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Too Soon

November 5, 2011

Loss is an experience we all have in common.  It doesn’t remain common.  Loss becomes unique and personal, changed by the context of our individual lives, our experiences, our history, our personalities. Many of our losses are visible, public experiences. Personal loss lived out with family, friends, community.

Miscarriage is a death that, for many, is lived out in solitary, an “unrecorded” loss.  The death of a child before birth stops us in our anticipation and preparation for welcoming and celebrating a new being’s entry into our lives.  Even the term “miscarriage” sets this loss apart, like other words we attach “mis” to. That somehow we failed, missed the mark, or didn’t understand what we were supposed to do.  So this is the death that is sometimes unaddressed, and even ignored, leaving us to make our own meaning and grieve our loss silently and alone.

I checked my email before settling in to write about this particular loss, and discovered a reference to “The Dash”, a poem by Linda Ellis.  She reminds us that it is not the dates at the beginning and end of our lives that define us, but the life lived in between.  The life lived in the dash.  It hit me that the loss of miscarriage is that there is no dash.  The life was being lived in a mother’s womb, and death may have come before she even felt the moving, growing of her unborn child.

How do we share the grief of miscarriage?  Sometimes by simply acknowledging that it is a death.  The death of all you hoped and expected to experience as the parent of this child.  The death of the chance for this child to establish his or her own meaning and identity in this world, their own dash.

Too Soon

Tiny seed of love
That I have longed to hold,
While smallest bud,
Has ceased to grow.
Held gently in these hands
Too soon,
Blossom now within my heart
And comfort
As I let you go.

  © Paulann Condray Canty 

(The poem was written in 1988 to acknowledge the grief of a friend who lost her unborn child early in pregnancy)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie White permalink
    November 5, 2011 11:56 am

    I suffered a miscarriage before I had my two daughters. It is very hard to go through it, especially when people don’t realize what a loss you’ve suffered.
    Thanks for posting this!
    I’ve missed you!!! Hope things are going well for you!

    • November 16, 2011 12:06 am

      Julie, I replied to your comment, and then realized I had not entered it as a reply, but as a separate comment. At the risk of being redundant, I wanted you to thank you for reading the post and sharing from your own experience. Miscarriage is often a silent and lonely loss. It’s made more difficult when we feel it’s not okay to tell others. It can also be painful when we do open up to someone who doesn’t understand the depth of your pain. Thank you again for responding to the GrowthLines blog.

  2. November 5, 2011 12:10 pm

    I’m so glad the post was meaningful to you. I know that miscarriage is frequently a silent and lonely loss. Sometimes those of us who care don’t know what to say. Unfortunately, that means we often don’t respond at all. It was good to hear from you. Things are well with me and I hope the same for you.

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