Tuesday, January 12, 2016

things I learned about infertility and miscarriage

"Not Alone", the book on infertility and miscarriage that I edited last year, is still occupying my thoughts.

And how could it not? The generous people who shared their struggles in that book have stories so full of pain and hope, of anger and love, of so many other conflicting emotions and honest feelings, that I think their stories will always stay with me.

I'm looking back over some of what I learned as I spent so much time with their words. The list below is far from comprehensive, but there were some observable patterns that emerged from their stories, and I thought I'd share them here.

(I want to add: I really cherish these observations, because all of the essayists who submitted to this project really put not just their hearts, but their minds into this project, and I appreciate how much it costs to really think through a painful experience, and to offer those thoughts up for the perusal of others.)

Here are a few things I noticed, as I reviewed these essays:

-Every person's experience is unique. No one feels pain quite the same way, and circumstance and personality mean that everyone feels loss differently.

-The loss of a child, or absence of wanted children, is more common than we'd like to think. A common thread among these entries is that the writers had no idea how many other people had been through the same pain until they admitted their own hurt. And then they found themselves surrounded by a crowd of sympathetic friends.

-Husbands and wives experience these losses differently, even within the same marriage.

-Music speaks to us when nothing else can. About half the "Works Cited" page in this book are references to songs.

I hope this book makes its way into the hands of people who are suffering in these situations, and into the hands of their loved ones. Just because this can be such a lonely pain, and it doesn't have to be. You are not alone.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell