Monday, October 14, 2013

On (My) Loss: Why the "pain olympics" are insane- and harmful

It is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month here in the USA.

I've decided against any of the memorial, month-long challenges for the sake of my dwindling sanity, but I can't let it pass saying nothing. What I'm saying though, might not conform.

I'll start this way: I was reading an online message board and there was a poll "Which is worse, to lose your spouse or your child". This question blew my mind. First, it is totally wrong-thinking. You can't compare losing your spouse to losing your child. They are totally different. It's like asking: "would you rather be stranded in outer space or lose your limbs". They aren't comparable in any real way. Apples and Boats. A child is a part of you, figuratively and literally, your spouse is (ideally) your best friend, lover, co-parent and partner. What "lose your child " referred to in this question was first trimester pregnancy loss. I was blown away by the results:

* I am fortunate enough to  have had my hub return home safely from a war zone. Before getting him back, I contemplated really losing him. I don't know what it would be like, but I have had to plan his funeral.

The results were (to me) stunning:

Which would be worse
Loss of a husband
Lose of a child
Both as devastating
Total Votes: 220

Hub and I had a series of very serious conversations at the start of our TTC journey, one of which was "If it is a save mom or save the baby" situation in the birth room, what are we going to do. The answer was save me.

It was a hard decision to come to, but at the end of the day, my hub said he couldn't go on without me, raising a baby that took my place in the world. It would have been a Pyrrhic victory on my part- have a child I can never live in the same world as. We can always try again, we thought.

As it turns out, it was never that easy. We had our own bout of wrong thinking. I miss my baby. I still miss Blue Sunday. Take Two is not Blue Sunday, and never will be. You can't just "try again". That said.... trading my spouse of (then) five years, my best friend and partner of 12 for my unborn's an impossible choice.

Luckily, usually you don't get to choose, not in any real way. This person or that one? This disease or that accident? Fast or slow? Sooner or later? Early miscarriage, late miscarriage or infant loss? Sure, we "chose" to let Blue Sunday go, but only because that was inevitable. If I could have bestowed on my child good health, no matter the material cost, it would have been done.

Even choosing to let Blue Sunday go, it hurt. Horribly. If (please no) something were to happen where hub would really need to chose between Take Two and me at the end of pregnancy, I don't know what he'd chose. I don't know if his decision would change after we get to know the baby for days, weeks or years.

It would been horrible for him either way.

This was all to come to what I wanted to say: I always felt out of step with the loss community. I lost my Blue Sunday, that is unquestionably true. However, I had the ability to control the situation an iota. Some don't think TFMR moms "count".

In some small way I had a choice, a choice to lose my child, and I chose to let Blue Sunday go.
It was terrible none-the-less.

I was in a situation where some women would chose to give the life of the person they married and started a family with rather than live through.

I am still a loss mom.

I belong.

Miscarriage is a horrible, awful experience. I mourned my own miscarriage, though the pregnancy was woefully timed. I experienced a TFMR and mourned that as well. I don't think it is a worthy exercise to play which is worse. I think there are levels of bad in this situation, but it doesn't really matter what I think. Everyone who is hurting deserves to feel that hurt is acknowledged and valid. If you lost a pregnancy at 3weeks and 5days there is no reason you don't belong as much as I do, or a full term still birth mom does. Life doesn't often let us choose how, who and when we lose/ experience loss- for those of us who have been in that situation, it is heartbreaking none-the-less.

Please remember those who terminated for what they deemed as necessity on these loss days. It is heartbreaking for us, too. No one benefits when we compare loss and keep score of what is worse. It all sucks.


  1. I love you <3 You're easily one of the strongest women I know. You're in my thoughts.

  2. I have thankfully not encountered the sentiment that my loss was not that bad because I "chose" to terminate. But I do believe that some people around me thought it was for the better anyway because of the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy (mostly an accidental pregnancy only two months into a mostly doomed relationship). So I ended up wondering if I deserved to be in the pain that I was in after the loss. As if deserving of the pain could be a good thing...but it seemed like other people thought maybe I would see that Blue's dying was "a blessing in disguise." But it wasn't then and it never will be. I cried today thinking about saying goodbye to him, that time between knowing what was going to happen and having to wait for it to happen. Which is something "other" loss moms don't experience. And you're right--why is one way "better" than the other? It must be human nature to rank and file things. My ex and I thought about "better" and "worse" too for a very short time before realizing that neither way gives you back your baby.

    What I worry about now is that Mr. E and Sprout will die together while I am at work, or that I will die and Sprout will have no mom growing up. I'm not sure which scenario is worse. ;)

    Thinking of you all. xo