The first time I got pregnant, I couldn’t keep quiet.
I completely ignored that advice about waiting through the first twelve weeks. As soon as the at-home test came back positive, I was on the phone.
I called my husband and left a message for him to come home right after golf (I never did this). I called my Mom. My sisters. I waited for Ken to finally get home, then we rushed to tell his mother and his sister.
The day after the doctor’s blood test confirmed what we already knew, we were sharing – widely. As wide as we could.
The outpouring of love fueled our growing happiness. There were hugs, kisses, and well wishes galore.
Then, around week 10, I miscarried and underwent a D&C.
Our family wasted no time moving in. Sisters left work to lay on the couch with me as I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Moms came to do laundry, make dinner, and give me permission to stay on the couch. Dads checked in with Ken.
At the time, I was still working in public broadcasting, which is another way to say that I was working in an incredibly deadline intensive environment, and that tends to turn colleagues into confidants quickly and permanently.
There were dozens of my fellow employees who knew I was carrying, and now all they knew was that I’d been missing for days with no explanation.
These were (are) smart people – so even before they knew, they knew. And, they were also aware enough to understand that I couldn’t (at least at first) be totally open to their love and compassion.
It made me feel too much – which is just another way to say that it made me hurt, too much.
A few weeks after I’d returned to work one of my closer friends asked me to lunch. Just the two of us. When we were done she passed a beautiful hand-crafted wooden box across the table. I opened it to find two precious stones and a bracelet.
“Sometimes,” she said, “when you’re mourning it helps to have a place to go. With your and Kenny’s loss having a specific place can be tricky, and I know that right now your loss is with you wherever you go. I want you to know that I’m giving you this box and these stones as a place to go, if you need a place to go. And the bracelet, it can stay in the box if you want it to, or if you want to wear it – in case you need a place to go, when you’re out in the world, you can touch it and be there and it’s just a plain bangle with hearts, so no one needs to know what you’re doing, unless you want them to. I love you and it’s okay to be this sad.”
This act remains one of the most kind, loving, and healing gestures ever extended to me.
It truly helped me find a sliver of light during an all-encompassing darkness – and remains a beacon of guidance on how to access my own compassion to help comfort others.
Since this life-changing gift was bestowed on me, I’ve continued to share it, and believe I always will.
This week, as I had the unique opportunity of connecting with multiple wonderful people who’ve shared in this giving and receiving with me, I was reminded of the power of connection.
How we suffer and celebrate with one another matters. So, we should keep doing it – because it actually is what we are made to do.