memoir: the blister
It was a painful blister, on the arc of my right foot.
It was one that had stopped me wearing closed in shoes for a week. It was red raw and puffed up and as big as a 20 cent piece.
It had happened as all good blisters do. Having fun.
My husband and I spent a hot summer day, walking the length of an overgrown edge of a channel.
Shoulders already turning pink; eyes squinting. Stopping ever so often to kick rocks from our shoes, as we juggled picnic blankets, towels and a basket filled with lunch.
We finally decided on the perfect spot. A screen of soft wilted trees; sparkling clear water lapping at the banks near a grassy clearing to lay. My relieved husband dropped the weight of the basket from his grip.
We then spent the day talking and laughing, kissing and holding hands and swimming. Stealing intimate momentsin the warmth of the sun, whenever boats disappeared around the bend.
I will forever remember how warm that sun was on the top of my head, heating the top half of me while the other submerged under the sharp cold snap of the water.
Thirteen years together and we were more in love than ever and although unspoken, deliriously happy knowing a little life was finally growing inside of me.
We were almost nine weeks pregnant. Nine weeks of feeling life grow inside of me. Nine weeks of picking out names and daydreaming of gender and hair colour, and chubby rolls to kiss. Nine weeks of electricity connecting itself from their little heart to mine.
The sun shone brighter, the love felt bigger.
Looking back, at the same time as enjoying our day, I was also in automatic worry mode. The beginnings of motherhood emerging, I guess. I hoped it was OK to be out in the heat, I hoped it was OK that we walked as far as we did. I hoped the icy cold thrill of the water as I dove in, didn’t hurt the baby at all. Since learning I was pregnant the constant worry and anxiety of something going wrong never left my head for one moment.
Even on such a perfect day, at the back of my warm head, there was a niggle. Despite the sun, and the husband and the excitement..the niggling grew. I have never been someone who expects things to ever go right for me. Deep down, I was very aware I didn’t deserve something so wonderful. I was ready to lose it all and suddenly, without warning.
I managed to shake off the worry and doubt though and enjoy it all, even if only fleeting, helplessly giddy on what was in front of us.
But, the sun was soon gone, my shoe rubbed against my foot and week later, it was all over.
One tiny heartbeat stopped and so did the daydreaming, the reading, the name picking, the excitement and the symptoms one after the other.
A hole in my middle where life used to be.
A painful blister remained. An inflamed reminder of the magic, so brief.
The miscarriage itself was almost like a ritualistic departure from who I was before it happened to who I am now. As the blood gushed and gushed and the pain contracted again and again, I felt like I was losing parts of myself that I may never find again. I felt it all, stinging, throbbing, pulsing, and dying. As the dawn’s early morning light streaked across our bathroom, I sobbed and clutched my husband, half wanting to push it all out of me and flush it down the toilet bowl, the other half wanting to run and hide hoping it would pass and it was all some big mistake.
I have experienced grief, I know it intimately.
This grief is different though. It is not shared with anyone. It all exists within me selfishly. It is all mine to wallow and drown in completely. I feel like if I let go of the grief and the anger, then it is all really over, nothing left to do but move on and forget.
It is isolating and debilitating.
My breasts grieve with me as their swollenness settles and the aches cease. My tummy weeps with me, now it is no longer queasy from pregnancy hormones pumping around my body. The stretching pains are still lingering taunting me as my uterus now diminishes in size instead of growing.
As soon as I left the bathroom 5 hours later, I felt immediately lost.
With nothing to do but lay still and quiet and close my eyes.
It was over and I had no say in it at all. I was a mother for a while and now simply, I am not.
I have spent a week sitting still not knowing who I am anymore. I have spent a week crying till there was nothing left to expel.I have been so angry I have wanted to cause damage, and fire and pain.
I have not wanted to see anyone, because that would mean I am no longer pregnant and I am not ready to not be yet.
It has now been one whole week of me, mindlessly tracing my fingersover the blister, on the arc of my right foot.
It is now almost healed, almost nothing left of it. No pain when I touch it; new skin moving me further and further away from that wonderful day.
Soon it will disappear completely, not even a scar.
As if it hadn’t happened at all.
Emma Brooker is a writer based in Newcastle, NSW. You can read more of her work here.