Hi little one,
I wrote you a little something as short-lived you spent in my belly. You sure looked like a little shrimp back then, you were probably no bigger than a chickpea, you didn’t have a name yet, but I knew you were a little boy.
I just want to tell you that it’s OK with me that you decided not to dive into life. Maybe you had some other super chill plans with your shrimp friends … but hey, that’s okay.
You sure have missed plenty of opportunities to stuff yourself with chocolate. First of all because I would have loved you so much that I would never have been able to say “no” to you. You and your small little face! And second of all, because I would have wanted you to taste the best in life! It will be for another time!
Sorry, I didn’t put on my big Sunday words because I wanted to talk to you about our family story freely without getting bogged down in a cumbersome lexicon.
It was the weekend of our move that the little pregnancy test told us that you were building a mini-house in my stomach. We were pretty happy!
A weekend later, we were at my family’s for my nieces’ birthday without even suspecting that in my lower abdomen, there was a whole other party happening.
This is when I started to bleed. I went outside with your dad to call Health Info to find out if I should go to the hospital. We wanted to make sure you were OK.
It was a long time before we had answers to our questions because the onset of the pandemic also affected the telephone lines. The nurse who finally answered us told us to go to the emergency room.
So we informed your grandmother of your existence and also that we were heading to the hospital. I’m sure she would have preferred to learn about you another way, but she doesn’t blame you, I know that. She was the one who told the rest of the family what was going on. That sure kills a party!
At the hospital, I was lucky your daddy was there to give us strong, yet gentle hugs because I was pretty sad. I’m sure you felt them. In fact, he accompanied us for all the examinations, blood tests, and ultrasounds. He didn’t speak much, but he was there.
The doctor told us that 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage.
In 50% of cases, we cannot determine the exact cause and the other 50% is due to uterine abnormalities, endocrine diseases, coagulation disorders, genetic abnormalities in men or women, or low ovarian reserve. The reproductive system and the chain of reactions necessary to terminate a pregnancy are extremely complex.
Basically, it’s nobody’s fault.
In our case, it was a mysterious mystery.
During the next two weeks, I had to do a blood test every 2 days to make sure the pregnancy hormone is completely gone from my system. Repeated injections, bruises on the forearms and blood, more blood… It hurt every time and not just physically.
While waiting for you to complete your cycle, I listened to nice music and let the little waves of sadness pass.
Before I completely let you go, I have a couple of things to tell you. You know … your short life was so brief that I didn’t have time to give you all the advice from mom that I would have liked … Because you know, being a little boy comes with a lot of responsibilities.
1) Be nice to girls
First of all, in life, it’s not just chocolate that’s cool, but girls are also cool. You are going to meet a lot of very nice girls like your half-sister, your grandmothers, my friends, me, etc.
There are going to be tall girls, short girls,and those. who laugh loudly. Girls of all possible and imaginable skin colours. Others who are plump and you find it takes longer to go around them, like Melissa’s grandmother. There are some who are always in a good mood, even in the morning, like your grandma. I know, it’s weird …
You will meet girls with eyes full of experiences, girls full of bright ideas. You will have to respect and accept them ALL! I’m telling you this because boys have some kind of invisible power in society and girls have had it a little tough in recent centuries. I’m talking about abuse, oppression, inequality, etc.
2) Recognize that a great strength resides in you (Not the muscles you see on social media. Another kind of strength, the one inside you!). You shouldn’t use it to control and dominate, but to protect and build, using it at the service of nature and your community.
3) Be at peace with who you are, assume your masculinity, and don’t let anything or anyone undermine it, because a small man with weak masculinity is destructive.
Yes, boys cry“like girls”, they like unicorns and things with sparkles on it. You are much bigger and more complex than those stereotypes that say otherwise.
4) Menstruation is neither taboo nor yucky!On the contrary, it is what will make you materialize in this world (if you want to). So it’s going to be super important to honour that aspect of the lives of the women around you.
5) Use your heart to guide your words and your actions. Be sensitive and gentle with yourself and those around you.
6) Surround yourself with positive and inspiring role modelswho lift you up and push you to seek the best in yourself. Drakeis NOT an inspiring role model.
7) Try to understand your emotions and take responsibility for them, it will help you a lot. They are like a detector showing you your wounds, those parts of you that need light and love.
You will also need to learn to express how you feel. If you allow yourself to be overcome by your emotions and keep them only to yourself, it will hurt both you and those around you.
8) Show your vulnerability, it will allow you to develop intimate and deep relationships with others.
9) Don’t let your ego run your life and effect your relationships Laugh at your blunders. My friend Érica would tell you that life is just a big game, so don’t take yourself too seriously!
Before I finish, I want you to know that no, it’s not cool to put on shoes in the winter, even if all your friends do it. You’ll find yourself at the corner of the street waiting for the bus with frozen feet just like a fish. Why? To look for the approval of others. I’m telling you right now, put on your boots.. And no cell phones before 14 years old!
That’s about everything for now.
In the meantime, every time my cycle starts again, I’m heartbroken to get my period, not because I’ll be bloated for the next 6 days, but because that means you did not hang on.
Anyway, when you’re ready, me and your daddy, we’ll be on the shore waiting for you and eating chocolate. Goodbye, my little shrimp!
So as you have read this dialogue with my traveling shrimp, here are some statistics on the terminations of pregnancies.
Miscarriages in numbers:
- 80 % of miscarriages occur in the 1stquarter (between the1stand the 13thweek);
- 50% to 75% of miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that women do not even know they were pregnant;
- 15% to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage;
- 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage for women 40 and older;
- 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage for women between the ages of 35 and 39 years old.
Miscarriage, a Taboo?
A taboo is a: ” subject that is forbidden to discuss. “
Is it taboo in Quebec? I don’t think so.. Is miscarriage a topic that is rarely discussed? Yes.
After my experience, I understand why. Not because it is taboo or because it is socially unacceptable, but because it is difficult to talk about. Simply.
It’s not easy to mourn a child, a family project, and the hopes that all of that entails. Many women feel guilty,the feeling they have failed.
Before writing this article, about my miscarriage, I did not want to share it, but to experience it in privacy with my boyfriend. This is probably the case with many other families.
Losing a fetus leaves a wound no matter at what stage of pregnancy. Every time I talked about it, I felt like I was undoing the stitches one by one and then playing in the wound despite the fact that those around me were encouraging, caring, and positive.
From my experience, it was neither the society nor the taboos that kept me silent.
The important thing is to let women and men go through this ordeal in their own way, without judgment, without trivializing the experience, to be present and to accompany them to findthe necessary help.
What about the Dads?
I would like to add a little word of encouragement to the dads left-behind who sometimes mourn in silence. By wanting to be a pillar of strength for their partner, they sometimes don’t have space to experience their emotions.
Take care of them.. Ask them how they are feeling, and listen carefully.
Miscarriages: A food for thought …
As I mentioned above, my doctor told us that 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage. He also added that this number would have doubled since the beginning of his practice. According to him, this is due in part to the environment in which we live.
Yeh … that leaves you thinking …
Here are some resources to help you with perinatal grief:
Quebec Parental Insurance Plan Quebec
To find out if you are entitled to work leave
1 888 610-7727
Hotline service related to pregnancy and termination of pregnancy.
1 877 662-9666
Info-Health and Info-Social : 811
Find out what to do if you have bleeding during pregnancy.
Coming back with empty arms (CHU Sainte-Justine)
Perinatal bereavement video series: