To Share or Not to Share

It has been some time since I have had anything milling through the ol’ brain that was share-worthy but I noticed I had been triggered a bunch this past week and felt this was a good “place” to go to. I realized when I had initially gone back to work I chose a safe way to do so, I joined a group practice and had much anonymity in terms of having to interact with colleagues. Each clinician had their own schedule and their own key to the office. This was good because small talk was to a minimum. I realize that because I spent November 2013-April 2014 pregnant, thereafter managing the trauma of the loss, I am not the best a light passing conversation without seeming cagey. Now, that I am back in a full time work environment, small talk is hard to avoid. Also, working predominantly with women, conversations surrounding children, or past pregnancies are rampant. I find myself riddled when I want to share or chime in on a pregnancy story or woe, because inevitably the dreaded question of “how old is your child” will come up and then the reply becomes another challenge. Especially in a profession where “careful self-disclosure” is something discussed often. Luckily I had to let the cat out of the bag early when I was asked if I would be interested in facilitating a parenting group. My knee-jerk reaction was “yes” being the people-pleaser that I am, but then after ruminating in my office, I spoke with my colleague about how I am not the best candidate to run that group at this time.  It’s all a challenge when you’re in the “feelings” business and not knowing how to navigate your own. Til next time.

Ironically I will now share this on facebook. Oh, modern times.

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Coming up on the due date…

It’s been a while since I have posted. Mostly because I have been adjusting to getting back into the world, starting work again, seeing loved ones and scarily enough, avoidance. I know that events in April have transpired and paved the path for this “new normal”. This “new normal” involves not taking any human life and interaction for granted, because for a person to exist, so many things need to go right. I know that now and the simplicity of things has been bringing a new joy to my life. That in contrast with the deep pain that I will feel from time to time. It can catch me off guard. My therapist has suggested that I schedule my grieving, which had initially struck me as a strange concept, since I was of the belief that I am grieving all over the place. The point she has been making, if I think about it, has been I haven’t been attaching my feelings (which have been grandiose), to the loss. I haven’t yet visited Anders burial site and I haven’t attended a support group since April. I know there is no “right” way to handle loss, but in all that I do since April, has been marked by the loss of our baby without really talking about him at all. In approximately one week would have been his due date and when I think about it I am faced with a gaping hole which could suck me in and keep me there so I know I need to go slowly….and carefully. This is my new mantra. Take no one and nothing for granted and tread lightly. I also owe a big thanks to all that have been so profoundly supportive and loving.

Being a patient, patient…

So, it has been over 2 months since the loss of our little one. Time seems at a standstill in some ways as I haven’t yet gotten back into a work dictated routine, which has structured my feeling of feelings for years now. As these (feelings) are allowed to come and go freely, as was discussed between my therapist and I yesterday that my “job” right now is to take care of myself, I feel less stress and pressure. This leaves the sad and the happy in its’ truest form (and everything in between). It’s not diluted or altered by any other stimulus. This is a privilege and I acknowledge that. I find myself saying that I need to get back to work and realize when I say that, that I mean I need to go back to taking care of others instead of feeling the range of emotion that is necessary to heal. Of course I realize the practicality of paying bills, contributing to society and not to mention I do love what I do.

I want to thank Anders for pointing out a long overdue need.In pregnancy he required rest for both him and I which I had been lacking in and in his passing has offered me the gift of discovering what it is I truly need to do to take of long overdue issues so that I can be a Mom. Not only to myself but to who could be my future child.

 

When it hits…

It’s been over a month since the loss of Anders. Having some distance from the physical experience leaves a deep pain in my heart and stomach, where Anders used to live. It’s not a constant pain, but when it occurs, it takes my breath away. I had thought it would become easier to detect when it would hit, but it never comes when I expect it. Last lightning bolt of pain was at a pharmacy yesterday waiting in line for a prescription and caught sight of the baby shower cards out of the corner of my eye. I didn’t cry but was lost in the feeling for what could have been one minute or 27 hours. Who knows. Time is irrelevant these days but I need to recount the when/where so I can feel like my “normal” schedule oriented self. There is safety in schedules. I don’t have that right now. It’s a free form grief process that can vacillate between extreme sadness and an overwhelming feeling that I will be “OK” but not sure that “OK” will look like anything like it used to.

Upswing

The whole adage of positive drawing positive near has some validity even in complicated times. I just took Nutty for a walk and ran into our neighbor, who, ironically, I have been trying to avoid due to a “Seinfeld-Esque” awkwardness which warrants a separate entry altogether. He was carrying his 3 month old baby girl out of the car, who had been sitting next to his sleeping 3 year old son. Normally this would be a trigger for me, but instead I rolled with my own resistance and engaged him in conversation. After disclosing our loss, I learned from him that his wife suffered 3 losses, one full term. We had a pretty heartfelt conversation about life and loss, and he said that I could call his wife anytime as she still struggles with her losses. They have since had 3 healthy children, never lost hope. This conversation and openness left me feeling again, that it’s best to trust your gut in sharing with others. We all need each other and there are many more similarities than differences when it really comes down to it. 

Time

Often it is said that time heals all wounds. I will agree that having some distance between a painful event can lessen the blow, similar to getting used to a change, but I am not sure if healing necessarily takes place without actively embracing the event. I can say from this experience that time hasn’t healed the pain. In some ways it’s actually harder because all the activity surrounding the event comes to a halt and the memories surge.

I had my follow up with my midwife this past week and she filled out the referral to the high-risk specialist for a consult about trying again. I told her we needed some time before the meeting. We were told the short version of what to expect if we get pregnant again was regimented management and still no guarantees. I want to be in a head space where hearing those words sounds more hopeful as right now my knee-jerk reaction to most news is to pick out the negative. 

“What have you been up to lately?”

Running into people at the grocery store is generally not a big deal, except, when it is. Today is the first time I have run into someone I haven’t seen in just about a year who asked the dreaded question, “what have you been up to lately?”. I hadn’t thought about this scenario. If I have been asked,  it has been someone I know well enough to disclose the truth,  or someone who is enough of a stranger that “not much” or “busy busy” would have sufficed. This person was in the grad program I had graduated from and we knew each other professionally and for over the course of a couple years. I didn’t have a stock answer prepared, so I blurted out, ” I was pregnant for 6 months and lost the baby, I am taking time off from work right now to heal”. Now there’s a way to bring a conversation to a grinding halt. Luckily, she being a therapist, was very kind and said all the right things, but in that moment I realized that this is going to be a reality that I face over time until I get back in the swing. Normally, I could have avoided anything personal with the usual “all work no play”, etc, but literally, pregnant, is what I have been for the past 6 months, no further explanation needed.

Haunted by Details

Here we are, a month out from the dreaded day but the bills still remain piled up on the dining room table. I decided a beautiful Sunday morning would be a prime time to tackle them. The story comes to life again in dates and care rates. We are fortunate enough to say we have a pretty good insurance policy so we can pay these off as they come, but they come with vivid reminders of the sequence of when things happened, where they happened and who was there when it happened. I decided to balance the bills with thank you notes to all of my care providers to bring some humanity into the mix. That seemed to help a bit. 

Not to mention, the maternity clothes I bought that aren’t returnable and the baby clothes/items downstairs. I am still not sure what to do about that. I convinced myself that the maternity bathing suit is wearable this summer since the material is meant to stretch anyhow. 

We will get to all of it in time.