In this week's issue of the New Yorker, a story by staff writer Ariel Levy details her experience traveling to Mongolia while pregnant—and losing her baby to a miscarriage. Reader beware: It will either make you want to curl up into a ball or go out and hug everyone you can.
When she was five months pregnant, Levy went to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on assignment over Thanksgiving. A lifelong adventurer, she had been told by her doctor that it was safe to fly. She writes of several days of discomfort, but claims she wrote it off as normal pregnancy pains. She couldn't have predicted what would happen next: blackout pain, blood, and the loss of the fetus she was carrying inside her. She writes:
I had been so lucky. Very little had ever truly gone wrong for me before that night on the bathroom floor. And I knew, as surely as I now knew that I wanted a child, that this change in fortune was my fault. I had boarded a plane out of vanity and selfishness, and the dark Mongolian sky had punished me. I was still a witch, but my powers were all gone. [...]
When I got back from Mongolia, I was so sad I could barely breathe. On five or six occasions, I ran into mothers who had heard what had happened, and they took one look at me and burst into tears. (Once, this happened with a man.) Within a week, the apartment we were supposed to move into with the baby fell through. Within three, my marriage had shattered. I started lactating. I continued bleeding. I cried ferociously and without warning—in bed, in the middle of meetings, sitting on the subway. It seemed to me that grief was leaking out of me from every orifice.
Levy's clear writing pushes through her feelings and experiences—loss, fear, self-blame and, eventually, healing. There's no lesson to be learned, only emotions to confront. Just go read it.
[Image via AP]