This post deals with pregnancy loss and might be triggering for some readers.
Sixteen weeks into her second pregnancy, psychologist Jessica Zucker miscarried at home, alone. This is an edited extract of her book, I Had a Miscarriage: A Memoir, a Movement.
I braved it. A world that had spinned madly on as I endured the worst trauma of my life.
A world that had simply maneuvered around me that fateful day on the side-walk, when I clutched the plastic bag holding the remains of my daughter and squeezed the blood-soaked towels between my thighs.
A world that doesn’t much like talking about miscarriage, let alone a baby dying and falling out of your body in your home.
Watch: A tribute to the babies we've lost. Post continues below.
I didn’t feel like I belonged to this world. I didn’t believe this world wanted to belong to me.
My forlorn body - on display as I ventured into requisite pleasantries at preschool pickup - slumped as I said my hellos.
Still bleeding and required to wear a clunky pad, I felt like a teenager again - a gawky stranger in my own skin, confused by a body I didn’t fully understand.
Excruciating reminders of what was and then what wasn’t, and also, what definitely shouldn’t be: belly hollowing, hormones blazing, blood continuing.
Smiling fellow-mum acquaintances uttered niceties - the usual hellos and how are yous - as, unbeknown to them, the aftereffects of my loss ravaged my should-be pregnant body.
In more ways than one, I was still stuck on that sidewalk, shouting the details of my loss to my sister over the phone as people simply carried on around me. This time, it was my body shouting. In pain. In anguish. In anger.
Soon, my voice would follow.
As I not-so-gingerly shared my story with other friends, family, and random people who remembered I was pregnant, I increasingly became more stunned by the reactions - the actions and inactions of people around me.
All I yearned for were authentic yet simple pleasantries. Even just a plain “How are you feeling?” would suffice. Four words. Nothing more.
Instead, I heard variations on “You’re so strong, you’ll be fine. You’ll get through this.”