You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘grief’ category.

I know it can be a hard day. Every marquee at every restaurant touts it. Sentimental commercials broadcast emotion. Your inbox swells with gift suggestions. The grocery store explodes with floral arrangements.

And here you are. Your baby isn’t here. You expected a swelling belly, or maybe even the bundle to be here. Or like me, maybe yours should have been scrawling crayoned rainbows on handmade cards by now.

But, you feel you have nothing.

Think of this way:

  • Did you feel joy when you learned you were pregnant?
  • Did you plan and hope and dream about the day your baby would arrive?
  • Did you want nothing more than a happy, healthy little one?

How is this different than every other mother? Are mothers whose children die full grown any less mothers because their children are no longer here? Of course not.

You are a mother. You were the bearer of that baby’s future. You brought this baby into the world, however it happened, at four weeks gestation, or full term, in a gush of blood and pain just like every mother does.

Don’t believe for a moment that everything out there isn’t talking about you. It is. And even more so, because you have born a grief that could destroy a mother’s hope–the loss of her child–and you have survived.

It’s your day. Take it to remember your baby. And send up a quiet word of thanks to your own mother, wherever she may be.

How many of you have heard these phrases?

  • It probably would have been deformed.
  • Thank goodness you were only in your first trimester.
  • It’s not like it was a real baby.
  • Just get pregnant again and you’ll feel better.
  • It was just a miscarriage.

When friends, family, acquaintances, and coworkers learn of your loss, they are going to feel the need to say something. They feel awkward and unsure. They definitely don’t want to make you cry.

So they try to come up with something to make you feel better. Somehow, they really do believe that downplaying the loss (only first trimester, not a real baby, just a miscarriage) will help you downplay it too. Or, that they can show you a “bright” side (deformed, nature’s way, not the right time.) Or give you advice (get pregnant again, don’t dwell on it, you’re only making yourself depressed.)

I’m not happy with these people. I wish I could be your personal guardian, walking around with duct tape and sealing their mouths. But usually they aren’t really trying to upset you. They want to say something. They don’t know that “I’m so sorry for the loss of your baby. Please let me know if I can do anything,” is plenty.

Ignore them when you can. Just nod and walk away. And when you’re feeling up for it–tell them. And explain to them what to say next time, before they repeat these things to someone else.

Sometimes as I go about life I stumble across something that brings my loss eight years ago flooding back. When I do, I tend to drown in it, obsess over it. Really dig in and let the grief and emotion wash over me again. It keeps Casey close, and even though it’s sad and hard, later I am glad I didn’t let life move on so fast that I don’t stop and devote a little time every once in a while just for him.

Yesterday I was randomly surfing Itunes for music and came across Josh Groban’s song “You Raise Me Up.” I loved his voice and today spent some time learning about this young singing sensation.

A few minutes ago I ran across this song and knew I had to post if for you ladies. I decided to link to this version of it rather than the actual video for the song as it features a woman as the subject, a lost love affair, but when he actually sings the song without images, well…you’ll understand.

Don’t do it at work, if you’re susceptible. Save it for a quiet moment…just you and your baby.

Josh Groban singing “To Where You Are” on Jay Leno:
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/229538/josh_groban/

More information about Josh’s debut CD with this song. He’s done many CDs since:
Josh Groban CD

Take time out for this. It’s sacred time. And it’s okay to grieve. For hours, days, months, and even all your life. It’s how we humans are designed–to mourn our loss in order to hold our love and hope all the closer to our hearts.

My grandfather died last night.

He had been in a lot of pain, and just had surgery the week before. He hadn’t been able to eat in weeks. His passing gives him ease from all that.

One thing that always happens when someone I know and love is dying is that I am desperate to talk to them, as if they could take a message from this world to the next and pass it on to my babies.

My grandmother was the first to die after we lost Casey. She had just celebrated her 80th birthday. She saw much of her family and had a happy day. She still got around all right and was as mentally alert as always. In the night she had an aneurysm and when they got her to the hospital they placed her on life support until all the family could gather.

I entered the darkened hushed room, the silence broken only by the occasional wheeze of the ventilator. Memaw’s chest rose and fell rhythmically with the machine. She was thin and fragile beneath the sheet.

I held her chilly hand, her grasp so limp. I had something critical to say to her, even though I was aware that she most likely had no hearing, no way to process the words. The doctors had told us she had no brain activity any more.

She would be the first to meet my baby; the first one to have known me in real life, with real hugs, to be able to embrace him too. I said to her, “Kiss him for me Memaw. Hug our baby Casey, you lucky great-grandma, you.”

Despite her medical state, despite what we all knew about her condition, God or fate or whatever mechanism controls this world of ours let her muscle contract and her hand squeeze mine. I was glad, so glad, for a confirmation that she heard and understood.

Tomorrow I assume I will leave town, depending on the time for the funeral. Yesterday was a hard day, as many of you know, on the miscarriage boards. Women upset at each other, causing all sorts of distress. I had to intervene at a level I had not done in many years. I wasn’t even sure what to think. What do we have in this world if we don’t have each other? A lot of death and dying and grief.

I wish before my grandfather died I could have told him to pick up little Casey–well, gosh, I guess he’d be 8 by now and embarrassed by that–so maybe pat him on the shoulder, ruffle his hair. But because of all the good things in this world–love, support, care,  empathy, understanding–I’m sure my grandfather already knows.

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus indeed.

I certainly knew my husband and I weren’t feeling the same way in the weeks following the baby’s death.

