Keep Calm and Carry On

I was actually talking to my sister Trouble on the phone earlier. There’s a family dinner thing tomorrow, and these things need organising, which actually forces us siblings to talk to each other. Otherwise… we don’t, much. Because we’re lazy.

Anyway, we were talking, and Trouble had kind sweet things to say about my latest miscarriage, bless her (she is improving with age). I brought her up to date about how many I had had, and when, and being sent for tests, and I told her about the karyotyping, which segued into a running gag about David Icke (What can I say? we are funny, funny ladies). When Trouble had caught her breath after laughing her arse off, she said, admiringly, that I seemed to be in quite good spirits.

‘Ehhh,’ said I. ‘I’m dealing with it by sarcasm abuse.’

Cue Trouble collapsing into giggles again. (I rock).

Then Trouble told me about a friend of hers, who recently had a miscarriage, her first (and please Universe only) one, and dealt with it pretty much by declaring her life had been destroyed and locking herself in her room for a couple of months.

Oh God, I thought, the poor woman.The poor poor woman.

Meanwhile Trouble was remarking that perhaps this friend should be told about me, and maybe learn a few lessons in getting over herself from it, because, hey, I’d had several and I wasn’t locked in my room yelling ‘my life is in ruins‘ through the keyhole.

[No, Trouble doesn’t know this blog exists.]

Anyway, I nobly went to bat for this unknown sister-in-distress. I pointed out that everyone reacts differently, that her support system may not be as good as mine, that she may have had other issues hurting her (oh, hey, like a fucking miscarriage isn’t enough). I reminded Trouble that the hormonal crash-and-burn can bring on a good old-fashioned chemical depression. Trouble admitted she hadn’t thought of that.

We went back to discussing plans for tomorrow.


Bitter McTwisted is now emitting a persistent high-pitched squeal of resentment, and it’s making it hard to think.

Funnily enough (keeping in mind she is Bitter and Twisted), the person she is resenting at the moment is not Trouble, but the unknown sister-in-distress. She got to lock herself in her room for months. She got to wail and weep and tell everyone her life was in tatters. I want to do that! I want to!

But I am soft enough to be flattered and happy that Trouble admires my insouciant bravado.

I like being the brave, calm, sensible one. I like being Ace Rimmer, dashingly making light of my own injuries while giving the last swig in my hip-flask to the person on the next stretcher and then stitching my own arm up before swanning off to do something amazingly cool in the next universe.

But it would be nice to feel that I could have a weeping, yelling, plate-hurling, refusing-to-get-out-of-bed, several-month-long meltdown and have everyone understand and admire that, too.


12 responses to “Keep Calm and Carry On

  • a

    I swing between wondering what’s wrong with me that I was able to get up and carry on with life and resenting those damn drama queens who declare that life is over when they have one measly miscarriage. Fortunately, this all just goes on in my head, and I don’t generally let it out.

    What I think it comes down to, though, is that no one would let me lock myself in my room for months. My husband would harass me. My family would well-meaningly comment me into a nervous breakdown. My friends would wonder who the hell I was and where the real me went. This is why miscarriage is such a taboo topic – those who experience it will generally avoid the topic while it’s fresh because the “comfort” is almost as bad as the experience.

  • L.

    About your last paragraph–you don’t know until you try. Okay, you have a job, they would probably not like it if you locked yourself in your room and didn’t show up for several months. But if you can get going with the crying/screaming/shrieking in the secrecy of your own home, maybe it would help. Or even to others: is that the more important part? Feeling heard, vs. the simple emotional release? Genuine question, not rhetorical. But, anyway, maybe they’d live up to your hopes more than you think. It’s a risk but maybe it’s worth seeing if a few people will let you shed that coping-with-it persona for a while, even if in a more moderate fashion.

    Last year I read about a business in Los Angeles. You go to their storefront, buy some dishes from them, then they let you go in a room in back and smash the hell out of them (the dishes). The company cleans up or will give you the shards if you like. The prices seemed a bit exorbitant but the idea is intensely appealing. Several times in the past month I’ve wished I had a similar service nearby.

  • Rachel

    Well, I for one admire not only your insouciant bravado, but also your incredible vocabulary.

  • The Cheerleader

    She probably locked herself in her room as a RESULT of all the comforting words, you know:

    ‘It’s probably for the best’
    ‘These things happen for a reason’
    ‘It just wasn’t meant to be’
    ‘I just know you’ll be OK next time, I bet you get pregnant again really quickly’

    I think the best solution would be to lock these ‘comforters’ in a room for several months while you waltz off to the pub.

  • Valery

    Months in a room… sounds so depressing. I was thinking of going to sit on an unhabited rock somewhere in the middle of Africa for a year. .

  • womb for improvement

    You should feel justly proud of yourself. I doubt months locked in a room would help you ‘get over it’* any quicker than getting on with things. If anything I imagine it would prolong the recovery.**

    *if indeed that is possible
    ** written with absolutely no knowledge other than a degree in pub-psychology.

  • Betty M

    My education is clearly lacking – who is this fabulous Ace Rimmer? I always favoured the stoic approach with wailing at home only.

  • Carole

    Understand a little, maybe. But I don’t think you could ever admire someone who did a Miss Haversham because their life hadn’t worked out exactly as one would hope. Perhaps it’s a Brit thing: the more weeping and wailing that goes on, the less genuine the misery seems.

    I admire the people who do suck it up and get on with it. There’s just been a story recently about a woman who has had a baby after 18 miscarriages. 18!!!!! Now there’s someone with staying power.

    In the end, it’s got to be more fun being Ace rather than Arnold!

  • manapan

    I hope the family dinner went well. Those so often have the power to make us all feel worse than ever before!

  • Heather

    I nominated you over on my blog.

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    Reptilian humanoids, eh?! I’ve rarely enjoyed a link so much!

    My dear, you cannot do the locked-in-room-wailing thing because you are, like me, Sensible, with added dollops of Social Responsibility and Practicality thrown in for good measure. We are Elinors. Not better, not worse, just different.

    Trouble’s friend is a Marianne. Wailing through the keyhole is only admirable if you’re a Marianne. If you’re an Elinor, people panic and call the chaps with the straightjackets.

    I am torn between wanting the entitlement to emotional excess, and the knowledge that my opinion of my own character would drop like a stone if I actually put on that pesona – because I know (and I hasten to add that this is just me personally; it’s how I’m built) I’d essentially be acting, and wailing for effect and attention only. I can’t get into the true Marianne mindset, no matter how hard I try.

    Sometimes being the sensible one is a proper pisser.

    I feel Trouble would be shaken to her core had she seen you behave like her friend; she knows that you ARE totally Ace Rimmer.

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