Thursday, March 27, 2008

Labels, schmabels

***I'm prefacing this with a disclaimer - I am not intending to in any way undermine or devalue the impact of a miscarriage. I am simply speaking out of my own completely biased experience - that's all I can do. ***

We lost Isabel just a few days short of it being labeled a stillbirth. Instead, she's considered a miscarriage. This one little label has caused me an unbelievable amount of pain over the past 8 months. I've been ashamed by it - that I was so caught up over a silly little miscarriage. I've been angry over it, I've been stressed, embarrassed, conflicted...you name it, I felt it. That label stripped away my ability to just feel what I was feeling in a totally honest way.

I actually found myself - and more than once, mind you, sort of frequently in the beginning - lying about how far along I was so that it sounded more significant. So that I could say she was stillborn rather than that I had a miscarriage. Because when you say you had a miscarriage, people say, "Oh my mom/sister/neighbor/boss/____ had a miscarriage." But when you tell someone you delivered and held your dead baby, it's completely different. It's not that I'm wanting people to feel sorry for me - I don't need or want the sympathy. Truly. What I want is for people to understand the significance of what happened and why I'm a completely different person. The experience of laboring & delivering a child that doesn't go home with you changes you 100%.

So call her a miscarriage, if you will. I have decided (warning - am about to speak French here) to FUCK the label. And I'm not going to be ashamed anymore. I'm trying to finally give credence to feelings that I've suppressed for a long time. So I apologize if the direction of this blog has changed radically over the last month, but this is actually who I am - so welcome inside my head.

5 comments:

daedra said...

I definately don't think you should feel like you have to say what someone else thinks it is. If the gov'mt or the hospital or WHOEVER says it's a misacarriage you should assume that's their opinion and to you it was a stillbirth. All that matters in this situation is what it was to you not to an institution who is ruled with guidelines.
This is similar to the due date guidelines. Babies are born when they want and docs and hospitals seem to think that a due date is the be all to end all! If you pass your due date dear GOD help your baby!!!
Life isn't run by rules and guidlines. Live your life and don't worry about what others say.

Ange said...

Oh of course you want to be validated and heard. I may rustle feathers but i think it IS different and dare i say much more intense to 'give birth' Having had 2 miscarriages and a stillbirth I know absolutely how you are hurting.

Becky said...

A loss is a loss no matter what OTHER people call it.

If you have any problems (cracks knuckles) let me know. I'll take care of them.

Lainey-Paney said...

We lost a baby & it was considered a miscarriage too.
But, the hurt is still there.
To me, I don't give much thought to the label.
In the end---we've all lost a baby. A child. A part of our family that we had hopes and dreams for. So, miscarriage, fetal demise, stillbirth...they are all a loss. All of us who go through it know what we've lost.

k@lakly said...

I think anytime you deliver a baby it is a birth, either a live one or a stillone. I agree 100% FUCK THE LABELS. I am barely on the other side of the 'cutoff' at 23 weeks and just yesterday, met a 14 year old boy who was born at 23 weeks. It literally took my breath away because I really never thought any baby could survive when they were that little. Eventually they will have to adjust the "labels" because medical technology is saving babies younger and younger.
Your loss is yours, don't ever let anyone minimize it, not ever.

P.S. The stuff you wrote at my place about your insurance company...oh you bet your ass I would have written to them too, and it wouldn't have been pretty. Bastards.