Grace, and why I don’t have it

Aug 24, 2006

#Getting to know me#Pregnancy#TTC

If you knew me in person, you’d never utter the words “graceful” when describing me. In fact, I can think of several antonyms that come to mind (klutz, uncoordinated, “trip much?”) This doesn’t just apply to my physical attributes. I’ve mentioned it before, but while I like to think I’m tough shit, I am so not tough shit. I’m more of an “all feisty and tough when the going is good and one pile o’ weepy hormones when it’s not” kind of a gal. You don’t see many made for tv movies based on that heroine.

So, when it comes to the pregnancy purgatory I’m in, it’s not a surprise that some days I feel that my body can do anything! I can grow even the most damn stubborn baby! Thy lining will thicken and the child will implant and thy hormones, they will explode into the thousands and I will be the bitchy, pukey, crazy pregnant lady we all will come to know and love. But on other days, or those minutes when the house is quiet and I have a few minutes to think, I’ll mentally curl up and drive myself batty thinking of the what-ifs. “What if it IS ectopic. What if I DO bust an ovary? What if I never bleed? What if I have a missed abortion? What the hell kind of name is MISSED ABORTION? What bastard came up with that? Must’ve been a man. Only a man OB would send me home to grow a dead baby for a week and torture myself with the hope beyond hope…” and on and on the mind-fucking goes.*

I struggled with what to post because, somewhere, people thought I was brave and ok, and handling this with grace. I am so glad I can pull the wool over your eyes so well. Grace? Not-so-much. Honesty? Too much. Humor? As a coping mechanism.

See, the highlight of my weekend away was the abundance of water and time outdoors to breathe fresh air and watch the sun dip behind the silhouette of the Olympic mountains. But the low point of the weekend was walking in to the wrong building at the doctor office (where I had even *more* blood drawn) and finding a birth class on break with ten to twelve very pregnant women walking around with their partners and me waiting for my uterus to give up what I already know: there is no baby there anymore.

I bawled as we stepped out the door and couldn’t explain why. I’m not unhappy for those women. I’m not jealous that they are a month (at most) away from not sleeping, postpartum hormones and major life changes they will question in the bathroom on the floor at 2am. I’m not even jealous of the wonderful person they get to fall in love with and watch learn how to hold his/her neck and learn to focus on objects further than his/her nose. I’m not, in any way, dreading the birth of a baby of two good friends of mine. I’m looking forward to being there, days later, when one of my best friends brings her new son home and I can’t wait to see JB grow into her roll as big sister. I have no problem aching to hold him and knowing it is not my turn right now. I am ok with that.


I think, as I sat by the water staring into the rocks submitting to the water’s ebb, I figured out that I am not as sad for the loss of this child as I am the loss of the pregnancy. I’m not interested in debates on “when life begins” because life started the day I took an ovulation test, called up Mr. Flinger and told him to get his ass (and sperm making pieces especially) home. Life started the day I told people I was pregnant, with so much glee, even more than last time, because we wanted it now. We had a plan and OHMYGOD we are just so fertile it actually worked! That, for me, is when this all happened. So what, if I’m not sad for the loss of this child, is it that I was crying for? If I am being honest, I think I am jealous that the anxiety/fear/unknown portion of pregnancy is almost over for these women. I told Mr. Flinger, “I only need ONE MORE PREGNANCY. Just one. That’s it. ONE.” I was not a calm pregnant lady last time and I attribute some of this to hormones but also, my real deep seated inability to be in control of the situation and my lack of willingness to just “accept” that someone else might have another plan for me. I have a belief that I know what?s best. I like to keep it that way. And what?’ best right now is for me to get just ONE MORE pregnancy over.

If you ask me. Which nobody did.

I want a complete family. I want to take my two children to the park and watch them play together, or even fight together, and learn to live in the same car together with all those stupid “I"m not touching you!” games and I?ll yell over the backseat, “LB! Stop torturing your brother!” and Mr. Flinger and I will smile slyly at each other because we are complete now.

I want that so much that I actually did burst in to tears at the puddle park on Friday when I saw the cutest little family with a three year old and a 6 month old and they played together and the baby drooled on her mom’s arm and the dad took the older one to play at the fountain. I want it so much that I cried, again, in the grocery store as a very ragged mom with two boys, exactly 2 years and 5 days apart, she said, but who’s counting?, tried to keep her two year old from stealing cookies and the baby cried to be held. I want it so much, that I’ll be willing to do this all over again. The fear, the anxiety, the nausea of the first trimester.

What I’ve learned is that I know what to say now, or rather, I know what not to say. I know not to tell someone to “calm down” and that “it’s because you’re stressed out that you miscarried.” Not only will that sentence cause an already vulnerable person to burst in to tears but it heaps on a multitude of guilt she already is thinking on her own. “It’s my fault! My body sucks! My body hates me! I did something to deserve this!” and simply saying it’s because she was stressed adds the “shit! I need to not stress out! How the hell do I ...” and the circle goes until she self combusts.

