Those whom we bore

Nous pardonnons souvent à ceux qui nous ennuient, mais nous ne pouvons pardonner à ceux que nous ennuyons. (We often forgive those who bore us, but we cannot forgive those whom we bore) – François de La Rochefoucauld.

When I was young and hopeful, and had Spring in my heart, many, oh, so many moons ago now, I read a great heap of pregnancy and parenting books. Most of them were embarrassingly poorly-written and patronising (or, more benevolently, written for the lowest common denominator. Unfortunately, I belong to the highest common factor). A few were vaguely amusing (I wish I’d made a note of the amusing ones. Though I note no one has had the common-sense and decency to write one for the Infertility/RPL crowd, which will mostly say things like ‘fuck everyone else. You ARE entitled’).

One thing in particular I remember from one of the amusing ones (damned if I can remember the title). Eventually, I got to the chapter about subsequent children. It read, in it’s entirety, ‘No-one gives a toss about your second pregnancy.’

And I laughed my arse off. Just the week before, a friend had been complaining that when she was pregnant with her first, her hovering husband had not so much as let her pick up her own mug of cocoa lest she dissarrange her precious abdominal contents. Heavily pregnant again, this time with unweildy toddler in tow who had learnt the protest art of Going Limp At Awkward Moments, her husband would glance up from his paper to see her wrestling with the full laundry basket and Toddler The Boneless (who would be screaming like a banshee) and ask, anxiously ‘you did remember to pick up all my black socks off the floor, didn’t you?’

Then I showed H the chapter and jovially threatened to murder him if he ever pulled any such shenanigans. Ahh, happy hope-filled days of youth.

Anyway, that brisk little joke chapter, it recrudesces, these days. Not because I am pregnant with a second, oh, hahahahaha. But because I am not pregnant with my eighth – at least, I don’t think I am, we’ll find out Easter weekend, won’t we? (did I mention I ovulated on Friday? Day 19? Cool, huh?). I’ve had so many stupid crappy little early miscarriages, and because there are so many of them, and because they are stupid crappy little early ones, no one gives a toss about them anymore.

I’m not talking about my Internet Gentle Readers, of course. You lot DO care, because you’re intelligent and kind and interesting and interested, Lord knows why, but you are, you dear dear people. Great swathes of loved ones in the Real World? Not so much. No, not so much.

My first miscarriage, my in-laws even remembered to email me to say they were sorry. The second (that everyone knew about. I tend not to bother most people with chemicals)? Well, I think they emailed H. The third? That started on their living-room couch? Only thing they said to me about it was a painfully ambiguous set of remarks about being sorry I’d had to leave early at Christmas. The one just before Christmas this year? I think H’s Dad said something vaguely polite in response to H’s email to them about it, to H. They don’t know about the Valentine chemical. Most people don’t.

It’s not just the in-laws, of course. We’re going to see them next weekend, so naturally I am making them the target of my Weltschmerz. There are others, people who allegedly care for me, friends I’ve known since my teens, family members who I used to be very close to, favourite aunts and the like, who simply don’t talk to me about this. Or anything else much, any more. Ah, grief, how it brings families together and strengthens ties.

My mother, bless her (she snarled), back in January, said to me ‘well, I suppose they’re not so bad any more, because you’re used to them.’ So there’s that.

(It’s both bollocks and not bollocks, anyway. Yes, I am used to them, I don’t go to pieces as such, they’re less individually traumatic. No, it’s worse every time, even the chemicals, because of the grinding, miserable hopelessness and disappointment and rage, that gets exponentially more skull-crushing each time).

Oh, and of course, there’s the arseholery that passes for wisdom among the common populace, which I can’t help but feel contributes to the Avoidance. The whole ‘miscarriages are very common, you know. One in four/three/ten/whateverthefuckthetabloidsquotedlast pregnancies end in miscarriage, often before the woman knows she was pregnant‘ thing that people keep saying to me. To which, I am always too, well, too well-bred also flabberghasted to answer correctly. The correct answer is: ‘A) Well, I knew I was pregnant, so fuck off, and B) having a parent die is extremely common. Most of us will outlive our parents. If you were to point this out to someone whose Dad had just died, you would deserve to be torn to shreds by wolverine. And spat on. By cobras. And fire-ants. Also lice. And never get laid again, ever. OK, so RPL is not the same, no way the same, nowhere near the same league, as losing a parent, but still, it’s heart-breakingly hard and vile, so shut your compassionless pie-hole.’

