Friday, January 20, 2017

Saying goodbye

I read a great opinion piece/personal essay today about saying goodbye to the idea of President Hillary Rodham Clinton (and, at the same time, coming to terms with the reality of President Donald Trump). As I read the article, though, I had a weird sense of deja vu.

And then I realized. The feelings the author was writing about -- the sense of loss and betrayal, of having to cope with a completely different and unwelcome outcome than what she had expected -- were the same things I felt about my lost pregnancy, 18+ years ago.

Read the article yourself. Then consider: 
  • "Like many others in the New York bubble, I was in no way prepared for the outcome on November 8." 
    • (Like many others in the bubble of a blissful pregnancy, I was in no way prepared for the outcome when I went for my ultrasound on August 5, 1998.)  
  • "Like so many women around the world, I felt like I knew Presidential Candidate Clinton... Hers would have been a feminist presidency..."
    • (Like so many pregnant women, I felt like I knew my baby. I knew the kind of little girl, teenager, young woman, that she would grow up to be.)  
  • "We can only dream of the capability she would have brought to the White House. We can only imagine the perfectionism she would have brought to the presidency." 
    • (I can only dream of the things my little girl would have done. I can only imagine the light she would have brought to our lives and to the world.) 
  • (THIS line in particular -- added emphasis mine.)  "There will be a Madam President someday. But I wanted this one: this ball-busting, sharp-witted, stereotype-defying legend of a woman, this “anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better” beacon of determination, who was so adept at smashing glass ceilings."
    • (People told me there would be another baby someday. (There wasn't.) But even so, at the time, I didn't want to hear that. I didn't like people offering the carrot of another baby as an easy solution, a panacea to my pain. I didn't like the feeling that they wanted me to have another baby ASAP, if only so I'd shut up and not remind them about the one I just lost & the grief I was feeling. As I have heard other bereaved mothers say -- I didn't want just another baby -- I WANTED THAT ONE. I knew there might be another baby someday (there wasn't), and yes, I wanted another baby. I wanted to be a parent -- the parent of a living child. But I also knew that even if I had a dozen other children, they would never fill that particular void in my life. There would never, ever be another Katie.) 
  • "Though there’s a good chance I’ll cry every time I see her for the rest of my days, it’s time to lay my Clinton Presidency dreams to rest. But we should never lay to rest the ideas she embodied: that ambition is healthy and women can do anything they want to do." 
    • (Though there's a good chance I'll cry every time I think about her and what might have been for the rest of my days, I know that, at age 56, I have laid my dreams of parenthood to rest. But I will never lay to rest the certain knowledge that I had a little girl named Katie, once;  that my grief over losing her was and still is justified, normal and healthy;  and that I am a mother, whether or not the world knows or chooses to acknowledge it.) 
Am I reading too much into this?  What do you think?


  1. Great article and great post. And no you're not reading to much into it. I see the (heartbreaking in both cases) parallels.

  2. I think you've recognised the common elements in any loss. I've had people say to me every loss is different. Yes, that's strictly true. But every loss is the same too, in many ways. I know, for example, that figuring out how I recovered from my losses enabled me to help my mother when my father died.

    There are definitely similarities. ("I wanted this one." Oh wow, yes.)

    We'll recover from them all, but that doesn't diminish the hurt we felt at the time.

  3. I see all the parallels. And I felt the same sickening feeling of not just being heartbroken but that I'd gotten duped--I'd been so certain that my baby would come home with me (and that Clinton would be elected).