Monday, November 23, 2009

there is no arguing with you

i'd like to speak to my dead baby, please.
the one without a casket, birthed
without my witness.

they said ' don't look '
and i'm glad i did not -
i was afraid of my own child.

the tubes where there would be ears
or - the ears where there would be
tubes -

i don't know.
i've never seen a dead 13 week old baby.
i never saw mine.

i don't know if that was a penis
curled tight like a dirt covered frond,
or a vagina

in it's tepid pinkish bud.
the beginnings of things are hard.
this is the way

of everything but love,
which must be birthed easily,
bearing so many hardships after all.

' what does it look like? '
i cried out. no one answered me,
not even my sweetest husband.

' don't look, don't look '
i sobbed.
the doctor sheepish, pale

watching over my shoulder
as he carried our baby away.
never answered -

and i never expected him to.
like God
all knowing,

and perfectly silent-
carrying all those dead babies
up to wherever dead babies go.

i'd like to speak to mine-
but there is no arranging
this kind of meeting.

who to ask?
the priest doesn't believe in me.
the devil doesn't care.

i speak into my husband's mouth
where the words gurgle miserably.
this December

baby was due
to be born.

baby was due.
and i fall short,
having no life to offer

this baby of mine
who i never saw,
never heard,

never felt.
only the grinding yawn of contraction,
the purplish torrents of blood

announced this child's existence,
marked the place of birth.
gone as if waiting to be placed

in my arms the day i die.

Maggie May said...

sometimes i cannot stand that i don't know if our baby was a girl or a boy. it feels like i am doing something wrong and selfish, not finding out. to make it easier for myself, i don't know what little there was to know about my baby. is that ok with me or not. i don't know.

Amber said...

I wonder if ours was a boy or girl all the time. I did the Draino test the day I found out...the earlier the better the instructions said. It came out girl...and it had been correct for the 2 prior pregnancies, and the one after that too. But the last pregnancy, it was I don't know if it was a girl or boy. I would like to know I think...then I think it's too painful to know certain. I'm sorry for you...I was thinking today about my lost's been almost 4 years already. It's getting easier...

Petunia Face said...

That is the power of poetry--you made me feel (as much as I can) your pain. And oh how I wish I could hug you, because I have no words to say in return.

rachel... said...

Maggie, I don't think you could have known, even if you'd wanted to at the time.

I'm so sorry. I can't say anything else, except that I know December will be hard for you, and I understand.

Angie Muresan said...

I am so sorry Maggie. For you, for Amber, for myself. I've had two miscarriages, one at 8 weeks and the other at 14 weeks in the years between my children. And when the house is quiet and everyone's asleep, my thoughts inevitably go there and dwell far longer than they should. I love that poem. Could barely read it for the tears were flowing down my face. Thank you.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

I am so sorry for your pain.

I read that the Buddhists say miscarried and still-born babies have already learned all the life lessons they needed to in past lives, and now they only have to touch on this earth long enough to be wanted and loved before they get to go to Nirvana.

I like to believe this is true.

Vashti said...

My heart is heavy for you today my friend.
I am praying for peace for you.
Love always.

Garden Pheenix said...


That was raw... thanks for that

Mwa said...

So perfect. x

Boozy Tooth said...

I have never in my entire life read anything so powerful as this. And in its sadness, it is still beautiful.

I am so sorry for your pain.

Ju said...

So sad, and beautifully written at the same time.

Unknown said...

I'm so sorry that it is such a difficult time for you. I have never been in your situation but I know that losing someone is difficult. I hope it gets easier for you.

Rachael said...

You may not have been able to tell at 13 weeks with much certainty (the boy or girl part.) (I doubt that makes it much easier.) Still, I'm sad for you that you didn't get the chance to see or touch the baby. Or that if you had the chance, you didn't know then, through your grief, what you would wish now. Sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you.

Beth said...

The love and longing you feel are a way of speaking to your precious baby - that's what I believe.
Small comfort, I know...

Annie said...

I cried today reading your poem. If I could hug you through the air, I would hug you now. I can't know how you feel, but I feel for you.

Kay said...

such a tough and tragic subject, finding the meaning...maybe one of those things that you can never really find the answer to. A heart-felt write, and the last line, left with hope for that ever longing conversation... *hugs*

Shaista said...