I was obsessive, moody, charged with emotion. He was calm, steady, maddening okay. Sometimes I just wanted to make him feel worse, pick a fight, increase the drama so we could stay upset, like we ought to be. Later I realized that relationships often work this way–only one person can fall apart at a time. Once I understood that it was more like a teeter totter than an unbalanced scale, I managed better.

How did you and the baby’s father manage in the days after the loss? Who grieved more? Did it cause friction, or did you find a deeper more meaningful place together?

Okay, I admit it. I’m not hanging in here too well

When did the weeping start again? A few days ago, I guess. Now I’m crying every day, many times a day. It’s been eight years, a web site, several versions of a bulletin board, e-cards and surely several thousand emails, and yet here I am, practically at square one, like it all just happened yesterday.

Tonight I expected some upset. I’ve been printing out the emails and comments in batches, then every few days  I read them all at once, highlighting things that strike a chord. This often upsets me, reading so many sad stories. It’s okay, I roll with the grief. I manage it okay. It’s important to feel it all, take it in, so I can draw it out again when I start writing the book.

I found mention of pregnancy loss bracelets, so I googled them, and found a site where a woman had lost her baby around the same time as I lost Casey.

But she had a lovely framed copy of her baby’s tiny hand and footprints.

That was it. I couldn’t take it.

Jealousy surged. The misery spouted through me like a geyser. I could have had those too! I made a stupid mistake! I didn’t get to see my baby! I didn’t get those footprints! I didn’t even get to find out the sex! If only I could go back, do it again, make different choices.

But I can’t. And it’s awful.

Well, ladies, one thing I’ve learned tonight is that precious little of this pain eases. Eight years and I still get overwhelmed with remorse and grief.

Yep. This is going to be a long road. I better duck my head and start weathering the waves.

Everything for weeks seemed directly related to my loss. Friends who didn’t call me back were avoiding me. Flowers that died were because I was a bad nurturer–no wonder the baby didn’t want to come. A simple question about how I was doing held the weight of an epic tragedy. I couldn’t hear what people were really saying–I just reacted out of anger and despair. For a time I thought my husband and I were not even going to stay together. We picked fights; I cried a lot.

Sometimes my moods would swing so fast even I couldn’t keep up with them. I would grow angry and throw any remembrances of the pregnancy in a box, then five minutes later I’d pull it all out, crying and hysterical. We planted a tree in the yard for Casey and I found myself out there all the time, wrapping my arms around the slender trunk. My neighbors must have thought I was nuts.

I’ve known women who got addicted to taking HPTs and would buy stashes online. Others obsessed over people who let their babies cry too long, or smoked while pregnant, or complained about their children. Many feel intense jealousy of pregnant women. Baby shower invitations are like hate mail.

Did you do anything that you thought was over the edge? If you aren’t comfortable putting it in the comments, you can email me.

My strangest moment came when I felt sure, I mean positive, that my baby was visiting me every night. One time he came all proud because he had learned to fly and wanted to show me. I lay in the bed, crying with pride and joy.

It didn’t make sense, but I didn’t care. Still don’t. My baby learned to fly!

I am so happy and amazed at all the support I’ve gotten–so many suggestions. I am still trying to compile it all. A new character has certainly come to me as I read over things. She’s young, 17, I think, and she got pregnant accidentally at 16 and lost the baby late due to a genetic defect. She will help us all understand that genetic problems are not just for women over 40. She is very grief stricken and becomes sort of the pet of the pregnancy loss group as everyone wants to mother her. Then she decides to get pregnant again but won’t tell her parents. This one is ectopic and it is a member of the group who recognizes her symptoms, the test that is positive then negative, the pain in the shoulder. She has scar tissue from the first pregnancy that caused it. I can picture her, tiny, short dark hair, likes to wear striped leggings and purple nail polish. She’s cute, friendly, sweet. I’ll think of a name for her soon. Maybe Tina.

I will work on the characters more. They come to me at odd moments. I also have in mind another one who marries a man with two kids from his first marriage. She loses her baby and feel inferior to the ex-wife. I’ll call her Melinda for now.

I think the woman who runs the group will be the one with infertility after her loss. She sees women come and go in the group–losing a baby and then finally having one, but she remains, childless, forever comforting the others.

I’ll work the secondary infertility in there too with someone. I might do it to Mindy, but maybe not. She’s already got a big load.

Keep telling me things–it helps!

Each miscarriage happens in such a different way.

With Casey I really had no idea although it seemed I suddenly stopped getting bigger. The sonogram was still totally unexpected–back at school where I was a teacher the students were waiting on my phone call. They’d all placed bets on whether I was having a girl or a boy. No one guessed what we might find instead.

The loss of the twin on the plane was a total shock, but when the bleeding did not get heavier as the day wore on, I began to think that maybe I was still pregnant. And I was. The following week was a hell of inconclusive bloodwork and sonograms until finally one sac collapsed and we could see there were actually two, a heart beating in the second. I was nine weeks along when the sac broke, but ten weeks before I knew what had happened.

Some women learn of their loss at the doctor’s office, through a sonogram like I did. Many of us have bleeding first, like I did the second time. Some women, I know, actually go into labor. Others get mixed test results for days, unsure about what will happen, if the baby is lost or not.

The scenarios are endless. I will need several, as women sitting in the circle of the pregnancy loss group will tell their stories. I want to know more.

How did your miscarriage start? How did you find out the baby was lost?