Damaged Goods by Deanne Collier

I opened the carton of eggs to find not one broken egg, but three, complete with runny yolks spilling everywhere.  I stared at the slimy yellow contents, shook my head, and thought how this theme permeates my life.  Bad eggs.  Damaged goods.  My favorite things always, without fail, end up getting broken.  Everything from my favorite Willow Tree figurine to my best teapot will eventually be destroyed.  It is an unfortunate law of nature in my life.  Damaged goods.  A theme I will forever be acquainted with.

I wonder if there’s anyone out there who feels the same way.  Damaged.  Defective. After one miscarriage, I pasted on a sunny smile and moved on.  I told myself along with all the countless well meaning people that it was just not meant to be this time, and there would be another baby another time.  Let’s not forget my all time hated comment: “There was probably something wrong with the baby, and that was nature’s way of taking care of it.”

At two miscarriages, I couldn’t believe it was happening again, but I shoved the ever darkening dirt under the rug and kept my chin up.  By the time number four rolled around, I had labeled myself.  I was defective.  At a horrifying number six, it defined me.  I was a malfunctioning human machine incapable of doing what it should…except I was forgetting one tiny, gigantic detail–I was already a mother to two living boys.

They entered my world five years apart, amid all the miscarriages and hurtful comments from concerned people.  I carried both to full term, one loudly announcing himself to the room at large, and the other just quietly complaining as he saw me for the first time.  Being a mother is a wonderful job, but sadly, it never erases the pain of the ones you lost.

So in the whirlwind of motherhood, I continued my quest for more children, pushed all my miscarriage pain into a dark closet, and firmly shut the door. I never dealt with the reality of it. Not really. Yes, I cried into my pillow, and to my sisters, but I prided myself on my ability, albeit fake, to move on without much ado.  The sixth miscarriage came about two years after my second son was born. It came as no surprise to me.  I talked about it in a dark, twisted way, sort of like a cop dealing with a dead body who copes by cracking jokes.  I never realized how it would destroy me.

As time passed, I existed on auto pilot, flying through my days without noticing that the control knobs had been ripped off.  With no warning, I slipped into a space so dark there was no way out.  I numbly drifted through my days with bitterness and too much self pity. Nothing helped and nothing mattered.  Nothing–except my dead babies.  Out of desperation I saw a counselor and she forced me to remember.  Something started happening that had never happened before.  I started to grieve.

I bought six Gardenia plants in memory of my lost babies, and planted them prominently in the yard.  The weird thing is that most of the plants that were supposed to grow and flower in memory never bloomed.  My theme again?  Of course it is!  So I spent time remembering what and who I had lost. I thought about how many lunches I would be packing now for school.  Wondering what their names would be, and who I would be holding on my hip?  What color hair they would have and what color eyes would I be staring into?  Which one would be crying right now because they fell and skinned a knee?  Who would be coloring at the table in pink princess pajamas, and who would be on the phone?  Which one would I be reading a bedtime story to, the same story every night?  Who wouldn’t like to brush his teeth and whose room would be strewn with toys?  Which one would be having trouble in math and who would love to sing?  Who would eat the cookie dough before the cookies are baked, and who would hate bananas?  Who would fuss about getting in the tub, but wouldn’t ever want to get out?  Who would write a love note, especially for me, colored with blue and green?  Children I should know and would love to know, but never will.

I looked down at that damaged carton of eggs, and had to smile.  I picked up another carton, and hesitantly opened it.  A laugh escaped me.  At first glance all the eggs looked fine, but upon closer inspection, and staying true to my life theme, one egg had a few small fractures.  Slightly damaged, like me.  I am forever changed, and there is no way to go back to who I was before, but maybe my story can help someone else.  I closed the lid over the eggs, placed them carefully in my buggy and walked away smiling.  Yes, they were damaged, but these eggs would be just fine.  Like me.

 

Author Bio:

Deanne Collier lives in Virginia with her husband, two sons, and Labradoodle Goldie.  She loves to write almost as much as she loves to breathe.

 

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Comments

  1. I am so sorry for your losses. Tears welled and spilled as I read your remembrance of who and what you had lost. I have had three losses and am forever changed. Thank you for saying as wonderful as motherhood is that it cannot take the pain away from loss. I’m really tired of being told be grateful for what is here and forget my children that died.

  2. Zoe downer says:

    this is so true although I was blessed with three living daughters before losing two sons and two daughters
    I still get the whole damaged goods thing, the feelings of letting people down, the feelings of failure, the feelings of no it couldn’t happen to us again.. the truth is it did but do you know what without my losses I would not of been able to meet such strong inspirational women along this awful path I would not of had the journey experience to help my baby sister through the loss of her daughter in a way that only a fellow baby loss mama can… it’s hard to be on this journey and still some days I feel like I just wanna stop the ride and get off but do you know what we are all here we are all Still Standing
    god bless x

  3. Sylvie Henley says:

    Thank you so much for sharing Deanne. You have very beautifully captured exactly what I have been feeling. I have very skillfully put my pain under the rug for many years. Until this year. I became so detached from everyone, that I finally sought counseling. There I discovered the depth and breadth of my grief of having four miscarriages. I also really appreciated how you also included that being a mother doesn’t erase your pain. I have one living son and that doesn’t minimize the pain I have over the four losses. And you are absolutely right, we are forever changed … and Still Standing. Thank you for blessing me with you article.

  4. Very beautifully written. I agree having children does not replace your lost babies & we are changed, forever, and still standing!

  5. This is very well written. You’re right, living children may bring hope and healing, but they’re never a replacement. I’m very sorry for your losses, 6 miscarriages seems above and beyond what anyone should have to endure. I love your ability to smile and know that you’ll be fine in spite of the cracks and, there’s no doubt in my mind that your story will be a great help to others.

  6. Cynthia says:

    You’ve written so beautifully about this unique experience. I swing back and forth as if on a trapeze between feeling grateful for the wonderful life I have with an amazing man and living son with wondering about my seven babies who left me too soon. I wonder how my life would be with just one of them in my arms. I know I should move forward and accept that this is the life I have. I still want and need to feel sad. Thank goodness for the friends I have found who allow me that grace. Thank you for writing this and allowing me to grieve along with you.

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