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The Invitation

by Cheryl Sena

Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1999

I knew the shower invitation would be in the mail any day now. My friend is due in October. We celebrated our pregnancies in March and looked forward to having babies within 4 weeks of each other. She was due in the first week of October, I was due the first week of November. How exciting; I'd be able to share my pregnancy experiences with a fellow pregnant friend!

I began spotting at the end of March but an ultrasound revealed a heartbeat and everything went well for another month. On April 7, we went for an ultrasound and saw the fetal stem but no heartbeat. The doctor said that everything was fine when I was bewildered about returning in 2 weeks for another ultra sound. "Don't worry, everything is fine." I began spotting again on April 18 and immediately called the doctor who said it might be cyclical. The next day it was bright read and she said "It's not as if we didn't expect this." I had a D&C the next night after an ultrasound revealed an empty sac.

I avoid my friend but can see her progress in my mind's eye. It haunts me and keeps me up at night. I wish it didn't but it does. Why me and not her? I had already decided not to go to the shower -- too painful and why would she want me there, it's supposed to be a joyful occasion.

So why am I so upset I was sent an invitation? Could it be that the other "friend," a woman who has a Ph.D. in psychology, sent me an invitation that read -- "the laughter of a child fills a home." No phone call to say, we know you are grieving and we want to extend an invitation -- no just a cold inappropriate mass produced invite that stopped me in my tracks, thinking about the laughter that I would never hear. Thinking about my little angel.

Here I am, 2:00 am, five days later and unable to sleep because of someone's carelessness. I want to finish this grieving process in order to make room in my life for another pregnancy. But I don't want to just get pregnant to forget or to replace or to move on. My therapist says that grief is good; I am facing my grief not just ignoring it or "getting on with my life." Dealing with the pain has been exhausting. I know I will be a much healthier person for doing this work. I'm just a bit tired of it all.

And, dealing would be a whole lot easier if people were more sensitive to how devastating a miscarriage is. You try to talk about it and people get silent or quickly change the subject. Those who do say something often cause more pain with their "God's Will," "You're young," or "At least it wasn't later" crap. I've learned that the best thing to say is "how awful, I can't imagine what you're going through." Pain is relevant to the person experiencing it. You can't measure it -- it is, at times, all consuming. But, without it, we would not know joy or happiness.

So, there I am, at am, four months later, still trying to make sense of what happened.

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