Thursday, May 17, 2012

The journey of stillbirth - what to expect part 1

I am reliving so many of the things I'd forgotten. I am recognising so many of my sis-in-law's emotions and feeling them myself for her. One of the first things you feel when you lose a baby at the end of a pregnancy is "how can I possibly start all over again". You feel exhausted and utterly defeated at the thought of starting from scratch. You have worked so hard to get this far and it's all come to nothing. "What was the point of all of this?" But soon - like within the same day - you feel desperate to start again. Basically life has been concentrated down to one miniscule, utterly focused point - having a child - and it seems to have very little point beyond that and so in those moments the only thing that seems to have any glimmer of hope or value in it and the only reason there seems to be for bothering to go on is the prospect of still being able to have a child. With both her and I, we lost our first. I guess it might be different if we had already had children. I remember not really speaking about it too much as people think you are loopy and should just focus on getting through the days ahead. They may be right, but so are we, because really, the only possible thing that gets you through those days, when a massive, gigantic all encompassing baby shaped hole takes up your heart, is the possibility of another child. Basicaly you need that hope. I remember saying something like "I will have a baby by next christmas or else". Else what? Else I would throw a tantrum? Hate the world? Top myself? No idea. Basically I don't think I'd have been able to breathe without a baby. That's more or less how it felt. Of course, at the same time, there is nothing more terrifying than the prospect of another pregnancy - naivete gone now that it is - but still, despite that horrific, choking fear, the prospect of NOT being pregnant is even worse. Rock and a hard place of note. With your first baby, your first pregnancy, the prospect of a child remains a bit abstract until you hold him or her. Of course you love that child and dream of her and all that, but only once you hold her does an entire shift in you occur. That's true either way. Many moms would be nervous or reluctant to hold their stillborn - of course they would - but part of why it is so important is because that mother's love envelops you when you do and so you can then mourn her wholeheartedly. And what an utterly bittersweet moment it is, to hold your child for the first and last time. To feel all the love in the world for a child who has already left the world. For the mom of a stillborn you feel much bitterness ahead of the time. You feel angry and victimised by life. But seeing and holding your child softens you. It's as if, for a while after that at least, that pain is distilled into something very pure and sweet. The simple sadness of a mom who has lost her little girl. That sadness must be the most agonising pain on earth (ok one of them at least), but it is such a beautiful thing. So much of the grief that follows is tainted by offence and bitterness and fear and all muddied emotions, but that sadness is just you and your girl. When I felt it again a while ago I treasured it. A friend offered to pray for the pain to go and I said something like "don't you dare. It is too precious and rare to feel that untainted grief". ***side note: I just overheard my dad saying to someone "now we know why caz had to go through this herself - so she can help others". Meh. Yes and no. MEH! That doesn't answer why others have to go through it. ugh. I mean I agree and I disagree and it all just sucks. Ok I have to go. there is more, much more, and perhaps this will be helpful to anyone else who has to support and try to understand someone going through this.

5 comments:

po said...

So sorry to hear this news Caz.

acidicice said...

Caz, I can so relate to this. Wanting to fill that gap...wanting continue immediately...the fear. I have started the fear all over again. We can only hope and pray for a happy ending and the gift that is a healthy, living child.

Nes said...

I am so sorry, Caz. I am thinking of you and your sister-in-law and your family. I can't understand why this would happen- I can't even imagine the pain. I am so sorry.

Angel said...

In all honesty, I have a real problem believing things are "meant to be"... I don't think God is that cruel.
And I can imagine how this blog post must be both therapeutic and painful.

Anonymous said...

I just lost my daughter last month at 22 weeks and I can totally relate to everything you wrote. In fact, this is the first time I've come across any words that truly express my emotions (and I've been searching a lot of blogs). She was born on a Tuesday which also happened to be the day that marked each week of her development. I feel like I was cut down in the middle of my first pregnancy with no warning. The happiest time of my life ruined on a day that seemed like any other. And like you, I immediately felt the need to survive this trauma somehow, some way. I want to get pregnant again soon because I believe having a child to love and raise will be the only thing that can help me to heal a little. Otherwise, how can I keep living with these waves of anger, grief, and the sight of a baby seat in every car that passes? I also feel that if I don't take the plunge I will start to believe it wasn't meant for me to be a mother. But if I move on in such a way, how do I stay connected to my first daughter? It's a amazing how the pain and sadness seem like the only tangible connection I have left to her and for that reason I don't want to let go.