The other day Tim and I walked out the side door of our house, the one in the kitchen beneath our upstairs neighbor’s stairs, and I said to him how strange it was to step outside and see so much life around us. As he mentioned in the last post, late February around here has meant occasional warm days, with the grass beginning to grow, the birds chirping, the air fragrant, the skies blue; that’s the sort of day that this was. I had my hair pulled back in a ponytail, no makeup on, wearing an outfit of yoga pants and Tim’s crewneck gray sweatshirt that reminds of something 1980s dads would wear. We were going for a walk, telling ourselves to get some fresh air, to stretch our legs, to exit the house we’d been cocooned in for the last few days, mourning the very opposite of what these bright, new signs of life were signifying as we breathed them in. It’s strange to be surrounded by signs of life when your body is bearing the signs of death, and the physical realities of an empty womb are loud realities, hard to distract yourself from, hard to push away.
We hadn’t known we were pregnant for long. We’d only known for a number of days, actually, just long enough to get in a routine of falling asleep talking about baby names, buy a little vintage newborn outfit at Goodwill, download a Baby app on our phones that would end up reminding me this past Monday that my baby would have been six weeks old, forming its nose and ears. One day we were staring at each other in joy (and a little bit of terror), talking about decorating a baby’s room and bringing a kid home at Christmas, and the next day, we weren’t.
Over the past week, we’ve found ourselves surrounded by what we cannot understand—from the very wonder of conception to the very shock of death. Both are above me, quite honestly, too great to comprehend. And as as I’ve made companions of these weighty, enormous realities, the contrast between them and the simplest, smallest bits of life has never seemed so stark. The crisp, fresh air. The laundry that needs folding on the bed. The kitchen and all it contains. There’s such a sharp divide between the abstract headiness of a lost pregnancy and the tangible reality of putting together ingredients to create something to eat. Making a sandwich can be the most routine, everyday task, so inconsequential, so banal, so not something worth talking about. But, for me, these last few days, making a sandwich, or baking a batch of cookies, or washing the dishes, has also been a call back into life, into everyday routine, into the sort of things I can hold in my hands instead of just my head. Making a sandwich, I guess, can in its humble way be a way of choosing life, a way to fight to keep moving, keep stepping forward, keep walking moment by moment into feelings hard to understand or know how to explain.
So that’s what we did one afternoon this week, Tim and I. We packed up sandwiches of sautéed mushrooms and quickly pureed thyme pine nut butter and alfalfa sprouts, bringing them, along with carrots and ginger lavender tonic, to a quiet, sunny space nearby. Wrapped up in our coats, breathing cold air, feeling it on our faces, squinting in the sunshine, we ate sandwiches while we looked at a lake and heard dogs barking in the neighborhood around it, signs of life in us and all around us, waking us, shaking us, back into today.
Deciding whether or not to mention our miscarriage here has been a hard decision, so please be gentle with us in your comments. Ultimately I wanted to share it here because of how much reading other people’s stories has helped me and because somewhere someone might be reading this today or many months from now, feeling the comfort of another person’s story. Also, someday when these feelings feel far away, I don’t want to forget that I had them.