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Writer describes ‘deafening silence’ of a stillbirth

October 15, 2016

On the day that Einat Nathan was scheduled to give birth to twin boys, she found out that both babies had died in the womb from causes unknown. Writing in Slate, Nathan describes the agonizing experience of losing not one, but two children.

“How do you come to terms with such a thing?” she asks. “The truth is, you don’t. For an hour and a half I screamed at the heavens, wailing in a voice I didn’t know I had. When my eyelids felt swollen beyond recognition, I finally understood the meaning of the phrase ‘My tears have all dried up.’

“Then I realized the hardest was still to come: I had to give birth.”

After the labor, Nathan was left to deal with constant reminders of her babies’ absence. Her milk came in. Neighbors, seeing that she was no longer pregnant, congratulated her on the twins’ birth. Nathan, who is Israeli, explains that the term for stillbirth in Hebrew is leida shkeita, which translates as “silent birth.” It is a silence wrought by the absence of a crying baby.  But that silence, Nathan says, is “deafening.”

Today, Nathan is the mother of five children. She says that her miscarriage, traumatic though it was, has shaped her experience of motherhood in a positive way.  “When I face the daily difficulties of motherhood, I am grateful for every ‘regular problem’ life throws my way,” she writes. “I know I have been blessed with the privilege to appreciate a crying baby, because I have been to a place where babies don’t cry.”

Read the full story at Slate.



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