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Archive for the tag “grief”

On The Edge

Here I stand. My feet have shuffled up to the edge of the board, my cold white toes gripping. It’s the 10m diving board at the pool and I’ve been here before. The last four times I jumped I hit the water. Hard. And it hurt.

The very last time I wasn’t sure I’d make it out of the water. I sank to the bottom like a stone, all the air escaping out of my lungs. My vision blurred, the world slowed. Eventually I made it to the surface and struggled to the edge of the pool.

And there I lay for a long time, half in, half out. Cold. Shivering.

For a while I wasn’t sure I’d have another go, maybe it’s time to leave the pool. For how much can a soul bear? And not any soul, but my soul. But I made it up the ladder and here I am again.

I will jump, I just need a minute…

A minute to stay the icy cold fingers of fear gripping my heart, a minute to breathe and a minute to gather the light around me. Here, on the edge.

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Sharing Stories – Longing for a Child

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
Maya Angelou

In the beginning I wasn’t going to write this story. Then I began to write it but stopped and started to move on. But I want to write it because I’m really starting to see and feel the benefit of sharing stories.

Sharing a story is firstly very therapeutic for me. Somehow releasing it into the world lightens the load and gives me perspective. Secondly I feel that sharing your story can be so beneficial to others. I’m writing this one because somewhere out there in the world there is a woman who has had a similar experience to me and who is feeling lost, alone or unheard. We can take such comfort from knowing we are not alone, that other women have travelled our path and survived.

On the 12th March this year I sat with my husband in a waiting room feeling a little excited and a little anxious. I was 12 weeks pregnant and waiting to be called in for my scan. This was my fourth pregnancy since my daughter was born almost 3 years ago. Finally we are called in, I get up on the table, the Dr gets ready and I stare at the roof. I’m too nervous to stare at the giant screen on my right. A matter of seconds after the Dr starts his examination he says “I have to let you know that things aren’t going as they should be“. I shift my gaze to look at him. “I’m sorry, but I think it’s best just to tell you straight away‘.

Oh.

Okay.

Right…

It takes a moment to click into my head that the baby has died. I finally look aver at the screen and see the perfect silhouette of a baby at 8 weeks gestation. A perfect round head, a perfect arm, a little round belly, a little leg and then that pointy little bottom.

The Doctor is empathetic, quickly takes some measurements and makes arrangements for me to see my GP immediately. My husband and I are taken into a private room while we wait. I am in shock, I really thought this time might be different. I threw up just two hours ago for goodness sake! I have been sick and tired for weeks on end, day and night. There is an awkward moment in reception while we pay for the appointment and I’m standing next to a heavily pregnant woman and I have to force myself to look away.

We go to the GP and discuss options for the future. Previously I’ve miscarried at home but I opt for a D&C this time. The baby has been dead for about 4 weeks and I’m showing no signs at all of miscarrying naturally. Added to this is that in four days we are heading off on a family holiday that has been planned for months. It will also be the first holiday we’ve had in two years.

Two days later at 8am I arrive at the local hospital. The plan is to be admitted and take some medication at around 9.30am that will basically help to get the process starting. It initiates uterine contractions and bleeding. It takes two hours to work, so the procedure is planned for midday. The day turns out to be a series of delays and I don’t get into theatre until 4pm. It’s an emotional day but thankfully there is a woman in the bed beside me waiting for a D&C as well. We strike up a conversation and pass the time telling stories about our children and grieving our lost babies.

At 4.30pm I wake from the deepest and most relaxed slumber I can ever remember. Amongst the sadness I feel some relief that it’s all over with. It has felt strange and disturbing walking around for two days knowing I’m carrying a baby inside me that is no longer alive.

Having had previous miscarriages I’ve gotten to know my emotional ‘timetable’. I know that the first day I’ll be in shock. The following 3-4 days I’ll feeling surprisingly at peace and accepting of the situation. The hard part comes later. I’ll get to the depression and the anger. I swing wildly between them. It’s hard not to compare yourself with other women and families. Hearing pregnancy and birth announcements are particularly difficult. Seeing a mother and her children at the park and imagining how old your babies would be now. And I get angry, so angry. And I don’t know what to do with that. The ‘good girl’ is so heavily ingrained in me that even admitting to myself that I’m angry and jealous is hard work, let alone admitting it to anyone else. It just feels so UNFAIR! But sometimes we travel down a path in life that we didn’t think we would. Sometimes we don’t find the man of our dreams, sometimes having children isn’t as easy as we thought it would be and sometimes relationships fail when we thought they’d last forever.

