Support in Difficult Times
You have probably all heard the adage, “You are either pregnant or you’re not.” That is not necessarily so, if being pregnant is defined as carrying a viable fetus.
Before we married, I told my husband that I didn’t want to have children though I later changed my mind. Our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage as though God was saying, “OK, lady, now that you have decided you do want kids, you are going to have to work for it.” I had no idea.
During the fifth month of our second pregnancy, the doctor asked me when was the last time I had felt movement. Things went downhill from there as we were told that the baby had died in utero. Further, we were advised to just wait and see how long it would take me to spontaneously go into labor. That meant I was pregnant, looked quite pregnant, but knew the baby was dead. Quickly word spread around the neighborhood and not one person was compassionate, brave, nosy or whatever to mention our plight to me. I didn’t hide out. In fact, I helped serve a volunteer fire department supper which is about as public as you can get in this community. Everybody comes. No one asked how long until I would deliver which at least would have told me that not every single person knew. No one mentioned anything.
After two months of being in limbo Dr. Neu, the specialist we were working with, told me I would need to be induced. This was back when the Rapid City Hospital’s obstetrics ward was sort of a barracks affair, with cloth curtains dividing the “rooms.” There I was, in intense labor, knowing I was delivering a dead baby, and listening to an unwed 14-year old imminent mother screaming and a fetal monitor loudly broadcasting her unborn baby’s heartbeat on one side of me.
We were members of a church of perhaps 300 people; they knew our difficulties but said nothing. I thought that was very strange but I knew that neither they nor my neighbors had any idea what to say.
The lesson I learned was to not ignore a plight. A simple, “I’m sorry” lets the person know you are aware and saddened. If the person wants to talk or give details, you can listen, but don’t ask.
These memories came to me when I heard of a young gal who lives away from here and was going through the same thing. I didn’t feel like I knew her well enough to contact her directly, so I sent messages through a common friend, just to let her know she’s not alone in knowing the process.
We were later blessed with two boys a couple of years apart — exactly what I prayed for — and I likely appreciated them even more due to our sorrows. We’ve been blessed.
Peggy writes from the family farm where she enjoys spending time frequently with her eight grandchildren. Naturally all are brilliant and beautiful (ask any grandma!) Her internet latchstring is always out at email@example.com.