I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote these lines in his poem, In Memoriam A.H.H. Tennyson penned the poem over a 17-year period for a friend who died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage at the age of 22. There are over 130 verses in this poem, but the one above is the most well-known.
Miscarriage is a word we've unfortunately used too often in this community, whether it be miscarriage after a natural pregnancy, miscarriage after a fertility treatment, an ectopic pregnancy, or repeat loss. It's safe to say that each of us knows someone affected by one of these things. We also know women who have experienced stillbirth and women whose babies were born into this world and taken just days, weeks, or months later due to complications. Some of you reading this have gone through one or more of these tragedies in your own lives.
The great part about this community is our ability to stick together and be there to support one another. We often aren't able to do this in a physical manner by offering shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold, but we do so the best we can virtually--by sending hugs, prayers, and sometimes even tears across the miles. Often times, it's difficult to know the right thing to say in these situations. You don't want to cause that person any more pain than they are already experiencing. Yet you want them to know that you are there to help them in any way possible.
This is especially the case if you have never been in a situation of loss. What do you say to someone who has lost a child? To someone who has lost their miracle? To someone who has lost multiple miracles?
I've never experienced loss, at least not in that way. My grandparents are all gone and have been for several years now. But they were older. As much as it hurt to lose them, they had lived a full life. They watched their children grow up, marry, and have children of their own. And, in some instances, they watched their grandchildren have children. Their deaths weren't easy for me, but they had been given incredible lives and many years to make their marks on the world and on the lives of those around them.
These babies, these losses, never had that chance.
After my third IUI, when I saw a faint line on that HPT, Kelly asked me if I would feel better knowing whether that was a chemical pregnancy rather than a faulty test. I didn't hesitate to answer, "No, it would have made me feel worse--knowing that I had finally achieved pregnancy only to lose it would be devastating."
Yet, there are still people who offer advice to the contrary. They tell women "at least they know they can get pregnant" or "perhaps this is a blessing." But is it? Can anyone honestly say that miscarrying a child is a blessing? I keep reading the comments on my What did you say? post over and over again. I'm amazed at all of them, but especially at those toward people who have experienced loss. The more I read, the more frustrated I become over the complete lack of sympathy people have toward the loss of a child in any form. At what age does loss become appropriate for ignorant people to recognize--20 weeks? Viability? Birth? At what point do people stop justifying and begin sympathizing?
And what about Alfred, Lord Tennyson? I think his words have validity in many cases. I'm so thankful for the love of those people in my life who are already gone, especially my grandparents. Their love shaped me in so many ways. But to say it's better to have loved and lost a child . . . I can't comprehend that (and I'm not sure Alfred imagined his words would be used to comfort so many of you who have lost your babies). I guess I'm asking all of you who have experienced loss: is it better to loved and lost than to never loved at all? Do those words make it easier or more difficult?
Last week, I found out my cousin and his wife were pregnant on the same day they found out they were most likely miscarrying. Doctor confirmed their loss yesterday and tomorrow is the D&C. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they cope with this loss--the loss of their baby and the loss of a love that was never given the chance to grow.