Physical Grief

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How physical my missing is. An entire body experience.

I anticipated that parenting after loss would be hard. I had moments of intense sadness looking at my living baby girl and thinking about my other two baby girls. Outside of those moments, I had been fairly even-keel. But this week, and passing the day that Nelle was born has thrown me decidedly off balance.

Grief and hormones are a horrible combination and I can feel it crashing over me like waves. The hormones have enveloped me, making every fiber of my being a participant in grief. Surges of lows, lower than any of the lows I have felt in awhile, yank at my heart.

I took a bath last night, so overwhelmed with missing Nelle. I was hoping the water would calm my visceral reaction. Instead, it amplified my aches. Sore breasts, sore abdomen, reaction to the contrast between warm water and cold air. I sat on my bathroom floor, needing to cry but unable to. It was like the chill of the room had stopped my tears from moving. Yet being unable to release hurt too.

Later, it all came spilling out. Grief. Isolation. Guilt. Fear. Fatigue. All of these manifesting in an overflow of tears. My pillow was wet with how deeply I felt everything in that moment. Grief over losing my baby. Isolation that my husband and I are in different places with grieving. Guilt over every time I accidentally think the words “Nelle’s room” instead of “Autumn’s room.” Fear that something will happen to this new baby, now here and so desperately wanted. Fatigue… ongoing. For two years now, the presence of grief settled into my body like a weight I am carrying around, coupled with the presence of a newborn baby. All felt so sharply and so familiar and so unrelenting.

How physical my missing is. I miss her so much it is a vast golden prince, a concert hall, a thousand trees, a lake, nine thousand buses, a million cars, twenty million birds and more. The whole city is my missing her. ― Max Porter, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers