(Just popping on to let you know that submissions for As Told By You are now OPEN. We have a spaces open for the rest of April and May. We cannot wait to read your posts!)
How do you grieve for someone you never saw, touched or hugged? The answer is: Profoundly and intensely. For me, it happened years ago, but it feels like yesterday.
Faded paint in a sickly shade of green covered the walls of the hospital corridors. The heat and humidity had seeped into the old building and my sandals stuck to the worn linoleum floor. Patients with anxiety etched on their faces sat in orange plastic chairs lined up against the wall, waiting for their names to be called. Harried nurses rushed past them in their blue scrubs and rubber-soled shoes.
In my doctor’s office, I explained that we were trying to get pregnant. I was two weeks late when I started to bleed, and ten days later, I was still bleeding. “If I’m pregnant, a few days of rest will fix everything, won’t it?” I asked. “We’ll see,” he answered noncommittally. He asked a nurse to take a blood sample and said he would call me with results.
An ectopic pregnancy, the doctor told me, when he called to schedule my surgery. The baby (I didn’t like to think of him or her as a fetus) had settled in my Fallopian tube instead of my womb. So I lost them both. What remained was a scar on my belly that I thought was there to remind me of what a spectacular disappointment I was as a woman. And that poor little baby. Barely seven weeks old inside of me and already I had steered him or her in the wrong direction. What kind of mother does that?
I was off work for six weeks and every day I sat on our cheerful, bright blue and yellow patterned couch and cried. I counted forward to what would have been my baby’s birthday. I wondered if we would have had a boy or a girl. I slid a cushion under my sweater and made comforting, little circles around it with my hand, like pregnant women do. I knew it was crazy, but I did it anyways. There was a gaping hole in my heart instead of a baby in my womb, and there was no cure for that.
At the time, people said “time heals all wounds.” That’s not quite true, though. Time takes the edge off the pain, but never erases it completely. The memory never goes away either. I should know because the memory of that first, never-to-be-born child is with me still.
Thank you so much to Linda for her vulnerability and candour. This post, I am sure everyone will agree, is simply a stunning depiction of grief. I think gently, and with purpose, Linda depicts her emotions beautifully. It is with a heavy heart that I say this was a wonderful read. Sending a big hug to you Linda.
Submissions for As Told By You are now OPEN. We have a spaces open for the rest of April and May. We cannot wait to read your posts. As always, you can comment below, DM us on our socials, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a beautiful, restful day, my friends.
Photo by Evee