A couple of weeks in the past, I was a part of the photograph shoot for The New York Times Magazine’s cowl story about ABC’s “The View.” It ought to have been a second of triumph — a vindication of the present’s significance as a spot on the middle of political debate, a rankings growth, a should for the highest tier of presidential candidates. I ought to have been proud. I knew my father would have been proud.
I look again at these footage now, and I see a lady hiding her shock and sorrow. I am posed for the digital camera, wanting stern and robust, representing my fellow conservative girls throughout the nation. But inside, I am dying. Inside, my child is dying.
I knew I was pregnant earlier than I formally knew I was pregnant. My physique instructed me in all of the methods girls are aware of. It instructed me in the identical ways in which I was miscarrying. The affirmation from my physician got here the day of that photograph shoot, on the worst potential time.
I missed a couple of days of labor. It wasn’t many, however given the job I have, it was sufficient to spark gossip about why I can be away from “The View.” This was not alleged to be public information. I have had my share of public grief and public pleasure. I want this grief — the grief of a bit life begun after which misplaced — may stay non-public.
I am not hiding anymore. My miscarriage was a horrendous expertise and I wouldn’t want it upon anybody.
Yet for all its horrors, it’s distressingly widespread. Estimates vary from one in 10 to 1 in 4 pregnancies finish in miscarriages. That’s about three million misplaced kids in America every year. That is all of the extra cause girls want to have the ability to discuss this publicly, with out the stigma and the lack of understanding that pervades the difficulty.
Because even to this day, the subject of a miscarriage carries so much cultural taboo. Miscarriage is a pain too often unacknowledged. Yet it is real, and what we have lost is real. We feel sorrow and we weep because our babies were real.
They were conceived, and they lived, fully human and fully ours — and then they died. We deserve the opportunity to speak openly of them, to share what they were and to mourn. More important, they deserve to be spoken of, shared and mourned. These children, shockingly small, shockingly helpless, entirely the work of our love and our humanity, are children.
We who mourn are their mothers.
The surprise of learning I was pregnant, many months ago now, swiftly turned to joy. With that joy came all the questions, plans and aspirations that every mother knows.
Even as the child is growing within you, vanishingly small and vulnerable, you are already wondering about the thousand things it will take to be a good parent. What sort of birth will I have? How will we decorate his room? His — goodness, what if it is a her? How will we arrange for school, for education? How will we childproof the home? What will we name him or her? Where will we live as this new little one grows up? How do we create a faith life that teaches and enriches our newest, most precious addition? How do we deserve this son, this daughter, this life we have made?
And on a less elevated note, but one every mother in media has considered: How am I going to be pregnant with everyone watching?
The expectation of a child drags you out of yourself and into a life not yours — yet for which you are responsible. For a brief moment, I had the privilege of seeing myself in the sisterhood of motherhood.
Knowing all the extraordinary mothers that I do — from my own, to my friends, to so many examples of women who have raised children in love and faith, in good times and bad — I knew I was prepared in at least one way.
I was prepared in the circle of women to whom I could turn for advice, for support, for love.
Then it all ended — as our child ended.
Since then, I have asked the same question every mother asks who loves and loses a child: Why? Why was this light and joy held before us, and then the world where this child drew breath cast into shadow? Why was an innocent life created in the image of God and then abruptly snuffed out?
I blamed myself. Perhaps it was wrong of me to choose to be a professional woman, working in a high-pressure, high-visibility, high-stress field, still bearing the burden of the recent loss of my father and facing on top of that the arrows that come with public life. This is not a complaint. This is reality. I blamed my age, I blamed my personality. I blamed everything and anything a person could think of, and what followed was a deep opening of shame.
This, I told myself, is the reason my body is a rock-strewn wasteland in which no child may live. This is my fault.
Yet it is not my fault. Fault and blame are not at work here. When Job demanded answers of God, God reminded him: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.” I do not understand. Life and death are beyond our power. This miscarriage has reminded me of that truth. And it has reminded me of one other truth: Love is within our power.
I had a miscarriage. I loved my baby, and I always will. To the end of my days I will remember this child — and whatever children come will not obscure that. I have love for my child. I have love for all the women who, like me, were briefly in the sisterhood of motherhood, hoping, praying and nursing joy within us, until the day the joy was over.
You are not alone.
When my father passed, I took refuge in the hope that someday we would be united in the hereafter. I still imagine that moment, even as I trust that a loving God will see it happen. Now I imagine it a bit differently. There is my father — and he is holding his granddaughter in his hands.
Meghan McCain (@meghanmccain) is a co-host of “The View.”
The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: email@example.com.
Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.
Get more stuff like this
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.