a woman is wailing

Two beds away from my patient’s bed, a woman is wailing. Her husband has been coded for the last couple of hours, and he currently dangles by a thread (on three pressors… barely alive even with all of the machines/support we have). She is wailing, screaming, crying. Strangely, in the USA, most “white” Americans grieve quite quietly. They stifle sobs and hide tears behind tissues. They cover their faces and turn away when someone comes in.

Not this woman. She is crying and carrying on for all she’s worth. And I’m glad.

I couldn’t have done this when I lost Avalon. I was numb with grief. But even so, I don’t think I could’ve keened like that. It’s just not what I was raised doing. It’s just not my culture. I have wailed and screamed at home, and in my car. But everywhere else, it’s been silent tears streaming down my face, even at the hospital.

Well no, that’s not true. After the delivery and d&c, when I woke up I started crying really, really hard. I was given ativan to go back to sleep. Subtly, our culture does not encourage us to “freak out”. Not that I wasn’t grateful for the ativan… I was. Without it I would’ve torn my hair out and shredded my clothes in grief.


Categories: baby loss

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