Archive for Grief
My first Mother’s Day is gone from my memory, fried out, no doubt by several factors.
- My only baby had died just 10 days before.
- At church that Sunday, all the Mothers were told to stand, and while I have no idea if I stood up or not, I’m pretty sure I probably did something awkward, embarrassing, and uncomfortable for everyone around me. In fact, I’m pretty sure I left sobbing.
- Nobody knew what to say or do. Card or not? Flowers or not? I had to hole up and wait for sunrise Monday before I felt it was safe to communicate with anyone without disappointment or upset.
Here’s what I wish I had known that first Mother’s Day, and what I’d do differently.
- Remember that I am a mother. A nice piece of jewelry would have appeared with a lovely birthstone, even if I had to order it myself. It’s easy. Here’s an excellent place.
- Spend the day with my child. Fill out a memory book. Or write in a journal. Or just go to a place I might have gone when baby was ready for parks or picnics.
- Send notes to all the mothers I know, regardless of their baby status — to let them know I remember who THEY are.
What I would not have done.
- I wouldn’t have made reservations at some restaurant where my lack of a high chair might make the waiters ignore my status.
- I wouldn’t have gone to church. It’s painful when they have the children come up and take things to their moms or give them a hug. It’s hurtful when they ask the moms to stand, and you don’t know whether to do it or not (and for the women who are infertile or single and older but wanted children–I mean, come on. Let’s stop this.)
- I wouldn’t have been silent. I know not everyone is willing to put themselves out there. I wasn’t either, at first. But now, you can be for darn sure I’d be sending out e-cards and posting graphics like these to my page. I’m a mother and I won’t let anyone forget it.
As you go through this day, silently and at home, or publicly and with a mission to help others learn how best to be around other baby loss moms, remember the most important thing:
A mother isn’t counted by the number of diapers she has changed, the car seats in her mini van, or the crayoned pictures on her fridge.
It’s counted by the memories in her heart, the love she carries, and the protection that surged inside her from the first moment that she learned a new life had begun within her.
One of my life’s works it to keep Casey close by expanding my reach to families who have lost a baby. It’s hard to imagine that this year, Casey would be getting his learner’s permit and start driving!
This year, I’m starting a new book and a new page for couples who are having trouble with their relationships after their baby dies. I get so many letters from women asking, “Is it normal for my husband to act like nothing happened?” So many feel betrayed by the one person who seemed to have been as invested in the pregnancy as them, and this cuts the hardest.
It’s hard to explain that the law of relationships is at work here — only one person can fall apart at a time. And that they don’t intend to make you feel more alone. It’s just what happens.
The new page on Facebook is called Forever Innocent, which will be the title of the book I’m writing. There I will be listening to your stories. We’ll be helping each other. And hopefully, in the end, we’ll work together to make a book that will have the resonance of Baby Dust. While that book deals a lot with the loss itself, this new book, which has a couple reunite four years after losing their premature baby and walking away from each other, will be for those couples who have struggled with how to manage their love for each other when so much of it was caught up in the goal of building a family.
Go visit the page and leave your experiences! I can’t wait to talk to you all!
Pretty much every single day a mom comes into my private group and tells me her husband is making her feel worse.
She is sad. He is not.
She misses her baby. He acts like it wasn’t anything important.
She wants love and crying and support. He wants to forget about it.
I am here to tell you that this is normal. There is this law in relationships — only one person can fall apart at any given time. When one is sad, the other wants to fix it, minimalize it, or even bully it away. It’s a rare, rare situation where a couple, and most especially a couple with living children or other types of stresses in their lives, can grieve at the same time.
Your partner may not even realize this law is at play. He or she may be bewildered at his or her own behavior, shocked at the things that were said.
Sometimes they are sad too and just can’t show it. They don’t know how.
My advice is: love and forgive. Recognize that someone has to keep the ship afloat, and their being strong means you don’t have to be.
And just muddle through. Grief is a solitary thing. All you can do is the best you can.
Deanna is the author of Baby Dust, a novel about women going through miscarriage. If you need help right away, remember she has a secret Facebook group you can join.
I’ve been crying for about four days straight.