Beautiful Maggie, you always have the power to rob me of words; after your words mine seem helpless. I cannot walk in your shoes for this pain, but I thank you for being a present and real inspiration in my life.

Lora said...

I have a hard time with this, every time I miscarry.

I make up names. Favorite colors. Genders.

I put together genetic codes, inventing the way my dead baby would have looked at birth, at one, at (insert current supposed-to-be age here)

I cried in front of my Christmas decorations Sunday, for all the babies who won't see them. Who won't squint their eyes at the lights or bat at the balls with their fat little knuckleless baby hands.

Thank you for giving me a space to get this all out. A space where it is appreciated and understood rather than laughed at or stared at strangely while the listener tries to come up with a way to change the subject.

Unknown said...

I'm still bummed for you. :(

Ms. Moon said...

Same, same. I had a fairly late miscarriage once and I asked the doctor- can you tell if it's a boy or a girl? No one answered. They kept sending me from the ER to L&D where the nurse finally shouted, "I can't put a dirty case on my table."
I'll never forget that. Ever. And then my blood pressure dropped, dropped and finally someone did something but no one told me anything about that baby.
Oh Maggie. Women's lives are so hard. We are programmed to love beyond reason but given no defense when the objects of our love go on without us.

justmakingourway said...

Oh, Maggie. I know you don't need me to say that this is the time to hug those around you tightest of all. Or just let yourself weep if you need to. I wish I had words to offer that would truly comfort. Thinking of you and sending you strength.

Allison the Meep said...

I had no idea you've gone through such a terrible loss so recently. I could feel your heart break in that poem, and the pain and what ifs that you must carry with you.

I'm sorry. I know that sounds so small and empty, but I really am sorry that you or anyone would have to endure that. And I hope this December you'll be surrounded by love.

krista said...

it's going to be a long december, is it not?

Barrie said...

I think, Maggie May, that you do what is best for you at the time. Which means it wasn't wrong or selfish. Not at all. Just what's best. We're all muddling through. Thinking of you from over in East County xo

Life As I Know It said...

I'm so sorry for you.
I lost one at 12 weeks, and every so often (more than I like), I think about how old the baby would have been. And whether it was a girl, or not. We always remember our babies.
Lovely, lovely poetry. Wishing you some peace, especially during this next month.

Phoenix said...

So here's a radical idea:

Write down on a piece of paper all the qualities, "masculine" and "feminine" qualities, that you looked forward to your child displaying - like strength, sense of humor, gentleness, intelligence, etc.

When you want to talk to your child, address each quality specifically, treating as if it were a boy if you are addressing a masculine quality and a girl if you are addressing a feminine quality. Have dialogue, tell him/her how much you miss him/her, and let yourself grieve.

My heart aches along with yours, though I have never had such a loss. I think this speaks to the power of your talent and I pray that in the coming months you are strong enough to overcome this hardship.

I am wrapping so much love around you right now, Maggie May.

Nancy C said...

There is no right or wrong thoughts or answers to this, just lots of love coming your way.

PurestGreen said...


Anonymous said...

i'm sorry maggie..i lost a baby early in the pregnancy a few years ago. i still think about getting up before the sun rose and thinking we were the only two awake. later i got pregnant again, with my daughter. it's hard. i read somewhere that each pregnancy is a part of your physical make up your whole life. something like that. somehow this is consoling even if scientific. that we are always together in this physical respect too.

marlamuppets said...

oh the ache. a wound that never heals.
i believe, with my whole heart, that when this happens, your baby is not gone. he goes right back to a loving heavenly father. and he waits for you in heaven. you will hold him again.
i don't understand how it works, but i know that it does.

Rebecca said...

It makes me feel like such a bad person because I'd want to see. Not from a shocking point of view, but from a medical point of view. From a completely 'I'm extremely curious' point of view. I miscarried when I was only about 10 weeks along and 'nature took its course'. I remember being so interested in the thick blood that passed during this period....moving it around on the toilet paper, wanting to see something. I never saw anything but blood.

Sometimes, I wish we could have gone just a little longer so I could have held the baby...even if it would have only been in the palm of my hand. I wanted to see this baby. That's the only part I'm sad about....that I never saw the baby. Didn't even make it far enough along to make it to the OB for the first visit. It was never real to me.

Steph(anie) said...

There's nothing I can say, but I can't say nothing. The idea of being reunited in that other place is a tender one.

Kate Moore said...

No. No arguing. I'm sorry.

