There’s not a good way to begin this post because it is deeply meaningful to me and frankly, beyond words. I’ve known Kiffy for years. I knew her through part of this journey, and I had the pleasure of photographing the birth of their daughter after miscarriage and IVF. She is a dear friend, and I am grateful to call her my first saint. These are the words of Saint Kiffy:
“Everyone’s experience with miscarriage is so, so different. When we miscarried, we had been trying for years, and we were racked with doubt and a little credit card debt. After 6 failed IUIs, a surgery to remove my left fallopian tube, another failed IUI after the surgery, suddenly, with no intervention, we got pregnant naturally. We were elated. We had been lifted up so high with hope. Maybe it was true - like everyone kept telling us - “just give up, stop trying, and it will happen”.
When I look at these photos, I can see the darkness and the light in them. I see the pain and the beauty. Which is really how it felt...one moment you’re world has fallen apart, the worst thing that could happen - did happen...and then I’m looking at Mike in the eyes as we hold our sweet little baby, and I’ve never felt closer to anyone or more loved. We miscarried in the bathtub, so we got to see our tiny baby in the best way possible, in the water. I’ll never forget her tiny little hands. Then we’re laughing about how appreciative I am that he is pulling the blood clots out of the drain. Which is the most badass thing your partner could ever do for you to show you their love.”
“We’ve gone into debt to pursue the family of our dreams. It was worth every penny. When we decided to take the IVF route, we knew we could pay the money back, but we couldn’t make up for lost time. Now that I have our daughter, I’ve learned that motherhood is all of the feelings all at once. It’s overwhelming. It’s beautiful. It’s a mess. One thing that hurt more than anything after our loss was having an uncertain status as a mom. I had lost my baby, but I wasn’t a mom. I felt so out of place.
Sadly, miscarriage happens to 1 in 5 pregnancies. It’s so common. The most unhelpful response we received was that “everything happens for a reason”. Nope. Sorry. You can make lemons out of lemonade. You can learn lessons - so many lessons! But sometimes shit happens. It’s not some higher power pulling some fucked up strings so you can learn a lesson. It just happened. Its just awful. And it’s life. And we must go on. But don’t tell women there was a reason for their miscarriage other than genetic abnormalities, an incompetent cervix, or something else that actually makes sense. Even the best midwives and doctors can’t tell you why every miscarriage happens. So don’t expect grieving women to try to find one.”
“Perspective is everything, and we know there are a lot of folks who have spent a lot of money on IVF attempts. When we got pregnant with our second daughter on the first try, we were even more excited and grateful. I try to be the most grateful mom in the world. Grateful for science. Grateful for a partner who has stretched himself emotionally to understand what this has been like for me. I’ve tried to do the same for him. Life is about the journey, not the destination. We built our family together, and to me, that is everything.”
For those who are trying to conceive
You know better than most of us that the road home is not a straight and narrow path.
It is an unrelenting pursuit of the life you want, a truth given only by the inner voice.
Mother, we honor you.
Mother, we trust you.
You have been dealt one of the harshest blows wombyn experience: A loss of life.
Not just the life of the one you carried but of the life you had built in your mind’s eye from the moment you knew.
Mother, we remember with you.
Mother, we mourn with you.
May your womb and your mind heal with time, patience, stillness, rage, and tears.
May your heart and your hope expand with wholeness, perspective, warmth, and touch
Mother, you are innocent
Mother, we will laugh with you
For now, let there be space to feel and be and sleep
For now, let there be release, solitude and witness in exactly the right measure
Mother, we hold space for you
Mother, we lift you up