A Scar On Your Heart

As you may have seen in my video, I love reading the Sunday New York Times Style section. So when Viv went down for her nap post-birthday this Sunday, I dug in. I often enjoy the Modern Love essays, but this week’s provoked some tears. It was by a man whose wife had gone through a miscarriage. First it bugged me, because he and his wife didn’t seem that moved by finding out their son had died inside of her. But later on, the emotion is released.


When I did a vlog – “What Not To Say” – about my own miscarriage, I was touched by the kind words people left. Many who have gone through the same sadness. The writer of the Times piece, David Hlavsa, experienced something similar when he told people at his work. He says people he barely knew told him about their own miscarriages. “Grief hauled about, and nowhere to put it down,” he wrote. Which I thought was beautiful and true. Like he writes, if one loses a parent, or spouse, anyone living, breathing, walking around, people have an idea how to treat you and you have a right to be really sad.

But, a miscarriage is a not-so-funny in-between. When we drove away from the doctor’s office, having found out our daughter’s heart had stopped at 14 and half weeks, I was sobbing great, big sobs. Like you do when you’re a kid, like the writer in the Times article described. As I sobbed, with Vivien strapped in the backseat to her car seat and Mark driving, I called my best friend, my family. “I have some very bad news, the baby is gone, she’s gone,” I sobbed, “There is no heartbeat.”

My dad was very sweet and said kind words. “I’m so sorry honey.” But after a few minutes he took a breath and said, “You gave me such a fright.” He went on, “Well, I thought something bad had happened to someone… to someone…” he hesitated, “To someone we have known longer.”

I had to smile a little. He had searched for the gentlest way to say it. “Yes, Dad, I know that would have been worse.” If something had happen to Vivien or my sisters, yes, it would have been catastrophic.

So, I think that’s what “grief hauled about and nowhere to put it down” means. It’s a scar on your heart, but one you tend to keep to yourself.

7 thoughts on “A Scar On Your Heart

  1. Hello,

    You have to excuse my grammar, english is not my fist language.

    Im so sorry for you lost, Im a new reader of you blog and today i saw for first time “What not to say”. I cray badly. My son die almost a year ago, he was 2 days old. And I fell in first hand how insensible people can be. I know that they mean well,like your dad, but they make you fell like is not that bad. Lose a son, no matter if is unborn or a teenager, don’t change the statement : A mom lose a child. period.

    People say to me and me husband how another child will change or life, like Alexander our son, do not already. Other said “well was better sooner that later” How I should processes that? that But the worse comment are the ones that include God. “God give us lesson with every experience” Do I am such a bad person that God need such a cruel lesson? or “Wast not the right time” or “God do everything whit a purpose” Is just mean said that kind of stuff.

    Is unnatural lose a child, is not part of the circle of life, the pain always be there, and we fear a lot more that what we used to because we know. We know how painfully is when everything turn upside dow, But we became survivors of pain and we just hope keep living and loving for the one who love us.


  2. what a wonderful post. i had a miscarriage earlier this year at 11 weeks and I walked around for weeks–well, months–grieving. people–kind people i consider friends–just didn’t understand. and now, even though I’m almost 5 months pregnant again (and yes: grateful that it happened so quickly) I still find myself feeling sad every once in a while for the child that I lost…. for the one i lost. Scar on your heart indeed.

  3. Marie, thank you for writing. I am so sorry for your loss. To give birth and to lose your son, ugh, devastating! He will always be in your heart. That’s why I did “what not to say”. People may mean well, but their words can hurt.
    I remember there is a scene in Ordinary People btw Tim Huttons’ character and Judd Hirsch who is playing his therapist. Hutton has found out a friend of his killed herself and he is distraught. He is saying things like, “i should have…”. Hirsch tries to say, “she wasn’t strong like you, she had problems,etc” Finally Hutton doesn’t want to be talked out of his feelings, he says, “look, I feel bad about this and I just want to feel bad about this.”
    I think of that line when this issue comes up. I don’t want to hear “when one door closes another opens” I just want to feel bad.

  4. I’m so sorry for your loss – I think that to lose a baby in utero is very,very sad, and not something to be demeaned by those “well meaning” people (gimme a break,you tackless louts!) who make all those crass comments like,”it was for the best”, “you’ll have another baby”,or,wait!, my personal favourite: “God doesn’t give us any more than we can handle” -if someone EVER says that to me about ANYTHING…I’ll smack ‘er!

    I lost a pregnancy very early on,our first,after a year at the fertility clinic,but I did grieve….for what was to be. We all have hopes and dreams,and it hurts


  5. wow. i thought of you when i read this. only someone who has every known this pain can understand. loss is loss.

    i smile everytime i see you in the videos starting to show. but i know how bittersweet this pregnancy is. try to relax and enjoy it.

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