A shawl to UCSF
Thursday July 12th 2007, 10:48 pm
Filed under: Knit,Life

Shawl for UCSF personI came to look at my shawl patterns, because of that day of testing at UCSF, in a way I hadn’t before.

When they sent me to the room for the full-body scan, the technician was six months pregnant. We got to talking, and I found myself telling her I had had four kids–and then adding, “And a miscarriage.”

Now, that’s not something I usually talk about, much less mention to a woman who’s expecting. But somehow it felt like the right thing to say.

Was it my first? Yes. She told me she’d miscarried her first at five months. “Five months!” I exclaimed. Yes. This, then, would be their first child.

Mine had been at about four months. She knew then that she could tell me about it, and I would know, and I did: the sense of holding back just a bit, the slight wariness at the possibility of great loss repeated, the need to hold one’s child, arrived safe and sound and healthy. She was relieved to hear from an older mom that I’d gone through that and gone on to have four healthy kids just fine. And this from someone later diagnosed with lupus and Crohn’s!

The next morning I woke up to the mental image of a nursing mother with one of my circular shawls wrapped around her and over the baby for those moments in public. The green hand-painted merino one that I’d knitted to convey my impressions of the kelp forest at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Another image came, of the baby wrapped up in that shawl in the chilly San Francisco fog. For a mom who had suffered such a great loss, but who had so much joy ahead of her–pain and joy intensify each other, but it does go both ways–yes. I love how happy the colors are in this, and how good they would look on her. I had felt for quite some time that this shawl was waiting for me to meet its recipient. It would be someone petite. She is. I hadn’t considered that it would be someone expecting, and so deserving of, great joy. Now I have met her. It’s perfect.

I had to call the researcher first to ask the woman’s name again, I didn’t quite remember, and I couldn’t just mail it off to “that nice person.” But I will always remember how she made me feel: she’s such a beautiful soul. And now it’s ready to go.

And I wish I could come hold the baby too when it comes, truth be told. I remember.

Shawl for UCSF person

9 Comments so far
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What a beautiful idea. A friend sent me a link to a site about a woman artist who paints portraits of service men and women killed in action, frames and sends them to the families.
How wonderful to be able to use your art to comfort someone, or to provide beauty and comfort for someone. I have a feeling your kind lady will be visiting you with her little one.

Comment by Judy 07.13.07 @ 7:51 am

I went through that, too. At the time, people just did not talk about it. Must have been that way for you, too, Alison. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that so many women go through that pain. Kudos to you for growing and sharing your experience, comfort and love with her.

Comment by Pam Sykes 07.13.07 @ 8:28 am

That was lovely. Isn’t it amazing how if we follow our instincts, they take us to the right place? I’m sure she’ll love the shawl.

Comment by Lene 07.13.07 @ 9:32 am

This story is why reading your blog is such an uplift to me. Your skill at telling us your story and more importantly finding all the beauty in the experiences just fill me with hope for each day.

Comment by Marcie 07.13.07 @ 9:50 am

Alison, you’re an amazing person. I love reading your blog, and I just received my copy of your book. A couple things I’d like to share: I am no longer afraid to try knitting lace. I read each story before the patterns last night (was up until 1:30 am reading them!), and they are so comforting… relaxing… I could easily try knitting one of them now. This is definitely my favorite knitting book already. It is so personal, and beautiful. Thank you so much for writing it. I feel like I understand today’s blog post that much more because of reading the book last night.

I’m already trying to pick out one to knit first.

Comment by Amanda 07.13.07 @ 11:39 am

What a lovely thing to do! It is amazing to me, how that living within the confines of chronic illness, you manage to reach out to so many people, spreading love and comfort wherever you go. Your stories are so inspiring.

Comment by Karen in Oregon 07.13.07 @ 11:49 am

Hi Alison!

Your post just gave me “chicken skin” (goosebumps)! I swear, you just have that 6th sense of knowing what to say & do 🙂

Comment by Teri 07.13.07 @ 5:13 pm

Please send me your email address – we had a beautiful baby boy – Maxwell Everett McDougall born Wednesday, October 17th at 2:52am (8.0lbs, 19.25 in). I’d love to share some pictures with you…the shawl has already warmed us both on chilly evening and early morning feedings!


Comment by Joanne Krasnoff 11.03.07 @ 11:45 am

[…] in a longterm study of lupus patient outcomes, and it’s been two years (note on that link: I got sent the most beautiful picture of that newborn baby and his mom […]

Pingback by SpinDyeKnit 11.18.09 @ 9:33 pm

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