If you haven’t already, please head over to Jjiraffe’s post to read “The Devastation of Pregnancy: A Profile of Courtney…,” where she describes my history with pregnancy loss in order to profile what it really means to live with infertility. If you’re not familiar with Jjiraffe and her fantastic and inspirational blog, for months she has been tackling the New York Times’ inaccurate coverage of what it means to be infertile. She is a brilliant writer. I’ve been trying to figure out why they’re not busting down her virtual door and begging her to write these profiles for them. Oh wait…that’s because she’s not interested in highlighting the 1% of infertiles who can afford unlimited IVF treatments just because they thought it would be cute to have another baby well into their forties. Right. So please, if you haven’t yet read her piece, please do so now.
I was lucky enough to get a chance to read this before she posted it, and as I read each beautifully crafted word, tears fell in a steady stream down my cheeks. For the first time in two years, I was getting to view my story from the outside looking in. As I read about this woman and her devastating pain from each of her four losses, I was profoundly sad for her. I cried for her and what she had gone through. I was awed by her resilience. I wanted to reach out to her and wrap my arms around her, to tell her how very sorry I am for her losses. Not once did I get angry at her for “allowing” those babies to die.
Ever since that fateful day in February of 2010 when I lost my second pregnancy, I have blamed my body for being inadequate, for not doing what it’s supposed to do. That blame, of course, was heightened when I went on to lose a third and a fourth. I refused to be kind to the body that stopped my babies’ hearts. Through what feels like hundreds of sessions, my therapist has been urging me to be kind to myself, to nurture my body and support it like I do for so many other women going through this. But despite our work, I’ve been unable to find the compassion for myself and for what I’ve experienced. I can’t get past the fact I feel like I’m to blame, that my body failed me.
When I read Jjiraffe’s post, the compassion I’ve been seeking for myself and my unimaginable loss, came flooding in. Although the post was meant to highlight the inadequacies in the NYTimes’ coverage, it did so much more for me. It was a gift. After reading her words, I want to take care of that woman and her grief. I want to nurture her and love her, not berate her and blame her. The woman in her story doesn’t deserve that.
Jjiraffe, I will never be able to properly thank you for the gift you gave to me with this post. The woman inside of me that has had to deal with my lack of compassion for two years straight, thanks you. I’m wrapping my arms around you, too.
Now, if you still haven’t read it, what are you waiting for? Go now.