The Untelling

“E., I need you to listen to me.”

E. nodded, looked into my eyes.

“You know how we told you that there was going to be a baby?”

E. nodded again.

“We were wrong. There isn’t going to be a baby anymore.”

E. thought for a moment. “You want Mummy to tell me why there isn’t going to be a baby anymore.”

I took a deep breath. “Sometimes it happens, E. Sometimes we think there’s going to be a baby, but there isn’t.”


I’m lying on the couch, under the blanket that my grandmother made for me before I went to university. It is the afternoon after it happened. Q. is making dinner that no one will want to eat.

E. comes trundling into the room.

“I want to yie down wif Mummy.”

He climbs up on the couch, curls up under the blanket, next to me.

“That makes me feel better,” I tell him. “Mummy is feeling very sick right now and very sad.”

E. thinks for a moment. “I will go and get a Kleenex so Mummy can wipe her tears.”


I called my parents.

I chickened out with my sisters and emailed them instead.

I couldn’t face four phone calls.

I couldn’t cope with Skype.


I told my birth club.

I told my beloved blog readers.

I quit my new birth club.

I told my infertility friends and my May mummy friends, the ones I met in prenatal yoga during my pregnancy with E.

I felt like too many people knew.

I felt like I had to keep writing it over and over again.

But most people in my life didn’t know.

Most people will have no idea my heart is breaking.

We were so close to being able to tell everyone.

But not close enough.


Thursday night I had a terrible dream.

I’ve had terrible dreams all through this pregnancy.

I dreamt that Q. and I were fighting because I didn’t want to be the one who told his mother over Skype.

Then I dreamt I went and had a really hot bath, which I’m not supposed to do until the bleeding stops (because now, now, there is bleeding. After the fact.)

When I woke up I knew that, just like the others, those were just bad dreams.

But then I remembered that some of it was real.


“It’s the untelling that’s the hardest part,” I wrote on my May 2011 birth club, “breaking everyone else’s hearts along with our own.”

“Oh Turia,” one of them replied, “Here you are worried about everyone else.”

But it’s when I have to tell everyone else that it has to be real again and not some terrible bad dream.



Filed under 2.0 Pregnancy, Grief, Loss

5 responses to “The Untelling

  1. Clare

    In having some people around you who know, you have more people who can give you hugs and hand you tissues like E. It’s a small thing, but much better than having to spend all of your time pretending nothing’s wrong.

  2. To prepare you: I bled for what felt like eons after my D&C. I think it was a full month before the spotting stopped. No one prepared me for that, so I want to warn you.

    I didn’t tell many people about our last pg either, but it felt like too many to untell. When enough time passed, I told others about the m/c, mostly to get it of my chest and release it.

    xoxo I wish I could come over with wine and ice cream and an ear. If you need to vent, Turia, please feel free to email me. In the meantime, the only way through the suck is through it. And it sucks. I am so sorry you have to deal with this. 😦

  3. Karen

    I had been worried about my pregnancy from the beginning as the hcg wasn’t going up properly. First ultrasound showed a sac measuring behind. Did another 10 days later as a formality and we’re surprised by a beating heart.
    I wasn’t sure what to feel at that point…tried to protect myself by not getting too attached. Then 2 weeks later the heartbeat was gone. I remember begging the tech to please just look a bit harder.
    It didn’t work to try not to get attached. I was devastated, and I regretted not having enjoyed every blessed moment that I had in fact been pregnant. I also felt foolish for having been so brazen as to tell a few people, but those people were there to try to comfort me and remember that that baby was real.
    Even though it seemed cruel at the time, I am forever grateful to have seen my baby’s beating heart, like he or she was telling us it would be ok.
    I thinking of you and wishing you comfort and healing. E is a treasure.

  4. Honey, the only reason our hearts break is for you. Don’t worry about everyone else. Really. Everyone else is going to be okay. And you are too. You are an amazing mama to E — hold on to that and try not to worry about anything else right now.

    And you know what? If you need to tell others who didn’t know that you’re devastated b/c you just had a loss, tell them. Don’t suffer in silence. It’s not a shameful thing — I hate that society makes it feel that way.

    I’m just thinking of you and wish I could give you a big hug and bring you a care package.

  5. Waking up. I think that might be the cruelest part of loss. Waking up and having to remember again.

    Or maybe the telling is the cruelest part. A tough call.

    We have a children’s book about where babies come from (“what makes a baby”) that has a line about miscarriage. I offer it as an “in case this helps E understand.” I think what you already told him is perfect. The line comes after explaining that making a baby requires egg, sperm, uterus, and that the egg and sperm dance together and share their stories until they have become a new thing. Then it says, “sometimes this little thing does not grow.” (But sometimes it grows into a baby, like you did, is the gist of what follows.)

    Much love.

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