The Language of PAIL (Pregnancy And Infant Loss)

I have always wanted to be bilingual.  In high school, I studied French and while my grades were excellent, my teenage ambition did not extend beyond my workbook pages.  C’est la vie.

Now, almost three years after my first miscarriage, I find myself fluent in a language that does not easily translate.  It is not a language that rolls off the tongue or delights the speaker.  I speak the language of PAIL.

For those of you who don’t speak PAIL, I am willing to translate, but I want you to know that this language is only understood when you have been immersed in the culture.  If you are not a speaker of PAIL, then I envy you because you have no reason to know the words that I speak of.

If you do speak PAIL, then I’m sorry and I understand.

If you speak PAIL you have probably made some difficult choices.  Maybe you have chosen to have a D&C or you have TFMR.  Perhaps you have had to choose whether to try another round of IUI or give IVF a try.

As a speaker of PAIL, then you might know what it’s like to go through countless OPKs or HPTs.  You might even know the anticipation that goes along with watching your HCG and hoping that it doubles like it should.

Those of you who speak PAIL, know the anxiety of every U/S especially in those early days of pregnancy.  You grip the sides of the table and wait to hear that heartbeat but prepare yourself for the prospect of a MMC.

Maybe your PAIL skills improved during your PAL.  It might have begun when your OBGYN tested you for MTHFR.  Or, when your MFM had you come in for NSTs and BPPs towards the end of your PAL to monitor for IUGR.

It could be that you became fluent in PAIL following your experience with HELLP syndrome or Pre-E.  Or tragically, you received a crash course during your child’s time in the NICU.

I don’t know where you learned to speak the language of PAIL but I want you to know that you are not alone; it is spoken worldwide.  In fact, one in four mothers speak the language of PAIL and sadly, our numbers grow every day.

It is important for you to know this: the language of PAIL is not a language to be whispered in shameful tones.  The language of PAIL, while not the most beautiful of languages, must be shared beyond our community.  So, please don’t be afraid to write these words or speak them out loud.

Every language is beautiful when it is sung with love.



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