My baby, the one who sleeps in the room next to mine, the one who looks so much like her brothers, is a blessing. When I was about six months pregnant, someone said to me that she would be a blessing. At that moment, still unable to believe that she would even be born, I managed to respond “But… I still wanted my other two babies.” I look at her now though, and see the tremendous light that she brings. Always a reminder of her sisters that came before her, and I will always make sure that she knows that. Continue reading
Fall swells and crinkles
Bursts of color give way to shriveled deadness
I try not to compare last, and this
Last… where death surrounded me.
This… where changes are swirling, promising, new.
Last… where oranges had already begun to peek through the branches.
This… still lush with green, holding onto the richness of summer.
Can I step from one Fall into another, without remembrance of things past?
Without a reminder, every time, of where I was before?
On this day, last year, a measured labor of pain.
I look now forward with a fresh start and clean slate,
Wondering how to embrace another Fall.
Another promise of Winter.
Another promise of chill, long nights, and uneven slumber.
I still remember what I wore that day. September 3rd, 2015. I had on a new-ish red maternity shirt, and khaki maternity shorts because it was warm. I knew that I had a stash of maternity shirts somewhere that I had been unable to locate, so I had begrudgingly bought a few while I continued to search. I went to the appointment nervous, after the alarming ultrasound of the previous week, with a list of questions about what intrauterine growth restriction meant, and what were the possible outcomes. I never got that far into my appointment. Continue reading
I am a black desk. Sturdy. In an office with an unfortunate shade of yellow walls.
I knew the plan. The office was going to be turned into a nursery. There was talk that the walls were going to be repainted, maybe with a coral and teal theme. A baby dresser moved into the room, and I knew it would not be long before I was relocated. Continue reading
There are five stages of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. There seems to be an underlying implication that the stages are linear, that you move from denial, to anger, to bargaining, to depression and acceptance. What I have found that you move in and out and around the stages, over and over. I may think I have reached a stage of acceptance, but then something will throw me back into “WHY did this happen?”
Like July 21st. The day came and went, unnoticed by me. But on July 23rd, I was struck with the realization “I should have a baby by now.” My due date was July 28. C-section would have been planned a week in advance, so July 21. The pain was aching and empty, and any thoughts of acceptance I had went spiraling backwards into anger and depression.
So I have created my own: six letters of grieving.
A: Annihilation: In an instant, your world changes, and it is never the same again. You will be lost, you will be isolated. Eventually, you will learn how to navigate, but it can never go back to what it was before.
B: Breathing: Inhales and exhales change. Breathing in becomes difficult at times. Breathing hurts sometimes. Through sobs it becomes hard to breathe. When triggers appear from nowhere, you have to take a deep breath. Sometimes, you feel like you cannot breathe. But breathing is essential to living, and so it continues.
C: Coping. The mind forms mechanisms for coping – whether it is denial, change, habits, words, or actions. I place no judgment on anyone’s methods for coping, nor is there any expectation of time frame. For people that become destructive in their coping mechanisms, I can understand. I want them to find all of the love and support they need to move from destructive to constructive coping mechanisms.
D: Disbelief. It is startling to realize that others cannot begin to understand what you are going through, unless they have experienced such a loss themselves. So then on top of dealing with loss, you deal with others’ expectations around loss. It is an incomprehensible burden.
E: Expected and Unexpected. There are the expected moments that will hurt. There are the unexpected moments that will hurt. Expected moments are the birthdays, anniversaries, photos. Unexpected moments will be the random Tuesday when you read or see something that hits you sideways and you think “I was not prepared for this right now.” Then you struggle with giving in to the moment, versus finding a way to blow past it rather than let it give you an emotional slap in the face.
F: Forward Motion. Undeniably, the world keeps moving. You will move in and out of the letters of grieving, over and over. But the world moves forward and the most acknowledgment you can give your own life is to keep moving with it. No expectations. No judgments. Just moving forward.