Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. As I remember, I also consider the various terms that have been used to refer to my losses.
We all know that childhood saying of "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me". I never quite got that quote. I think it's something that we try to tell ourselves as children. As the only girl, I grew up tough, so I wasn't afraid of the stick and stones. But as I grew up, I realized more and more that words have the power to make a person crumble.
Words--especially those associated with loss--do hurt me. When I checked out of the hospital after my D&C, the words "Spontaneous Abortion" were typed across the top of my forms. Let me disect that term a bit. There are so many negative connotations associated with "abortion". At the same time, it's also often associated with "choice". Then there is "spontaneous"--that's supposed to describe fun spur-of-the-moment events, like when I pierced the cartilage in my ear during my freshman year of college. I can attest to the fact that there's nothing fun or spur-of-the-moment about loss or the subsequent D&C, nor was there any choice in the matter.
Then there is "Chemical Pregnancy". This term hurts as well--when the doctor mentioned it, I almost felt like he was saying that it wasn't a real pregnancy. I think that the word "just" was used in there as well--as in, "it's just a Chemical Pregnancy". But in my mind and my heart, it's still a pregnancy! The test was positive, and I knew it in my heart. Even if it was "just a Chemical Pregnancy" to him, it was still another loss for me.
So then the "accepted" term of "Miscarriage"--but I admit that I hate this word as well. How many other words start with the mis- prefix? Mistake? Misunderstanding? Misspoke? Mistrust? Miserable? The definition* of "mis-" is "a prefix applied to various parts of speech, meaning “ill,” “mistaken,” “wrong,” “wrongly,” “incorrectly,” or simply negating". So you're telling me that I carried my babies incorrectly...as if I just happened to drop them...and it was all just a mistake...
So I tend to just say "Loss". That's what I've experienced on so many levels. I live with this constant sense of loss. I feel lost as I try to find answers. I lose hope from time to time. Loss feels alone and empty and sad and confused and scared that I will lose again. But as I write this, I also realize that I know where to find my babies--I know that they are with their Heavenly Father. Yet I still live with the loss.
Yesterday's blessing was the chance to work with some really great students. As I mentioned previously, we're moving in the busiest point of the year, and the days can often be draining. But it was really cool to meet with some extremely motivated and focused students. It's a nice reminder that the work I do truly impacts their experience.
*according to dictionary.com