I will not want to remember this baby. I don’t think that makes me insensitive. I think it is how I am coping with a tragic, and unfortunate situation. I do not feel the need to personalize him in to someone I will miss years down the road. Instead, I want to fix it. I want to understand. I want answers. And I want to get pregnant again, I want to obsess all the hell much I want because I have a right to do that, and I want to feel the baby moving inside me and the hormones wrecking total havoc on my mental health until I cry because I?m in love with someone I haven’t met in the real world yet, but that I know more than any other human, aside from my daughter, and who only knows me.

I want that. And that is what I want to hear.

So, I know it’s silly, and it’s not really being brave, and it is not, by any stretch of definition, being “graceful” but I want to hope for just a few more days. I want to keep the dream alive until it’s not alive anymore. I want to not think about the “dead baby” in my uterus, but rather the child that for the rest of his entire life, I can torture with “you were SUCH a pain in the ass even before you were a full month in utero!” because that?s going to cause a lot of bills in therapy that I think would be so worth it just to have him here.

And if he’s not here, and if it’s not my turn, I’ll be ok. I can promise you this, I won’t be graceful about it. But I will be ok.

*Thanks to Nicole of Sitting Still for the reminder to stop mind-fucking myself. Best. Advice. Ever.
** Thanks to Dee and Jenny for the wonderful compliments.


  1. For a year I went back and forth wrestling with myself about what I was doing. In that time, I had 3 miscarriages and was not being graceful about a damn thing. I know I spent much of that time beating myself up. I think it’s a natural inclination. And no matter how many times someone tells you not to, you do it anyway.
    Still, it’s not your fault.
    It sucks, it hurts, it stays. Maybe not at the forefront, but I think it’s always there. Remembered when someone else mentions that it happened to them.
    Whatever the outcome, whatever the future, you aren’t alone.
    I’m sorry.

    By Mrs X on 2006 08 24

  2. Grace is completely overrated.  I like raw, real, maybe a little nutso.  Thus, why you and I get along so well.  (And also, why I hate the South some days.)

    By Sitting Still on 2006 08 25

  3. Ditto for me. I’ll take brutal honesty over grace ant time. Thank you for being so honest and expressing many feelings that most find hard to admit. I know exactly what you mean about hoping until there is no chance of hope yet. I do that too.
    Here’s to you, and a successful pregnancy, either now or sometime in the future.
    Thinking about you.

    By Renee on 2006 08 25

  4. It isn’t silly. No one said you had to be brave or graceful. Just be whatever it takes to get you up in the morning and kiss your husband and your child and remember that you are a lucky and very loved woman.

    By Shelly on 2006 08 25

  5. I really think you are coping well. Everybody is different in the way to deal with grief.

    There is a plan for you and it will reveal itself when the time is right.

    In my heart of hearts you will have a complete family. Maybe oneday you will think back on this and believe that you are stronger because of this. You will also be a great comfort to those who go through the same thing.

    I am here if you want to talk,anytime as long as you need.

    By Amanda on 2006 08 25

  6. You’re fantastic and this post was awesome.  Well said.  And a pat on the back to the people who are giving you advice you are taking to heart.  It never hurts to have some feedback to validate that you’re not completely crazy or if you are, it’s OK!
    I’m definitely in your fan club.  You rock.

    By Sonia on 2006 08 25

  7. You know “grace” is something people always say about one who has died.  Like “Oh, Aunt Gertrude died with such grace…”  I think that’s because it takes a fucking LIFETIME to achieve it in any real sense.  Grace is something that is unattainable at the time you really need it.  When you look back on all of this, you will see a glimpse of it there in your honesty, your heartache and your unerring need to give this baby love (whether or not it survives).

    You and I are so alike; it’s weird!  Not just because I’m a total KLUTZ too, but in the way we think.  Just days after I miscarried I was at work (dental assistant) and this girl came in for a procedure.  She was 4 months pregnant and was STILL battling horrible morning sickness.  The doctor asked ME to assist, and I must say it was really hard.  I was trying to be compassionate and caring and helping her, but I just kept thinking how much I wished I was the one feeling so pukey.  After we were finished I went in the bathroom and cried a little for myself and the unknown critter I had lost.

    Your humor and your gutsy honesty are so REAL and so much an authentic part of yourself.  You amaze me with your strength and your willingness to be vulnerable and let others (us) try to help you cope.  Cling to hope for a little while more honey - let yourself grieve however it feels right.  The time will come when you are ready to face whatever is in store for you, and you will get that sense of peace you so much deserve.

    By Katie Kat on 2006 08 25

  8. If your coping mechanism is to write such poignant and articulate blogs, then you are coping very well, in my opinion. You made me all weepy.

    Honestly, I think there is a lot more grace in being raw and real than there is in being glossy and prissy and “this too shall pass” about it.

    Grace is horribly messy, but it always triumphs in the end.