Elizabeth said...

Perhaps the baby was neither girl nor boy, but both, conceived in love and filled with hope and expectation and not yet quite corporeal. Such a loss -- I am sad for you but know your strength, a bit, and I imagine that will carry you through. Love to you this month and onward.

Simply Mel {Reverie} said...

Such timely words for me because my dear friend just suffered this horrific loss at 12 weeks. I believe your beautiful, poignant words will do her good - to know others suffer with the same pain and questions. I'll share. And I'll hope. Hope for good and peace to slather your soul.

Captain Dumbass said...

That just hurt to read.

Mystic Thistle said...

I'm so sorry. This is one of the most painful things. I always wish I knew the gender of our lost one too and feel a strange guilt about that. I wonder what that desire/guilt is? What is it? Why? I don't know. You've written about your loss with such depth and such truth, and it mirrors how strange and confusing, bewildering it all is. Sending you love this December.

Anonymous said...

i am so so sorry, maggie!
it´s so hard to say anything---

i love when poetry is therapy.


Courtney said...

I'm so sorry Maggie May.

You are lovely. This poem is heartbreakingly lovely.

Hugs and smiles from me to you.

Annje said...

I keep coming back to read this poem. I am so glad you share your processing of it with us, when the pain is so intensly personal. I am sorry and I wish you comfort. There is nothing about the way you experience something like this that can be said to be selfish. I think it is perfectly fine to love someone you didn't get to hold as fiercely as those you do.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I love you. I am so sorry you had to go through something so horrible. I don't know what else to say.

I wish you peace.

Love, SB.

David Cranmer said...

I haven't been that deeply moved by poetry in a long time.

Christine said...

Wow. Words pretty much escape me.

I know the pain that comes with this, and I feel your pain on not knowing and never knowing. It drove me batty in the beginning. I wanted to name it, think in "he" or "she" instead of "it". And I needed to SEE the baby, but I missed that opportunity as well.

I just went through my due date month -- October. No, it wasn't easy, especially with friends having babies left and right. It will be hard, but you'll get through it.

There will always be a hole, an ache, I'm sure. And I know that truly no words can make the situation better or make you feel better. So I just send hugs. Lots of love. And empathy. With more love.

swonderful said...

Oh gosh. I know. And I'm sorry.

home girl said...

i think of my two missacrriages as my litle girls. am feeling your pain xx

Masala Chica said...

I am so sorry for your loss. That poem was extremely powerful. I know words may sometimes seem empty, but yours are full of your pain.

so sorry.

Ellen said...

This was the most moving poem I have read. It feels wrong to thank you for writing but as a woman I feel the importance and healing by writing is more powerful than we realize. I am sorry for your loss beyond words, beyond the fact I don't know you except through this blog yet if I could hug you and express the bond as a woman feeling loss I would.

* said...

I've never had a miscarriage. But after reading this poem, I feel that I have. With you.

Petit fleur said...

Dear Maggie,

I ache for you about this. I can't even imagine how this must feel.

I'm to to risk sharing something with you... It might sound trite if face of your struggle with grieving your baby, but then again, it might be of some comfort. That is my hope.

I have heard of an eastern philosopy that helps me to cope with child tradedy, and it goes something like this. According to this philosophy, there are some souls that when they are incarnated, they only need to touch down into the physical ever so briefly to get whatever "knowledge" they need to carry them on to whatever is next. Supposedly these are very advanced souls. Their journey here is meant to be brief and then they go on to the higher
realm(s). I don't know. It helps me to find solice in things I can't understand or accept.

Sending love and healing,
xo pf

anymommy said...

I didn't know it could be said that exactly. I am so sorry Maggie, for this pain. I know it too.

Juniper said...

Am so sorry to hear that you lost your baby, I hope that you are surrounded my love as you grieve. Wishing you strength of spirit this December and in the time ahead. She/he will be with you always, if not in body then spirit. I am a believer that things come back around and when it comes to something like this perhaps this little being is nearer than you think, a bird at your window, I do think they cut back through the stars and try and touch you in some way or other. I hope somehow there can be peace.
Your poem is very beautiful and moving.

Amy said...

Maggie May, I am so sorry for your loss. Of course, I haven't the words for such loss but you have strung together words here, so painful and beautiful, that you have shown a glimmer into your crushing loss. I am helpless to do anything other than offer you a virtual hug.

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