Letters to Readers: World caving in

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 who after years of infertility and a husband who did not seem to want a baby, got pregnant, then lost the baby despite going off the meds she feared would harm it, even though she needed them for mental illness.

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Let’s first start with why you are feeling so awful.

1. A very sad and awful thing has happened, and you were both taken by surprise, and pushed and pulled back and forth for a bit before you knew for sure.

2. Your body, during this process, changes your chemistry to go from pregnant to non-pregnant, stripping your brain of very important chemicals that normally help you cope.

3. You are off medicines that normally help you, so problem number 2 in your case is much much worse than in other women.

That right there is enough to send ANYONE off the deep edge. I’d be peering over cliffs and testing ropes for sturdiness too!

But you have more.

4. Unsympathetic family. Forgive them. They just don’t know any better.

5. A situation that was unexpected from the start–you’re infertile, you’re not, you’re pregnant, you’re not. No wonder you want more meds. Hey, pass the bottle, I need some just worrying about you!

6. Some discord between you and your husband. He didn’t want a baby. But he had adjusted. That’s a sign of a good daddy-to-be. He’s said some things that aren’t so great about grieving. But that’s okay. He’s grieving too. Life isn’t anything like he expected, and he’s as bewildered as you are at how to handle it. And he’s withholding things from you that would comfort and heal you both, mainly sex, which is just fine and safe with condoms and would actually HELP this process along both physically (to encourage cramping) and emotionally. I urge you to help him see this so you can go back to a loving, take-care-of-each-other relationship. Right now it’s not good at all.

First, let me tell you, miscarriage is never your fault. Never, ever. If it were, no one would ever have babies, because all of us, at some point, doubt our abilities to care for one, or if getting pregnant were wise, and if we are in a good relationship, and if it’s a good time. ALL of us do this.

The main thing you need right now is to give yourself lots of space to behave any way you need. Don’t let anyone tell you how to act or when to be better. Realize much of this is physical bones-tissue-blood-chemistry and NOT a personal failing. Don’t pull this into your head, make it about your character. Mother Nature is often not a mother or nurturing. She’s a cold hearted witch with a capital B.

You’re doing fine. You’re reading, researching, learning, and reaching out. You’re going to get through this. And on the other side of it, when your sadness is a part of you but not ALL of you, you’re going to see the life this baby has given you, the changes that will happen due this tragedy. It may never make sense, but you will see its impact.

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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.

There is no perfect partner in grief

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.

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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.

Letters from Readers: Suicide Thoughts, Again

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, unable to get out of bed or care for her family.

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It is very natural to feel super terrible after losing a baby, both physically and emotionally. We do all go through it. We think about dying to be with our babies. We don’t want to talk to people. It’s very normal to be very very upset.

Right after a D&C, the body has to adjust to not being pregnant. The chemicals that were in your body while you were pregnant have to all get filtered  out of your blood. During this process, your brain is robbed of a VERY important chemical called seratonin. While it’s missing, you feel just awful, crying, drained, miserable, angry, snappy, like screaming, then suddenly not wanting to move or go anywhere, unable to function. It’s just awful.

But know that it’s only a few days, two weeks at the most. If it goes on longer than that, then another thing has happened, and your body is not recovering chemically. It’s VERY important if you still don’t want to get out of bed after about two weeks that you talk to your doctor. You can get in very bad shape and feel very suicidal if you don’t get something to help you through the transition until your body can take over your emotions and moods again.

The whole thing is always so sad. You lose your baby, then your body makes a mess of your life. I’m so sorry you are going through it. I’ve been there three times, and it was so awful. I remember wanting to drive my car off a cliff and later thinking–why did I even want to do that? It wasn’t me. It was just this mess in my body at the time.

Realize there is a difference between THINKING about suicide and PLANNING it. We all think it. Really, we do. It’s part of the healing process. But if you start planning how you’ll do it, or what you’ll do, or when, the minute you sense you’ve crossed that line, don’t think twice, call 1-800-SUICIDE. They’ll talk you through it and tell you much of what I’ve told you here.

Hang in there. It’s a hard road. You’re not alone. So many of us have walked this path and struggled through it. There is so much out there ahead, so much love to feel and babies to have. You’ll get there, I promise.

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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.

Sometimes you just have to embrace the sadness

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.

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Deanna is the author of Baby Dust and The Sperm Meets Egg Plan: Getting Pregnant Faster

Letters to Readers: Miscarriage and Desertion

I never share private emails sent to me, but I occasionally post my responses with any identifying information taken out, in hopes that keywords will lead you to some answers.

This letter was to a young woman whose boyfriend left her after the miscarriage, and she lost her apartment and had to move back in with her parents until she got back on her feet.

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This is so much to endure! I am so sorry you have to deal with this alone.

There is no way to put any sort of positive spin or silver lining on this. It’s just a horrible part of your life that can only test your endurance and your hope. Another sweet baby–gone. No one to hold on to you as you go through it.

At least you do have your parents’ home to go to, and perhaps you can surround yourself with little things that remind you of a simpler time, when you were a child, and did not have to go through all these hard times. A favorite dish maybe. A stuffed animal from when you were little. Try to remember what it was like to be innocent of all this, and then steadily work your way into looking forward to a better day ahead.

It sounds like a fresh start awaits you, with a new love, a new relationship, one that can only be better. And that baby that will hopefully be out there, when you are ready, and you and a doctor can sit down and go over everything happening in your body so you can get some answers.

Life has handed you a difficult period. It’s up to you to pull together every ounce of strength you have and get through it. I’ll send you everything I can spare–all the calming thoughts, love, and hugs.

Just do the best you can. It’s all anyone can ask of you.

Deanna

 

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