You have to meet people where they are, and sometimes, you have to leave them there. -Iyanla Vanzant
We talk, about what it will be like “After.” After this baby is born.
Ger has said a few times that he is ready to get back to “normal.” I know the sentiment he is trying to convey: we have been stagnated for two years, in various states of pregnancy, fear, and grief. He wants to get past that. But there is no “back to normal” for me. It can never be the way that it was before. I gently asked him to use the words “move forward” instead of “back to normal.” I told him that there is no shame in wanting to put this experience behind us. No shame in wishing that this had never happened to our family. But it did happen, and somehow we have to “move forward” with it, rather than thinking it will somehow go back to the way that it was.
He told me that he doesn’t want to be insensitive to how I feel. I told him – firmly – that we do not have to be in the same place. There have been many times when we have not been in the same place. Being sensitive is respecting where the other person it as. Saying “I know that this day is hard for you” is being sensitive. Insensitive would be saying “It’s been 5 years – why are you still upset??” That might deserve a punch in the face. We can be sensitive to each other while being at different stages in our journeys.
He is worried about the future After Baby. I asked for understanding in the first six months: it will be hard and just “survival mode.” We may not be able to sit down and focus on how we feel and how we are being affected. I didn’t even get into any additional grief or triggers that may arise from finally adding a third child to our family. Thinking about the age gap alone made me upset, because it “wasn’t supposed to be this way.” I told a friend recently that I feel guilty for focusing on the age gap: that it feels trivial compared to what we have been through. I try to look at the positives, like that older kids can be helpful with a baby.
I broke down in the doctor’s office yesterday. It started with being asked “How are you sleeping?” (I’m not.) I told him that the anxiety has been overwhelming. He asked if I struggled with anxiety before the losses (nope) and if I thought it would subside once the baby is born. I hope so, but I worry about that. How permanently altered I am in the parenting realm by what has happened. I’ve moved into having completely irrational fears around the birth, like a car accident on the way to the hospital. Or even with my older kids, worried that as Quentin was playing in his room the other day that he might fall out the window. I don’t like being controlled by fear, but for the next 19 days seem to be unable to move past it. I can only focus on how to cope After. Part of that elusive “back to normal” that does not exist.
Different spaces, different places. Even with fellow babyloss parents, none of us are ever in exactly the same place. Different stages of grieving, anger, reconciliation, moving, time passed. My space and my place is for me, and I cannot expect anyone else to be in that precise moment, not even my husband. From the moment our babies were lost, we moved at our own pace, though on the same path. For me, I don’t want the enormous amount of energy that an infant requires to overshadow or minimize my grieving experience. To do so feels like a betrayal to my daughters. It is a hard thought.