Photo: Ali Karimiboroujeni
Written by Flora Frei
I was eight weeks pregnant when doctors found out that the embryo is no longer alive. It was as sad as it was likely – a third of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, but I felt like the pain of my loss was hidden under a cloud of silence. Books and blogs tell us to keep the first three months of your pregnancy for yourself, and that means also keeping a huge part of your life a secret.
It is perfectly fine to keep this intimate and transforming experience for yourself as long as you feel like it – no pressure. There is already way too much of it in all those “how-to-behave guidelines” around pregnancy and motherhood. However, my love and my joy, my rage and my pain are not just private issues. They are expressions of my life, they are a vital part of myself and they affect the community around me. Unearthing and sharing them is an act of rebellion, telling us how we ought to live and love and especially what our bodies are supposed to do.
The most powerful lesson you taught me was that letting go is an act of love. Never before was I able to let someone go without any resentment or sorrows at all – how much of the pain we suffer comes from the love we withhold? The past year I had been struggling with letting go of a relationship, and here you are teaching me this very raw and tender life-lesson. Making me feel all the beauty and strength in the vulnerability of a farewell. Even though you are leaving, somehow I feel closer to you than ever.
Pregnancy is holding something you have no control of. Those moments where I let go of control are comforting to me, like sitting in the quiet heart of a storm, and while things are falling apart, I am still being held by life. Letting go of the need to control doesn’t take away my responsibility or the power of my actions, rather they put everything into a humbling perspective. There are things I can influence and fight for, but also there are things I can only surrender to, like the flow of life and death.
I went to the hospital to have a medicated abortion. As I lay in a hospital bed, cramping and sweating and puking and bleeding, I yearned to weave my experience into the bigger picture, to connect my emotional and physical labor, to trust my body, to trust the process. I yearned for the earth under my feet and the sky above my head. The embryo came out of me with a flow of blood, and there I was, in the hospital bathroom, crying of relief, of happiness and grief. Oh, my heart, you wild vessel of emotions.
I shared the room with another woman, who had uterine inflammation. She asked if I needed help. I said “I am fine. It came out”. That’s all we had talked so far, yet I felt connected to her. Our eyes met in our suffering, seeing each other’s strength.
The hospital is there to keep my body going, and I am thankful for that. However in our society, tending our emotional wounds, caring and healing is too often done alone. We bear and swallow the burden by ourselves, instead of being able to collectively grasp, mourn and transform our pain together. As a community, growing into our capacity for grief means also growing into our capacity for joy. Sharing our sadness means understanding and lingering our pain. Sharing our anger means forging a sword against those that keep us down.
To my sweet little belly being, my love, my teacher, thank you for being with me for a little while. Here I am, holding you, whispering: The beginning of what we do not know is a new light in a new world.
About the Author:
Flora loves trees and herbs, dancing and hanging around humans, that share her affection and humor. She* believes that coming together, sharing our stories and mutual aid are the nurturing foundations against isolation and alienation as well as for our (inside and outside) fight against the many forms of patriarchy. She wrote a theater play, zines and articles about human relationships of all kind, involving queer and climate activism, witch hunts and herbs.