By Rachel Blumenfeld.
She asks me if I want her to take it back. “No,” I say, in the way that means no but that also means that it’s slowly killing me, that sweater, hanging in my closet. I can feel it even when the door’s closed, even when it blends in perfectly with all the other neutrals. It doesn’t matter if I buy colors; I wear the same grays and browns I already owned.
“I might still need it,” I say, and I feel that now I’m making this a talisman. Or a curse. If I keep it, it means I will get to use it, right? Or am I being too hopeful, and the fact that I have this sweater waiting for me will somehow prolong my wait to use it? Is it like women’s favorite pants from high school that they keep in their closet, even after three kids and fifty pounds, swearing one day they will fit back into them? How long until a sign of hope turns into a sign of pitifulness?
My friend, my loving, compassionate friend, asks me how best to support me. She asks if it would be best not to talk about her situation for a while. She makes sure to ask me every day how I’m feeling, and while I know that she truly does want to know, and does want me to be okay, deep down she’s thankful that this isn’t her. She’s happy that the baby in her womb is still alive, that hers isn’t the one who died.
There were three of us, friends pregnant at the same time. Due November 9, November 12, and November 20th. Since about 30 percent of pregnancies end up miscarrying, it was statistically bound to happen to one of us, and it’s not that I’d wish this on either of my friends, but I know they both must be glad, to some extent, that it’s me who was chosen.
More than likely, the miscarriage was caused by a chromosomal abnormality, the culprit in up to 70 percent of prenatal losses. In Annie Dillard’s For the Time Being, she writes that there are 8.4 million ways for two people’s DNA to combine. I imagine the two strands of DNA dancing, the nucleobases seeking each other out, eyeing each other like two young lovers across a bar, moving closer, but still spinning and circling until they are close enough to reach for the other’s hand. I see the cytosine reach out for the adenine, get rejected, and the party is over. Without this merger in the middle of the line, none of the other bases can match up either. They can’t get close enough with this gap looming between them. Continue Reading…