Those have been my biggest lessons. Learning first of all to acknowledge my thoughts and emotions and secondly to accept them without judgment. This is how it is and this is how I feel and that’s ok. My instincts have been to either avoid and ignore those feelings or to grip them tightly and hold them so close that I feel like I’m drowning. That I just want to curl up into a big deep dark hole and never see the outside world.

If this is you, just know that it’s ok. The best thing a friend ever said to me was “Go gently and with love“. Be kind to yourself, give yourself time and space and do whatever you need to do to make this time easier. I found I needed to back away from some lovely friends who are pregnant because it was so hard for me to see them. I wrote to them and explained why and they’ve been very understanding. It’s not forever, but for now it helps me get through the tough bit. You may have a few days where you start to feel like your old self and then the depression comes down again. It’s just a rollercoaster of a ride.

I highly recommend reading this post about infertility. And also this one about losing a child. They helped me to feel that what I’m feeling is ok, that I’m not the only one.

Go gently and with love…

A Mother’s Grief

If you’ve read my previous posts (about miscarriage and grieving) you’ll know that my journey to have a second child has been a rocky one. It’s certainly not the journey I expected to have.

However up until this point I’d been able to explain and see possible reasons for my miscarriages and was feeling very positive that the third time would be successful. But unfortunately that has not been the case.

I had a miscarriage again last night…it was early, I’d only known I was pregnant for a week. But a week can be a long time. The due date was calculated, my mind had been wandering, hoping and imagining for the future. And I met up with a group of close friends yesterday only to discover 3 out of 4 of us were pregnant – all 4 weeks apart – how incredible! How exciting it was going to be!

And now what? Really? This had to happen to me, again? Me, who eats well and looks after myself and desperately, desperately longs for a child.

Why? That’s all I can think. Why?

And now I’ve just got to remember to breathe again…

The World Keeps on Turning…

I’m not sure if learning to let go is really the most accurate thing to say, neither is learning to move on. I think it’s acceptance that I’m really trying to learn.

It’s been two months now since I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks and it’s really been harder than I expected. Initially I was very accepting and philosophical – yes I’m sad, but these things just happen sometimes and my body did what it needed to do. And I didn’t really have any doubts that at some point I would have another baby.

I have days where I’m okay, days when I just pretend to be okay and days where I’m really not okay at all. Just when I feel like I’m coping a massive wave of emotion comes along and just bowls me over. I have no control. It’s like being a tiny little duck in a big stormy sea.

I felt like I needed the world to just stop for a while until I got my breath back, just give me a chance to find my feet. But the world just keeps on turning.

And friends just keep getting pregnant. This is something that is particularly difficult for me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the most obvious is that it’s because I’m not anymore and I can’t say it. Secondly, I’m happy for them, honestly I am, but it’s covered in layers of ‘It’s not fair’ and ‘It’s my turn now’ and I feel so incredibly GUILTY about feeling that.

So I figured I just need to start changing my perspective, that I’d really come to a fork in the road and I had to decide which way to go…hence this little picture I drew:

I really try to be a ‘glass half full’ person, so firstly I thought about taking a step back and looking at the big picture. As a woman in Australia I’m already so much more fortunate than most of the women in this world. I don’t have to worry about violence or poverty. I have a roof over my head and food in the cupboard. I have a wonderful husband and the most delightful, precious daughter I could ever hope for.

There are also so many women out there who have such a difficult path to travel to even have children and I’ve heard some particularly heartbreaking stories in the last couple of months. Multiple miscarriages, IVF journeys and the hardest to hear (let alone go through) was of a woman who has had a late termination due to severe abnormalities of the foetus. This really puts my world into perspective.

The problem with both these thought processes is that I’ve realised I was kind of telling myself I don’t have the right to be sad when so many others have much harder issues to deal with, which really isn’t helpful either.

I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful group of women in my Mothers Group who have given me a voucher for a meditation course. I really think this is going to be the key to grounding myself, facing my emotions (however scary they are) and healing. I had the first session yesterday and spent most of the 1.5hrs crying, which just shows how raw I’m still feeling.

I hope I can continue to share this story with those of you that read it, it feels rather self-indulgent but it really helps to clear my head and face what I’m feeling.

Thankyou 🙂

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