Anna Lea Hand | Longreads | March 2020 | 28 minutes (6,996 words)
PART 1: If It’s So Normal, Why Aren’t People Talking About It?
The entire time I am pregnant, the entire three-and-a-half months, Jamie and I tell no one about it except for a couple people out of necessity. I tell no one because that’s what I’m supposed to do, and, honestly, because I didn’t want to be seen as a pregnant person and have people put their expectations on me, their joy on me, their definitions of how I must and should be feeling on me. I figure that for thousands of years people have been getting pregnant, and though this is certainly miraculous and empowering, I don’t need the Hallmark congratulations, not even from friends and family I trust and love. The entire time I am pregnant I watch and feel how my body is changing and feel normal. The entire time I am pregnant I know that a miscarriage could happen, and feel normal about that too, because I know that people have them. The trouble is that no one talks about them beyond repeating what they’ve been told, “Miscarriages are so common,” and none of this information tells me what it’s like to experience one. So here I am, pregnant, feeling how my body is transforming, and feeling equally light over the normalcy of a possible miscarriage, and heavy under the weight of what to expect.
And then it happens. Late on a Wednesday night I start to feel heavy, deep cramping and a heat and loosening near my cervix, a feeling similar to right before I get my period. Even though I’ve made it beyond the traditional 12-week-you’re-in-the-clear zone, I know something is not sitting right. I wake up at 3:00am Thursday morning and google “signs of a miscarriage,” and end up on Mayo Clinic’s website. I am bleeding a little, but I’m still unclear about what I’m experiencing. I call the obstetrics department of the hospital first thing in the morning and say, “I think I’m having a miscarriage,” and because I haven’t started my prenatal care with them, they ask me who has confirmed that I am pregnant as if I’m making things up. I am insulted that they think I don’t know my own body. They hesitantly agree to see me and tell me where to go. Already I feel like a problem. Already I feel out of place.