Saturday, February 19, 2011

Life Stories: Melissa P. and the grief of miscarriage

Melissa P.: I got pregnant when I was 16 and my mother and my boyfriend and my father were upset. They made it seem like it was all my fault. They wanted to know why I didn't use birth control. My father especially was negative so I went to live with my mother, but she wasn't much better. They wanted me to have an abortion, but I wanted to keep the baby.

David Markham: It sounds like a very difficult time for you.

Melissa P.: What was really bad was when I miscarried at 15 weeks and everyone was happy but I was very depressed and nobody cared. They acted like I should be happy that now things were back to normal. There was a big sigh of relief. My boyfriend broke up with me and I went back to live with my father and everything went back to normal supposedly but my grades went down, I just wanted to sleep all the time, I couldn't eat and lost 18 pounds. I couldn't concentrate and I didn't want to do anything any more with my friends. Everyone says I was depressed but they didn't understand. You're the first one.

David Markham: Wow, it sounds like you were pretty isolated and very lonely.

Melissa P.: Exactly, nobody wanted to deal with the truth. They wanted to just pretend that everything was Okay.

David Markham: So you really couldn't find anyone with whom to express the grief you were feeling.

Melissa P.: I have been all alone. They made me feel like I was crazy.

David Markham: They didn't want you to be pregnant and so were happy when you miscarried and you were happy about being pregnant and were devastated when the baby died.

Melissa P: (Weeping) Yes, it has been the worse thing in my life.

David Markham: Sometimes it seems like people think they know what is best for us and they want us to do certain things, live a certain way, value what they value, believe what they believe, do what they would do, and when we don't they are angry with us, or tell us we're crazy, or being bad, or we're disloyal in some way.

Melissa P.: Yeah, they want what is best for them not what is best for you.

David Markham: Right. It's hard for people sometimes to put themselves in someone else's shoes especially when it disagrees with them or is foreign to their experience.

Melissa P.: Right. Why are people like that?

David Markham: Well, we all a bit narcissistic and egotistical and we are insecure ourselves and when people agree with us it makes us feel better and when they disagree with us we become more anxious so insecure people want people to agree with them so they feel better.

Melissa P.: That's where Unitarian Universalism is very different from any other religion I have learned about. They want people to search for the truth and they are willing to accept people who think differently than they do.

David Markham: Right. It's a great thing isn't it?

Melissa P.: I am so glad that I found this church.

David Markham: We love having you and I'm glad that you have found a place to grieve the huge loss in your life and feel you can be accepted the way you are grief and all.

Melissa P.: I like talking to you, thanks.

David Markham: You're welcome. I have enjoyed hearing your story even though it is painful and full of suffering, it has helped me know you better,and appreciate what you have been through.

Editor's note: While this story is essentially true and actually happened, the names, other than mine, and some of the circumstances have been slightly altered to protect the person's confidentiality. This person is not a member of the Brockport Unitarian Universalist Fellowship where I attend church.

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