less alone..
Sorry that website is http://www.geocities.com/myheavenlyangels2000/
I think your book will a valuable tool that we all need. I know that coming here and reading others’ stories literally saved my sanity. When I felt like I had nowhere else to turn, I found this site. I’m sure a novel will do something that this website, as good as it is, cannot do–educate others about what it’s like to go through miscarriage. Many who wouldn’t come to this website and certainly wouldn’t just pick up a book on miscarriage, will read an interesting novel. Thanks again for the website and for the book idea.
I also think the infertility issue after miscarriage is of great importance. Along with some damage to a marriage, I think the damage to self-esteem may be an issue that should be explorede, especially when the drs can’t find anything “wrong” with you. I personally have struggled with feelings of inadequacy as a woman and as a wife because my body doesn’t seem to be able to do what it was built to do.
Wow, I’ve already learned so much between the comments here and the ones on the site forum. And Jackie–7 losses then success! That’s a story all to itself! What do you name a baby like that? Joy Hope Faith Grace! There aren’t enough emotion-names for it!
One dynamic that I am currently writing about (non fiction) is the dynamic between friends when both have miscarried and then one goes on to have a healthy pregnancy and child (or children) and the other does not. This might be a very rich relationship for your book. How do the other women in the group react with Betty Sue gets prgnt and does not miscarry this time? Do they invite her back? How do they feel when they see her, when they talk to her, what do they talk about when she is NOT there? How does SHE feel around them now? Can she be happy? Can they find a way to be happy for her as well?
My experience with in the last few years was that each time I miscarried (three times) another friend was pg also. I did already have one child at that time of my miscarriages so I was able to join in their joy of the birth when my pregnancies ended early. Conversely…I went on to have three more children and each time I was pg with them a friend miscarried. These have been very very difficult relationships for a myriad of reason, which I am exploring in my writing these days….when I get something up on my blog I’ll post. If you can draw some fictional characters from it you are most welcome to do so!
I look forward to reading your work!
Deanna, I am so pleased to hear that you will write a book and even more thrilled that it is to be in the genre in which you have chosen. Enough of the statistics and dry facts that we read over and over. Fiction allows us to look into the hearts of people and learn the facts through human experience. Stories allow us to heal and recognize that we are not alone in our loss. In the days prior to my D&C , nothing helped me more than reading other people’s stories on your site, especially when they contained information or facts that were so helpful to know along with the heartbreak.
After having had a missed miscarriage at 18 weeks, we then experienced almost three years of infertility. All the while, I kept up that brave face each time one of my group of 5 closest friends and my sister announced their pregnancies and went on to have beautfiful babies. It was like grieving that never ended. There could never be closure because I was still waiting for a child. “What if that was the only time I would be pregnant?” is all that went through my head. We finally went the IVF route (after a few failed attempts with Clomid and IUIs), and I am now 22 weeks pregnant with twins. Despite the stats that show the chance of loss are low at this point, not a day goes by that don’t think of that fateful moment three years ago when the doctor couldn’t find that heartbeat. Now, because I am so guarded I feel somewhat cheated out of some of the excitement of this pregnancy, and at the same time, guilty because I should feel lucky to be pregnant after our first round of IVF when so many others are not.
I’ve kept a blog (Conception Chronicles) since we started down the path of IVF–mostly to help me document my experiences. The majority of the blog describes my thoughts about infertility and the IVF process, but the Prologue provides the background story of our loss. While I’m not particularly proud of the writing on the blog, please feel free to use anything from it if it would help you to develop any of your characters or story.
I am so looking forward to hearing about your process of your writing and, of course, reading the finished work. Best of luck!
I think this is a fantastic idea. I admire you for taking on suck a task. You share my philosophy: let’s feel it. I’ll be checking in with you soon.
Hi Deanna! It might be interesting to explore both women who have never had children and those that do. I know different fears are concominant with both situations.
Also, recently my Mother-in-law has really hurt my feelings. All 5 years that I have been married to my husband our holidays always revolve around her OTHER son. The one that has kids. This year I am fed up. I am not going to bend over backwards to see her every year just because she chooses to always do what THEY want, rather than making an effort to see us. It’s upsetting to me. And I feel guilty. I feel like it’s my fault. I feel like my husband’s own mother won’t make an effort to see him on the holidays and always chooses to spend them with her other son…why? Because I can’t seem to carry a baby to term. My mother-in-law had a long talk about it last night and I told her how I feel. Just thought I’d share that. I’m sure I’m not the only wife who has these fears and notices the favoritism among siblings due to her “inability” to produce a grandchild. Even if it is just a perceived guilt…it is something I’m sure many women feel but never talk about.
Junebuggy–that’s a very good point about siblings, some with kids, some without. Oh, I have to start taking notes big time. SO many important ideas.
I’m going to have to write six novels!
Thank you so much Deanna for your wonderful network of support. I have had three miscarriages this year (all with in 5 months of each other!)
1st missed m/c @ 10 weeks …natural
2nd chem pg @ 4&1/2 weeks …natural
3rd missed m/c @ 11w4d …d & c
I have heard the range of comments from friends : “Count yourself lucky that you don’t have to coordinate babysitters, lug all this baby stuff around, and you get a full night of sleep”… “It’s not your time, maybe you need to stop trying, but, oh, by the way, so and so’s is pregnant.”
In the midst of my grief, I dealt with an insenstitive doctor who did not believe that I knew my own body. I went back to him a few times with concerns that things did not feel right, my body still felt pregnant. In each situation, my body had retained tissue (but with out giving me a fever, thus giving me no credibility).
With my first miscarriage, I passed the fetus at 10 weeks and had a full exam and was given the all is clear, you will feel better in a few days. The whole next week I was feeling ashamed at my ability to recover and get back to work. I would try to work only to have the contractions start all over again and start nearly hemorrhaging all while trying to maintain my dignity and a smile till I could get home again. I could n’t even begin to deal emotionally with the pain because I was still in the throughs of the physical pain.
Nine days later I passed the placenta. I thought a part of my uterus came out ans I was scared to death. It was nearly the size of a potato and was rock hard. I was furious for all the shame and degredation I had been feeling for the past week+ because I had a doctor who would not take my concerns that things were not all clear seriously. A simple ultra sound could have prevented all of that craziness.
Your boards have been my lifeline for dealing with my miscarriages. Dealing first with my loss of a child, then my loss of children. This was a place where I wasn’t having a pity party, but that I was grieving and that all of those lovely women out there were hugging me and grieving all of our losses together.
Thank you so much!!!!!
I think that your book is a wonderful idea and I wish you the best with it. I am 26 years old and have been pregnant 4 times. The first time I was in college and had an abortion. The other three pregnancies all ended in miscarriage. The second time I didn’t even know I was pregnant and showed up at the ER with severe pain that turned out to be a suspected ectopic pregnancy. (Whatever that means…) The third pregnancy turned out to be a blighted ovum and I had a D&E at 12 weeks. A couple of months after we were pregnant with identical twins, I was so happy. I thought I was finally going to get my baby times 2! However, at my 16 week appointment we discovered one of our girls had no heart beat and the other had cystic hygroma. I was devastated because the doctor gave no encouragement that she could live and gave me the option of terminating. However, on the repeat ultrasound the following day my second girl was gone too. They induced delivery that morning so that the babies could be autopsied and genetic testing on me as well as them is underway. I am so afraid, confused and heart broken. Why can I so easily get pregnant, even with twins and never bring a baby home? I think that have a lot of guilt over the abortion that rears its ugly head every time I lose a pregnancy. I don’t even know why I am sharing this, but it feels good to let it out. So many people just don’t get it.
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