a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Miscarriage and Judaism

Posted on: June 25, 2015

pregnacy lossMy wonderful partner and I have been together going on 8 years. And for the last year or so we’ve been quietly trying to conceive, or TTC as us TTCers call it (oh the abbreviations). A bit over one month ago our first successful pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 8 weeks and 6 days. To say that I was heartbroken is to put it lightly.

Devastated.

Depressed.

Angry.

Sad.

(slightly) Suicidal.

Alone.

Scared.

Everyone freaks out when people talk about suicide. And for good reason, so let’s just get this out of the way. The idea to end my life didn’t really cross my mind, but there was a moment when I wondered why G-d would take the life of this child that I wanted so badly, a life I cared for so deeply without knowing. Why G-d would chose to cause pain (and as a result relationship strain) to two people who so much wanted to be parents. It was a dark place.

A few weeks ago one of my online blogger friends (and person I’ve actually met and loves my cats in real life) announced she was pregnant. 6 weeks pregnant and she’s been sharing her journey since then. I was shocked and concerned for her announcing her pregnancy so early until I kept reading the post and she said something that was eye-opening. She was announcing her pregnancy because she was pregnant and she mentioned something to the effect that miscarriage shouldn’t be a secret. Therefore she was sharing her news. Done.

Yeah, I thought. This shouldn’t be something I keep a secret. That this miscarriage has been nearly killing me mentally and physically and emotionally for over a month. Why the fuck can’t I grieve publicly!? (yes, my process took over a month-it’s too raw to share, but I’ll just say that for almost one two weeks I carried my lifeless child in my womb).

Add onto the miscarriage the fact that my partner and I purchased a house. In a smaller city than Seattle. Where we know absolutely zero people.

Miscarriage in and of itself is an isolating event, which is terrible because it’s the most heart-wrenching, gut-punching, soul-shattering experience of my life. And I thought losing my only sister was rough. There is no comparisons, the losses were both life-changing and very different.

And while the isolation I felt in my deepest moments of dark sadness was terrible, the fact that my Jewish tradition offers little sources of comfort was even more hurtful. I honestly, for brief moments, felt like Catholics had it right. It was a fleeting moment, I think Catholics are nuts, with all due respect. But in that month of utter despair the fact that my traditions sees the life of a child as unfulfilled until birth is fucking crap.  It was a life! It had a soul! It was my child! And that child died.

We say b’sha’ah tovah instead of mazel tov because we don’t celebrate something that isn’t. But this was.

It was my baby.

It was my future.

It was my everything.

And there’s no Jewish way to honor that loss.

Thankfully, I found comfort in RitualWell and its prayers and rituals of comfort. A rabbi of mine suggested that I visit the mikvah while I was in NYC, but I couldn’t didn’t. Besides the fact that I was still spotting (would I un-kosher the mikvah?!), I didn’t know how I would return to the waters that transitioned me from a gentile to a Jew … to a mother and then now a grieving mother … ?

My life returned on a trip to NYC. A trip we’d planned before we even moved to the Pacific Northwest. A trip to see beautiful friends wed under a stunning chuppah with the Hudson River as their backdrop. In New York I reconnected with old friends, and while there wasn’t enough time in the days to re-connect with them all, I remembered the person that I am. The Jew that I am. The woman that I am. And the partner that I am.

Seattle is not New York.

Tacoma is not Seattle is not New York.

But it’s where I live and where, G-d willing, I will have a family.

So, I’m back. Writing, thinking, musing, and living my life fully.

The only thing good about the miscarriage (besides summer rose) is the same lesson I learned when my sister died: You only have one life and it’s your choice to live it.

 

4 Responses to "Miscarriage and Judaism"

I’m so sorry for your loss.

Thank you.

I’m sorry. I know it’s incredibly painful.

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