Sunday, February 14, 2010


This has been an interesting week. Very interesting. I say this gratefully, as this week should have been dreadful. "Devastating" even. But it wasn't, and that's what's made it interesting.

A week ago I was 10 weeks pregnant and suspicious that things weren't all well. I laid low per doctor's orders on Monday, and had an ultrasound on Tuesday. It confirmed our suspicions--the pregnancy was a no go. It seems embryonic development stopped at about 6 weeks, even though I continued to feel pregnant through last week.

Since then, I've been thinking a lot, as one does when one goes through a traumatic physical and emotional event, but my thinking has been more about my reaction to the event rather than the event itself. Curious. I even worked out an equation, as geeky as that sounds, to try to figure out my reaction. Here's why:

Aside from the physical symptoms, I feel emotionally as if I've just spent several days crying. I feel emotionally spent. However, I have not cried, nor do I think I will. It's as if I'm having all the biological responses of grief, but few of the actual feelings of grief. I think it's because I was very aware of the high rate of miscarriage, and maybe knew on some deeper level that this pregnancy wasn't going to happen. And I think it also has to do with my inherent perspective on reproduction.

I think grief after a miscarriage has two components: one is hormonal and the other is cognitive/emotional. While I'm experiencing all the hormonal responses, I guess I had a relatively small percentage of cognitive/emotional investment in the pregnancy. My body is doing some kind of biological grieving (a mid-brain response?), my conscious mind is a little disappointed, but otherwise okay.

A lot of this probably has to do with my decision to have children in the first place. A co-worker and I used to laugh about our differences: when she saw a baby she'd have an immediate tug-tug of the heart. I'd have a similar response to dogs, but not babies. My decision to have a child was maybe more cognitive and less biologically driven than other people. I've never felt a yearning for a baby, and I can't say I've ever felt the biological clock ticking.

I love my child (and will love any subsequent child, if it's meant to be) as much as the next parent. But I can also envision my life very differently, without children, a faster-track career, lots and lots of travel, more writing. It's not that the other life is more or less appealing, it's just another life, one that I chose against. And if we do not have another child, elements of that other life might be part of my life as it unfolds in the next few years as my child grows and becomes more independent. We'll see.

Ultimately, I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity for a life that fits me so well, to have choices about the experiences I'm interested in, even if some of those experiences aren't as biologically hardwired as the next mom or mom-to-be. And I'm betting that lots of other women feel like me, though it doesn't really fit into the stereotype of our gender.

1 comment:

Jana Kleitsch said...

Glad you are doing well. Now that I'm back in town I'll give you a jingle.