Friday, February 11, 2011

Getting Through by Mary Alford-Carman

I got a call from an acquaintance who read “Inside An Empty Womb,” the essay I wrote for our online magazine and I was touched beyond belief. We had worked together during the summer for the U.S. Census and had briefly connected, sharing our thoughts on motherhood, working and juggling schedules. She didn’t know that I had gone through the infertility process, and she was going through it for the second time around. Her first attempts were similar to mine, but she did have a child who is now a five-year-old son. They want to have another baby, and the process, while still daunting, has them excited for the future.

What caught her attention in my essay was the mention of mood swings and of the loss of a baby so dreamed about and wanted. She told me that reading the words left her feeling validated. She still mourned a loss that no one ever saw, but felt that given the opportunity she wouldn’t have changed a thing. In the day-to-day of parenting, the loss of a baby before term had made her more grateful for the child she hugs today. She, too, had those who made comments that were less than compassionate after her loss. I asked her how she handled it and she told me most of the time she just walked away. There were times when she really had to bite her tongue, because she just couldn’t deal with their lack of kindness along with her loss.

We all go through horrific hard times in life, and many times we find the support we need around us. When we don’t, it shocks and causes hurt. Have you ever been in a situation where the support you hoped for wasn’t there, or worse still, was insensitive? How did you handle it? Who helped you through it?  Sometimes, when the chips are really down, who can you rely on to “get it” and help you get through?


  1. I'd have to say my husband is the one who was always there. Even though good friends can help, he's the one who really knows me, who's always around to comfort and help. I'm thinking of the miserable time in Arkansas, my health crisis fiasco, dealing with a newborn, and now with my Mom. I've lost friends over each situation, which seems really odd to me, but some people just can't be there--the best friend whose child was grown by the time I had a baby, the sibling who just doesn't care. I'm sure I've failed my friends, too. I guess it all leaves me with the knowledge that friends are very important, but my husband reigns supreme for empathy, understanding, and because he's the one living through it with me. That being said, I truly believe that we ultimately experience everything alone in the end, and that makes us strong.

  2. Interestingly, today in our church service, the sermon started with this quote, "The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places." (Ernest Hemingway). Each loss has been heartbreaking, and yet strengthening. I've learned that compassion can come from the most unexpected people and the lack of it in some can be even more shocking. Hubby ranks at the top because he lives with me and still wants to, but there are friends who have been there in ways that can not be matched. Through the heartbreak, you learn your own individual strength...and the value of love.


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