Bite Your Tongue

I found myself biting my tongue a few weeks ago. And I will tell you, that if Gabriel's death has taught me anything, it's to bite my tongue. I'm still not as good at listening to others, behaving with gentleness and kindness and compassion, as I would like to be. I'm still learning the discipline of silence, shutting down my need to be right, to appear smart and with it, and capable. I'm still learning the truth behind the words that I'd rather have someone think me a fool because of my silence, than open my mouth and conclusively prove it.

As the taste of blood filled my mouth, I heard a woman telling me that she understood exactly what it was like to lose Gabriel, based on her very recent 10 week miscarriage. I'd rather the blood filled my mouth than boiled in my body. I'd rather I clenched my jaw and my hands, than feel my heart clench and my mouth open as a result of the sting in the words.

Because that's not true. And it isn't that this wasn't a painful, horrible and traumatic experience. She loved her baby, she wanted her baby, she was going to have a baby, and then in a sudden moment that hope and dream and wish was gone. And that hurts. It just plain does.

But it hurts me that she used my very different experience, it feels like she co-opted it. Because a miscarriage is different than giving birth to a dying baby.

Glow in the Woods had a post from a grief counsellor today, and this grief counsellor remarked that we each need to feel companionship and support from those around us, while still having others acknowledge our unique experiences. This well, resonated with me. I believe it. That we need commonality, but also to be allowed to have different things to grieve. And I was trying to error on the side of her feeling not so alone, that there were others out there. But. . . .

My dead baby is not yours. Wrapped up in Gabriel's life, encoded in the DNA of memory, is the last kick, the need to push, sitting on the floor holding him. Wrapped up in Gabriel is a child who gasped for breath, with us for 30 minutes. Wrapped up in the memory is holding my son as he died. Wrapped up in my memory is passing 12 weeks of pregnancy, and thinking, believing, really, knowing, that all the risk was over. I was going home with a baby.

Wrapped up in my grief is not just the loss of Gabriel, but the loss of any right to have a carefree pregnancy in the future. In the middle is the confession that Mr. Spit made 6 months after Gabe's birth, that they told him I was going to die. The knowledge that I am extremely high risk. I will get sick again. Wrapped up in Gabriel's death is the knowledge that we cannot seem to have another child. In the midst of the grief for Gabriel is the sad statement that we have a baby in heaven, and we aren't very able to have more.

And it cost me something to bite my tongue. It cost me something to not correct her. I bite my tongue. Sometimes hard. In the end, I'd rather bite my tongue, until the metallic taste of blood hits my senses, than shut down or shut out some one's story.

But, it hurt. Stories are so different.