The Picture of Heartbreak

Monday, October 8, 2012

Throwing it out wasn’t an option, but I knew it needed to be out of my sight, buried. I tucked it into the baby book — of all places — and tried to never look back. And that worked, for a good while. The little 4×4 black, glossy photo with its slapdash white border was hidden away, in between the pages about safety during childbirth and banking your own blood. The photo was effectively gone, but the fact remained: I had lost that little grey bean in the photo.

Only eight weeks along, the baby must have been as light as a feather, nestled in my ready, happy womb. Only eight weeks along, the weight of the heartbreak was more than I could have imagined.

“I just wanted a baby,” I said, at first whispered. It soon melted into a wretched beg howled on repeat into my soggy pillow. I just wanted a baby.

People were quick to tell me that miscarriage was common. So common, but still no one talked about it. I wanted to talk about it, about how unfair it felt, about how angry I felt, about how destroyed I felt. More than devastated, beyond broken, I was a new brand of sad, and it was powerful.

A few weeks ago, I was looking for an old book about travel writing in our back-up bookcase. Shifting things around quickly, it tumbled out, landing on my bare foot: the five-year-old photo of the fetus that never was. The gloss on it had dimmed,  and it landed — of course — face up. When my eye adjusted to the gloom of it, I held my breath. Scooping it up for a closer look, I felt a flutter in the center of my chest.

Then, somehow, I caught myself. I let the storm of all of it blow right by, and I stayed standing firmly in Now. I carefully slipped the photo right back into the baby book without a lingering wish and returned to my original hunt.


For those doing the #30WriteNow October Challenge, bravo — one week down! The prompt (if you need it) for Day 8 is HEARTBREAK. 


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