Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Literary Reflections Selected Short – June

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Literary Reflections is pleased to present our featured writing prompt response for June. We asked "Is there a difficult or joyful experience of your own that you have not yet been able to write about? What would it look like if you could paint a scene of it?"

Meredith Hatcher wrote:

Forgiveness Pending

I knew immediately when I saw that pink blot on the tissue paper. My husband heard my hysterical wailing and ran into our tiny bathroom. (Was it hysterical wailing? Or did I call his name? Yell out "No", or maybe "Oh, God"? I remember the horror more clearly than the dialogue.) He had to repeat his frantic "What?" before I could manage to say, "I'm having a miscarriage."

Seven hellish days of ultrasounds, blood work, doctor appointments, and spotting produced no clear answers. I grew to hate the doctor's office and everyone associated with it.

"Still no heartbeat, but it's possible that we were just off on your due date. With a very early pregnancy, a heartbeat isn't always detectable. The pole appears to have gotten slightly smaller. Your hormone levels are low. This is either a six-week pregnancy or a miscarriage."

"There's no way my due date is off by that much," I answered clearly. (Do you KNOW how much time I've spent poring over my calendar these past seven days? How many times I've stared at that one calendar box? I hate that little white calendar box, crowded with smiling doodles, hearts and the screaming words "I'm pregnant!" I hate that little white box almost as much as I hate you!")

"There's no way," I repeated, "I found out I was pregnant ten weeks ago."

"Well then, it looks like we're dealing with a miscarriage."

The discussion that followed yielded one of the most regrettable decisions I've ever made. I chose to have a D&C to remove the baby, and I've doubted that decision since. The valid reasons I once saw for having the D&C now haunt me as weak excuses. (It had been the worst week of my life. I was exhausted and emotional. I couldn't bear to just sit around and wait for a full miscarriage -- a nightmare I imagined of blood and baby gushing down my legs. They said there was a risk of infection if the baby, not living, remained inside of me for too long. I was so sure of my dates. I was so sure when I saw that first pink spot on the tissue paper.)

When I delve into the wreckage of my regret, my computer screen disappoints me with the same hurtful string of unanswerable questions. Was my baby truly ready to go? Did I ask enough or the right questions of the doctor and nurses? Could my baby have survived? Did I give up on him (her?) instead of fighting like a real mother? (Surely only really mothers experience this aching guilt. There's not enough space in 500 words for this guilt.) Can I forgive myself for falling so short of my own expectations?

I try to write about it, but the results always smell more like old library book documentation than freshly-cut green growth. My writing offers up my endless apology, but it falls painfully short of granting me absolution.

Meredith Hatcher may be contacted via meredithhatcher(at)hotmail(dot)com.

Sarah Raleigh Kilts is a proud member of the amazing Motherlode Writers Group (I love you guys!). Her writing has been published in Common Ties. Following her passions led her to discover a new career that’s tons of fun — as an elementary school music teacher to 220 fabulous 3rd 4th and 5th graders she gets to share her love of music and world culture with a captive — though often wiggly and giggly — audience. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area and can sometimes be found (even on school nights!) performing in local watering holes plucking the bass and singing with her hubby Thom in their Indie Rock duo, Diablo’s Dust. Three of their albums are currently available on iTunes.

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