Those of you who have gotten an email from me during this time are probably saying WHAT? She was so PERKY when she wrote me.
Well, I can be that too.
But this is one of the darker weeks of my life, and one thing I’ve realized as I’ve tried to force the blues away, to make myself stop crying just because a mom walked by with a big belly or a stroller, or a Pampers commercial interrupts my golden time with Nathan Fillion, that sometimes you just have to give in to the grief.
My pre-op appointment was today. My doctor was distracted, overwhelmed as he’d been gone for two days this week with a family crisis of his own. What is a life-changing surgery for me is another day for him right now, another thing to try and distract HIM from his sadness.
On Monday the chances for another baby will be permanently gone. I’ll have my first procedure–the Essure device implanted to block my tubes. In three months I’ll do the second, the endometrial ablation that will remove my uterine lining.
My new husband and I put these things off for 11 cycles to see if we coudn’t get pregnant before taking that option away. It went well enough at first, normal cycles and perfect ovulation predictions and good temperature charts.
But by October, it was clear it wasn’t going to happen. A few attempts at implantation failed. Then I stopped ovulating all together. I still delayed the inevitable until after the holidays, trying to hold on to a little hope. But a couple weeks ago I knew it was time to just get it done.
I know many of you out there who have found my site are going through a bad week too. Test results don’t look good, a sonogram has shown no heartbeat, or maybe you’re just bleeding a little and trying to figure out why.
Generally when you write me and I write back, I will tell you that you will get through this, and that you will feel better. But I know as well as you do that RIGHT NOW you aren’t getting through it, you’re stuck IN it, and you don’t feel so great at the moment.
So we’ll embrace it together right now, you all and me, and just be sad. It’s Valentine’s Day and we can cry if we want to. At least, there will be chocolate.
Surgery on Monday at noon. See you all on the other side of my fertility.
Hugs all around.
Deanna is the author of Baby Dust and The Sperm Meets Egg Plan: Getting Pregnant Faster
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I never share private notes written to me, but sometimes I like to post my responses, as often what I say applies to many situations, and a keyword search might lead you here.
This response was for a woman considering suicide after her third miscarriage that she felt was her fault due to an infection she had.
Of course it makes sense to feel like the only good place is to be with your babies. I remember feeling exactly that same way. There is a lot of pain here, and sometimes dying feels like the only way to make it better.
I want to tell you that I don’t think the infection killed your babies. When an infection is to blame, you go into labor too early and the baby generally dies during the birthing process or shortly after. The infection makes your water break and preterm labor begin.
Otherwise, infection is actually pretty common in pregnancy, because we have a lot of yeast and our body temperature is warmer, helping it grow.
So the guilt—let that go. If anything, now that you have had two losses at about the same time, I would say you need to see a specialist, as I would be willing to bet that the shape of uterus might be the culprit here—something corrective surgery could fix. A test where they shoot dye into your uterus and xray it will tell us.
So here is my suggestion to you. Separate out the emotion of what has happened, which is super sad and feels like punishment, from the medical issue—from the FIGHT. Be ready to fight to be a mom. Figure out where you have strength, and work that strength like a muscle. Get angry that you have to do this fight, but know that this is what will make you strong. And learn what you need to know to get that baby you want so much.
Because let me tell you this—right now your body seems against you. Not only have the babies died. But in this period after a loss, your brain is literally robbed of chemicals—important ones that help balance out your moods. So this feeling like you want to die—it comes from those stupid chemicals. And the good news is, these chemicals WILL straighten out very soon. One day you are going to feel as though a cloud as lifted, and you can smile again. Then you will be upset—your babies have died and you just smiled! But it will be a sign that your babies are a part of your life, but not the focus of it. And you will get better. And you will be ready to fight. And you will get to the bottom of these losses.
And you will beat it and win.
And the babies in your future—how sweet that will be. How much more joy you will feel. You will never take it for granted.
Feel sad for those moms who complain about motherhood, who ignore their children. You will never be that mom. It ‘s the gift your babies are giving to you.
So hang on, mama. Fight this feeling until your body recovers and helps you cope. Then be ready for the battle of your life—getting answers and moving toward that family you so want.