Today I bought a box. Husby and I went and found it together, paid for it together, and will hopefully fill it together. It’s smallish, a pretty shade of beige and has some striped fabric and a cute wooden horse on the front. It was labelled as a keepsake box, which is what we want it for. Naturally it was in the aisle with the baby things, and I tried quite hard not to mind that it was next to the pink and blue boxes with a space for a photo of the baby on the lid.
The thing is, when you lose a baby at a very early stage of pregnancy, there’s nothing tangible; nothing for you to hold. This most devastating of circumstances, when you’re halfway through losing your child (and afterwards, looking back) appears, physically, to be a bit of a non-event. This may be part of the reason people (and yes, I use the term generalisingly, sweepingly and (probably) wrongly) are able to sweep miscarriage under the rug. That and it’s difficult to bring up in normal, non-miscarriage-related conversation.
So my very wise counselor suggested that I get a box (a pretty one) and fill it with things to help me remember our child – to help both of us remember. We already chose a name, and I thought that this was a pretty good step along the road to coming to terms – when we miss a person, when we mourn their loss, it’s much easier if they have a name, a handle, to think of them as. Not being named seems dehumanising (I’m sure there’s some psychology to it somewhere) and in accepting the miscarriage and the loss, I’ve found it very helpful to have a name to remember. Somewhere on the box I’ll write this name (though with the book I’ve been reading lately, the style of handwriting suddenly seems terribly important).
The other thing I was challenged to, when I had a small outburst about how much I hated the term ‘miscarriage’ because of its inference that there had been a mishap or mistake which had resulted in miscarriage, was to come up with another term. I also discovered that I didn’t like the way that the carriage-ing was all about the mother (very rarely is miscarriage anything to do with the mother, as I understand it) and in no way acknowledging of the child (who usually managed to have some DNA not zipped up right, which is often the cause in early pregnancy losses). So I came up with the term ‘neverborn’. I checked on Google – it’s not being used for anything popular, so I feel I can filch it.
So here it is – the first thing to go in my box – my letter to Jesse, who I love but will never meet in this life.