Losing Babies/Growing Up

1962 George Barris

Dear Marilyn,

I fear I am somehow losing the ability to write from my heart. In recent years we have been privy to many of your letters and journals and I find it quite comforting to know that you sat down with pen in hand and spilled out the contents of your heart. I can see your effort and struggle to find the right words. I can see that you didn’t intend for those words to be seen. And here I am, years later so grateful for a look inside your messiness; your insatiable desire to understand life.

I think I am like you in this regard.

I wanted to tell you that we have something else in common. I too lost a baby. We called her Ella, although we didn’t know if she was a boy or a girl. The night before I miscarried I was performing on stage. I started spotting before the performance, but decided to go on anyway. Oh God, I wanted Ella.

Please forgive me for bringing up a painful subject. I just wanted to let you know that I too have felt the spasms of my body doing exactly what I didn’t want it to do. I have lain on my side in the dark feeling the enormity of the event while my hips pushed out a baby too tiny for life.

Did you feel, as I did, that you had been chosen when you found out you were pregnant? Like everything was finally right in the universe?

I felt that there were many questions that I needn’t worry about anymore. Especially the whole “Why Am I Here” one.

Once the hormones kicked in I started to fear my own body. I was afraid to let go of control and let this baby take over. I struggled with quitting caffeine and never fully did which probably increased my chances of miscarriage. I was trying to do a lot and I was tired. My father told me after the miscarriage “Next time you get pregnant, just be pregnant.”

Now I am nearing forty and I don’t know if there will be a next time. Like you, I always thought I would be a mother. How do I reconcile my lifelong dreams with this reality of time marching on? Where do I find meaning in life if not with a child? While this thought is scary, there is also some bit of liberation. What if I do get to skip that whole thing? There are certainly enough babies in the world.

The miscarriage led me directly to you and the rest of this project. As I dive deeper into this I see it is a way for me to work with all these identities (mother/actor/wife/buddhist/daughter/sister/woman) and see what is underneath them.

Without putting too much pressure on you, I think becoming you might be an opportunity for me to create something. Something that is not really you and not really me, but both of us too. Do you mind if we work together in this way?

You see, you are the guardian of a part of my heart that threatens to harden with all this real life stuff. As a child I looked at your image on my bedroom wall and knew that all things were possible. As I got older I felt less and less possibility. I don’t want to harden my heart, Marilyn. I’m sorry if this is strange for you, but you are the person I choose to accompany me on the first part of this journey. I think you might understand. I imagine you saw all things possible in Marilyn Monroe too.

Thank you for your beautiful spirit that just gives and gives even these fifty years later. I’ll write again soon.


10 thoughts on “Losing Babies/Growing Up

  1. Alice, you are brave to share this so honestly, and so eloquently. Thank you, sweetie. I am so sorry that that happened to you — but your healing seems to me to be progressing as it should … even with the very very hard parts …

  2. You are a wonderful and inspiring writer. I cannot relate to the situation that you went through, but I do echo the desire to understand life and all it’s craziness and purpose and non-purposeful events. Thank you for sharing this moment with us. You have a gift with words.

  3. “like everything was finally right in the universe”. I have felt this too many times, and lost it – thank you for sharing and expressing these difficult experiences in a way that people can relate to. Understanding might not be around the corner- but life is.


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