It’s been brought to my attention that a review in my book, written by a kind English professor, has caused some pain.
Part of my process of writing this book was to be 100%, totally, completely honest-raw and untouched so that it was all out there for other women to know the thoughts that I had, whether they were right or not.
Initially, after my loss, I felt so much anger at the fact that people didn’t understand what I went through, that I was hurt when someone referred to my twins dying as a miscarriage. I was so desperate for people to know what I had actually lived through, to try to explain why I was grieving and why I couldn’t just move on. I write about this because I want people to know they are not alone in their thoughts.
I go on to write, “I have since heard this type of feeling dubbed the “Pain Olympics,” and when you’re in the thick of grief, you are a champion player. Of course, I know now that nothing is ever really as simple as “Mine is worse than yours.” It wasn’t long until I realized that other people thought it was more painful to lose a full-term baby than a preemie. They thought it was more painful to lose a five-year-old than an infant.
People started throwing out the phrase, “At least,” to me. “At least you didn’t lose the babies after you got to know them.” “At least it wasn’t like what happened to my cousin/uncle/friend’s sister—they lost a toddler/high schooler.” And by me saying that a miscarriage wasn’t “as bad” as what I experienced, I was doing the same thing to miscarriage sufferers as people were doing to me—I was minimizing them. I was putting their pain on a scale based on my opinions or observations, and it wasn’t fair.
I have come to the conclusion that there is no way to measure or marginalize grief. I have met and gotten to know hundreds of women over the last few years, many of whom have stories very similar to mine, and we all have a different grief journey. Sure, we find many things in common, such as things that bother us or things that people have said to us, but our feelings are all unique. We all move through the stages of grief at varying speeds, and the decisions we make on how to cope with our grief are all different. We have varying degrees of faith, support, resources; all of that plays a part. Even our ages or how many kids we already had or how many kids we wanted, they all change what we are thinking and feeling.
When the reviewer put in a sentence about how I felt that I wanted people to know my loss was different than others, if read away from the context of that chapter, it could imply that I don’t feel you have an identity as a mother if you have a miscarriage, or that somehow my loss was WORSE because Sophie grasped my hand.
Of course, those of you that know me in real life know that could never, would never, tell someone their miscarriage wasn’t as hard as my loss. I have spent the last 9 years fighting for all of us to be understood–all of us.
It is all loss, all of it awful, none of it is worse than any other. I know that I did NOT say this in the book, but I want to make it extremely clear that I do not feel that way. I don’t personally know the reviewer, but I know that she meant no ill will whatsoever.
I painstakingly read my own words hundreds of times but will admit that I did NOT painstakingly read the words of my reviewers to make sure there was nothing in there that could be offensive.
Any books printed from today on will have that sentence redacted, and if you have been hurt by that review, I am deeply sorry.
You got this, yo.