“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” -TH White, The Once and Future King
I have needed distractions for months. Years, really. After losing Nelle, there was hardly time to regroup myself before becoming pregnant with Iris, and then I lost her too. Then there was the doctor-mandated waiting period. How to cope with the empty waiting? And then, once pregnant again, how to cope with the insanity of how slowly the days passed?
For the first waiting period, hot yoga filled my days. Learning to stretch and bend and push myself further was a satisfying outlet. But once pregnant, it was not possible to continue. I couldn’t go back to pre-natal yoga… I was enrolled in pre-natal yoga when I lost Nelle, so it is a very painful trigger. I look at photos of yoga practitioners on Instagram all the time and long to get back to my own practice. To improve.
I look ahead, to the months “after.” What types of distractions will I need? I have plans: more dedicated writing time. Maybe subscribe to The Great Courses, or listen to more podcasts. Filling my mind and my days with stretching my mind until I am medically cleared to begin stretching my body again. All well-intended, but I cannot picture what it will actually look like or how I will feel. All I can do is have contingency plans, like “try this” or “try that.”
I have been a seeker of the worst kind of information as well. The internet is a scary place, full of dark holes into which a wondering mind can fall. A colossus of medical half-truths, anecdotes without context, and well-meaning misinformation. Add high risk to the enormous list of things that pregnant women should not do, and it is a constant barrage. I sat, and my foot fell asleep: did I cut off blood circulation to the baby? I want to tell myself to stop looking; the information will not make you feel better, but it is like a compulsion to seek SOME type of answer. And in my SHARE group, we are 100%. Every person has lost a baby. It makes me painfully aware of everything that can possibly go wrong in pregnancy, heightening the fear. As I was talking about a friend who lost her full-term son the other night, Ger was unnerved. I found myself saying to him that these complications are rare. Perhaps trying to convince myself as much as him.
Ger has been on edge as well, especially moving into these last few weeks. While in the car, the kids were asking about the day that the baby would be born and as I was telling them that we would be going to the hospital, Ger said that his heart started pounding. Over the past few weeks, I told him that he needs a hobby; turning the nervous energy into something productive. He is still thinking on what that might be.
For me, it has been writing, but has expanded beyond the writing that I have been doing since September 7th, 2015 – the first post I wrote after losing Nelle. It has become more of a craft than a mere outlet: writing to develop something. The blog is only a tiny piece of a much larger picture. I have done online courses to focus on writing, reading and research, “practice” to channel writing into something more than an idle pastime. It has sustained me; in those dark moments when I shiver with unknowns or unforgiving flashbacks, I can always write.
It is my way of saying “Here, reader, come with me. Let me show you how grief lasts beyond a week, or a month, or a year. Let me show you how I am constantly reminded that my babies are not here. Let me reveal that what you may see on my face, and hear in my spoken words, is not the condition of my heart.” So many grief resources are point-in-time: a book, an essay, an interview. Dealing with a single moment or realization. My ongoing, driving force is that grief is fluid; it comes and goes. It is the tiniest of raindrops one day and the mightiest of storms the next.
I am teaching myself to express in more meaningful ways. I hope to teach others by letting them hear my words.