There are some things people just don’t talk about. Social norms dictate they are too personal to discuss widely. This proscription is arbitrary, for while people may believe the issues to be divided on personal lines, they are not so clearly delineated. We talk about “personal” things all the time; some personal things are freely thrown about (much to some people’s chagrin) while other areas are banned precisely because they are personal. And so, I am led to believe that people don’t broach the topics because they are uncomfortable, either for themselves or supposedly for the person on the other end of the conversation.
But the silence on these issues can be devastating for a person experiencing something “too personal” to be discussed. Certainly, people have different ways of dealing with life’s events, but many – given the chance – would gladly benefit from a conversation about these personal issues. I do not deny their personal nature; I defy the idea that their personal nature precludes discussion.
Often, the simple act of discussing something difficult with another person reduces the burden we carry. Countless times while in conversation, I have discovered that what I viewed as a personal crisis was in fact a collectively experienced one. Knowing that my experience was shared with others quelled supposed insurmountable concerns and sadness. There is something in the telling, something in the receiving and relating that heals. How many times I’ve been soothed by those unassuming words, “Me too!” The shared identity: now I can relax. What I’m feeling is normal, or at least shared by enough people that it doesn’t spell disaster for me if I’m experiencing it.
Just one year ago, I had never heard of a single person who’d had a bad honeymoon. Honeymoons were a glorious time for a new couple. Right? Right? I remember lying in bed in Honduras so sick I could hardly move. (Why in the world did we go to Honduras on our honeymoon? Nobody will ever know.) I was convinced I was the only person who’d ever had a less than stellar honeymoon. Oh, but out of the woodworks came numberless honeymoon horrors… once I started to tell my story. Why hadn’t anybody told me before my honeymoon? I wouldn’t have felt so worried and distressed if I’d known somebody else had experienced what I was going through.
And so, I feel the need to share an experience, both for my own healing and hopefully for others’. A couple weeks ago, I had a miscarriage at 8 weeks. From the beginning, I had felt a very strong connection to this little child, and my worst fear was that I would miscarry. I had seen the fetus, the heartbeat; we had chosen a name. There was life, and suddenly, it was gone. The emptiness that prevails is overwhelming; incompleteness consumes the soul. Emotions destabilize, and I find myself abruptly transitioning from laughter to tears and back to mirth. Then creeps in the deadened heaviness – no longer weepy, just hollow – and I wish I could return to the freedom of tears, with their sweet release of emotion. They say that one in eight women have post-partum depression, and I wonder what the figures are for women who miscarry. All those rapid changes in hormones and no life to show for it.
Truly, a miscarriage has been one of my keenest trials, exacerbated by my worries about my upwardly mobile age. But through it all, I have oddly felt at peace. I was able to say with meaning, “Thy will be done” before I started to miscarry. While it does not lessen the acuity of the pain, or make restitution for the loss, it brings peace and calmness. I have been sustained through this process and feel I can trust that the Lord will indeed take care of me. Just today I read the scripture, “Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God?” I am in His hands, and I can trust not only that these experiences will be for my good, but that there is a reason in all things.