    By Laura on 2006 08 25

  9. In my humble opinion, now is not the time to worry about grace or lack of it.  For one thing, exhibiting grace seems to be something you do for others, something you do so that the people around you aren’t at a loss for what to say, something that makes everyone else feel better and that isn’t needed on a blog.  When it comes down to it, you haven’t subjected any of us to your presence.  You aren’t sitting next to us at church.  You aren’t at a dinner party.  We chose to be here.  We chose to listen.  We chose to click the link.  In exchange, you get to let it all hang out. 

    In terms of grace in public settings, do you really think that all those public figures that handle things so gracefully don’t have years of training and practice to back them up, legions of people to cushion them, quiet breakdowns when they get home?  I expect that when you cried at the park, it was not done in a manner to draw attention to yourself even if some people did notice.  You probably didn’t do anything to let that family know that they were the source of your pain nor did you intentionally make anyone uncomfortable.

    Right now, your only real obligation is to breathe, everything else is icing.  Lean on your husband, family, and friends, they can all take it and they will someday lean on you.

    By Becky on 2006 08 25

  10. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

    By Amy_M on 2006 08 25

  11. I think the crying is all part of it.  I was in tears for months.  Just keep doing what you’re doing to survive.

    Fwiw, I got *mad* when someone told me that our miscarriage was “my” fault.  I yelled at my dad in a crowded restaurant one time after he tried to tell me that I killed the baby.  It was very therapeudic, he was properly embarrassed and our neighboring tables all gave him the evil eye for the rest of dinner.  Definitely made me feel better.

    By lanna on 2006 08 25

  12. I have only been on the other side of what you are feeling. We had Ry - the only girl on G’s side - and found out that his cousin was pregnant with a girl. She ended up passing away in March after just a few days. How can I bring Ry around her? She wanted us so badly to bring Ry to S’s memorial, and we did. Then to find out her sister baby was on the verge of not making it (23wks along) made me feel more like shit.

    Here was G & I with 3 happy cute kids while the only 2 cousins on his side fought so hard and long to have kids. Needless to say our relationship with his cousins have been rocky the last few years. Finally though they both have 1 healthy child each! Love ya hun and all we can offer are hugs!!!

    By Nicole on 2006 08 25

  13. Your post hits home, especially the wanting to be a complete family. I *luckily* have not had to be where you are, however, when we started our adoption process we were told it would be a little over a year until we had our baby girl in our hands. Now? It might be 2….or 3. It’s so hard to want something so strongly, but have no control over what happens. It’s what life is.
    My best friend in high school lost her Mom way too young. When my BF talked about her mom and her loss, she said her mom always told her something that I have kept in my mind forever. It gets me through the rough days, weeks and months….

    “When life deals you a crappy hand, shuffle the cards and play again”

    I think you can do it Les, I’ll be there with you.smile

    By speechjane on 2006 08 25

  14. Bitch… you made me cry.  Again!

    I love you dude!


    By tjsmommy on 2006 08 25

  15. I don’t think you give yourself enough credit.  I know for a fact you are handling this much better than I ever could.  The fact that you are handling it at all is an accomplishment you should be proud of.  You are strong, because you’re willing to start again.  smile

    By Ficklechick on 2006 08 25

  16. Grace?


    Highly overrated.

    I realize you don’t know me from a ham sandwich, but if you ever wanna talk (in person or phone!) e-mail me. God knows I have plenty o’ free time.

    By Kate on 2006 08 25

  17. No matter what you say, I still think you are brave. Brave for having hope, brave for sharing your story with us, and brave for admitting to all of your feelings (even the hard-to-fess-up-to ones).

    I think your post sums up what many TTC women feel, whether TTC for the first time or after a loss. There’s just something about that 2-child family that feels so incredibly natural and right. You deserve that just as much as anyone.

    By Sara on 2006 08 25

  18. Oh honey, I’m so sorry.  This just broke my heart for you..

    Personally - I think if denial is what helps get you through it - do it.  I’ve never been one to dwell too much.

    I just freak the fuck out and then I’m done.  I wish I could help you, but I know I can’t.. just know I’m thinking about you.

    By holli on 2006 08 25

  19. I actually had to come back to this because this post was so dead on for me that I cried like a baby. I’m currently in my second month of fertility treatments after 8 months of trying on our own. We conceived our first in the second try. Now I’ve just turned 35, I’m taking drugs that make me psycho, getting a needle in my arm every morning and one in my stomach tomorrow night and all I know is what I want. I want to complete my family. You said it way better than I ever could. And I truly *feel* those things too.

    My heart aches for you and your honesty strengthens me. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

    By Susie on 2006 08 25

  20. GRACE:

    1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action. 
    2. a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment. 
    9. moral strength: the grace to perform a duty.

    I left out the rest of the definitions.  Look at #9.  MORAL STRENGTH. 

    You are grace personified.  You will survive with all the grace that God has given you.  I don’t have the words to tell you how sorry I am so I won’t.  I will just be here, along with everyone else to listen.  Use our shoulders, our hands, our hearts to lean on.  And all manner of things will be well.

    By CPA MOM on 2006 08 25