But I still don’t know what to say to the people who have nothing to say to me. I don’t think I really know what I want them to say to me. Perhaps if they say anything I’ll shriek and run from the room.

But no, generally, no-one gives a toss about your seventh miscarriage.


12 responses to “Those whom we bore

  • May ProblemUterus

    Wouldn’t it be nice if you could print this post on little business cards, hand them out as necessary, and then smile sweetly at the idiots and waltz away?

  • a

    Here’s how I know that I am truly a horrible person at heart…my first response to this post is to hope that you are keeping a list of those “one in four…” people so that you can return the favor when their parents eventually die. Oh well, I enjoy being horrible.

    Yeah, silence is better than well-meaning tripe or insincerity.

  • Amy P

    *deleted because it was too stupid, even for me*


  • Valery

    I’ll light some candles tonight… It is so hard to fight our way through depression (or Meh if you prefer) without a real plan, without knowing that our babies will live. It is taking so long… Sorry that your support system is at a loss. Sorry for bad pun.

  • wombattwo

    In laws? Grrr…
    People who don’t give a toss? Grrr…
    Tabloid newspapers? Grrr…

    Miscarriages ARE common. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t mean anything and aren’t devastating, each and every one. I think you can’t compare the loss of a baby to the loss of a parent – they are totally different. With the loss of a baby there is also the loss of hope, with the loss of a parent there is the loss of someone who’s been a fixture in your life for all of your years. They are different losses, but each are vile. Surely the fact that miscarriages are so common, and there are so many women/men in the world who grieve their babies just means that people should BE NICE and UNDERSTANDING to those who are affected?

    I know the feeling when people don’t have much to say to you any more. If it’s any consolation, dear May, it is their loss, for not having you, a witty, intelligent, beautiful woman in their lives.

    And we do care. Lots and lots.

    Have a hug, and some tea.

  • korechronicles

    Loss is loss. And death of a parent or death of the yet un-born brings the painful work of grief right up into our faces. And for oh so many, perfectly nice people in lots of ways, that is just too damned scary and difficult to think about, because hey, that will never, ever happen to them. And denial makes us selfish and self absorbed and the fear makes us thoughtless and stupid as our terrified and helpess psyches run for cover.

    For so many, I suspect, the fact that (a) they can’t fix it and (b) the sheer magnitude of suffering of the bereaved is beyond the understanding of all but a special few, is what lies at the heart of their reactions. So, they clomp around in their verbal hob-nail boots or rev up their non-verbal bulldozers and make a right balls-up of their attempts to sympathise or spare you. When empathy is what is most required. And silence, as ever, is the resort of the coward.

    I’m so sorry that you must endure this in your quest for parenthood.

    Love, hugs and lots of Scotch. xx

  • twangy

    Ah, this post says so many things I’ve tried to articulate, but never captured so clearly.

    Really dismal you are getting silence from the family – I’d prefer to think they don’t know what to say because at some level they DO realise it’s vile, rather than not giving a toss.

    Anyway, many hugs and noddings.

  • Illanare

    I hate those vile comments too. Especially when they come from people who are parents themselves – I always wanted to say “and at which point could you have lost YOUR baby during pregnancy and chalked it up to statistics?”.

    Sending lots of hugs, along with cups of tea and Bourbon creams.

  • Womb For Improvement

    I can’t help but picture your relatives as Lady Bracknell muttering “To lose one baby, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose more looks like carelessness.”

    Maybe you should start carrying round a stout handbag to whack them with.

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    I want so badly to say something clever and humane and kind and helpful and laudatory of the whole fire-ants idea, here. But I’m so sorry, lovey – the brain, she isn’t working proactively currently.
    Am listening very hard, though.

  • BigP's Heather

    It does matter.

    In my limited experience, isn’t (in just about EVERY situation) “I’m sorry.” “I love you.” and “I’m here for you.” always appropriate? Why can’t they just say that – even if they say it every time? Is it that hard?

  • minichessemouse

    I think I have held back it commenting here because I don’t know what to say to make t better. I want to take all the pain and the grief away, I want to see you holding your babies and full of joy.

    But that is a different may in a different world. and all I can do for this may who is here in this world is give her a hug and tell her that I am here I am listening and that I do care. Because that is what is important.

    And how I WISH i could do more.

%d bloggers like this: