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Mona’s story

Mona remembers the loss of her first baby, 41 years ago. Her story was first published on our Facebook group, and is shared here with permission.

My husband and I mourned separately. I wanted my mom. I wanted my daddy, I wanted someone to comfort me. There was no one.

I’ve been a member of this [Facebook] group for a while now. Never posting, only reading occasionally. It’s brought up some hard psychological stuff for me.

My Story…. I just turned 63 years of age. I’m a Social Worker, Social and human rights activist. I garden on a large scale because it is my therapy and being with the earth and the living things that ask no more of me other than to water and occasionally feed them and help them reproduce for another year gives me time to reflect on my long passed away parents who gave me the joy of gardening.

I have a particular view on human and other life that encompasses a cosmic energy we are all formed from and possess, as we are also part of the earth, at different stages of development. This view has taken me a long time to think about and cultivate. I am ok with it now. I am ok with dying, now.

However, I so sincerely wish I had been able to have support like you all show here for the loss of a child. It was my first. It was 1975 and my mother had just died suddenly, a few weeks before I discovered I was pregnant at 23. Here I was, mourning her death and traveling to her home town to take her ashes as she wished. I was one of those young women who experienced the early stages as violently as few women do. I was so sick I was convinced I had stomach cancer. Apparently I was pregnant. My joy was tempered by the sickness, and the pain of not being able to share with mom. While I was growing up she would regale me with of stories of child birthing my brother, sister and myself, (born in the hospital hallway). She loved being a mom, and gave me a yearning to do the same.

I mourned, barfed, cried, worked, barfed more, no matter where I was, even on the bus to work in the morning, and in the holes I dug to plant tulip bulbs. I had a husband with little or no empathy due to his own “stuff”. I had no other family except my distant brother and inlaws. Dad had died 10 years earlier.

I was so excited to get my first pregnancy bra and start wearing maternity clothes. Check out the gawdawful childish maternity clothes women were forced to wear, on Google….. but, I was happy. I was going to have a baby. I tried to remember everything mom had told me about how joyful it all was, wishing, wishing, she could be with me.

When it happened, I was at work in a shoe department of a local department store similar to Zellers or Target, in the old days. I was alone that morning, pushing a counter of rubber boots across the floor. I went to the bathroom… blood… everywhere…

Telling this is making me feel sick… :(. I tried not to cry out, to be mature and make my way back to my department where there was a phone on the desk. I called my boss, the doctor and my husband at work, in that order. The receptionist where he worked insisted on knowing why I wanted to talk to him. What was I going to say? I can’t remember because my whole being was in panic mode and time did not exist. Before I knew it, my boss and my husband were there, thankfully it was back in the corner of the store. Hubby rushed me to the Dr.’s office as he had directed me earlier, on the phone.

I was told I had a 50/50% chance of having a successful pregnancy, to go home and put up my feet.

My mother in law came over for an hour or so that night as hubby had to go back to work. My brother came over for a bit and then left. He was pretty useless. I was running around cleaning the house, in particular, sweeping floors because laying around wasn’t working for me. I felt I had to ‘do” something.

Then I went to bed… The cramping began with a vengeance, as they say. I remember feeling like a dog running around in circles chasing its tail. I was on all fours on my bed, circling and circling in screaming pain. I was alone and terrified.

Eventually, the cramping subsided, and I lay there in utter exhaustion, waiting to die. I didn’t expect to wake up in the morning and I made peace with that.

I slept soundly and when I awakened to a bright, clear morning, I could hear life outside – Birds singing and children laughing down the street. Everything was calm. I was so shocked that I was alive. I didn’t want to be, I think. I called for my husband who had gone to sleep on the couch downstairs. He took me to the Dr and after the examination, I learned there was no life growing in me. Apparently it had expelled into the toilet. Dr.casually asked if I had seen it in the toilet before I flushed, (in the dark of the night before I lay down to die.)

He then set up an appointment for a D & C. I was 22 years old.. I was broken. After the D & C the next day, a nurse came into the double room. She loudly asked if I was the one there who had the abortion. I was horrified and exclaimed that I had “LOST MY BABY.” I was so horrified I sobbed for a long time. Eventually she came back to apologize to me and explain the difference between ‘spontaneous’ abortion and not. It was too late. I was broken even more.

My husband and I mourned separately. I wanted my mom. I wanted my daddy, I wanted someone to comfort me. There was no one.

So I got over it eventually as we must, and listened to other women tell me about there own experiences. That was how I learned how common it is for women to have miscarriages. That fact has never made it easier for me. but it has given me insight into life and death in general. That experience has helped me be a better Social Worker and friend to other women. I went on to give birth to three wonderful children who have never heard this whole story. My daughter is giving birth in about 2 weeks to her second child in 15 years. I wasn’t there for the first one and am planning to be this time.

I have a hard time reading some of the postings here, but I am happy that I can finally tell my story. For a while recently, something triggered an epiphany of some sort, that I had caused my own baby’s death that day while pushing the table of rubber boots. And then I remembered. We all pass through this life at different times, for different reasons and we all make our mark on others, whether directly or indirectly. I had to let it go and just be Mona. I believe I will one day meet the spirit of my child and we will rejoice.

Thank you for hosting this group and offering me the chance to tell my story. It helps.

Mona Hill