Thursday, August 16, 2012

days become weeks become months

We are now 3 months down the line from Lilly's death. And as that time wears on you realise that for my SIL now and for myself back then, the hospital is perhaps the sweetest part of this whole ordeal. Now that sounds ludicrous I'm sure. And many husbands would want to usher their wives out and home as quickly as possible after the child is born, but if you are fortunate enough to have a caring hospital - where you are shown much care and placed far from babies and happy moms - then the hospital may well be the best of the worst. For one thing, the hospital is the first and last place you will have seen your baby and so, agonising as that is, it is precious. There is a closeness. A newness. The pain is raw and searing, but it is pure - untainted just yet by the inevitable anger, bitterness and hopelessness that follows. It is simply what it is: grief in its purest form. And something of that pure grief is beautiful because it connects you to your child. Back in the real world, as the weeks pass by and you're left with only the empty womb which failed you and surrounded by people who are determined to continue with life as it once was, moms will feel a loneliness like nothing on earth. There really is no describing it. People are wonderful and they try, but really it is you, as the mom, who has known your child and so it is you, as the mom, who grieves that child and will do so as long as you live. Dads* and famly and friends mostly grieve the prospect of what might have been - they grieve it, they accept it and they move on. Moms alone grieve what was. What is. What never will be. And how do you keep the bitterness at bay? How can you be happy for the pregnant around you? And how is it possible that every waking female in a 50km radius will joyfully announce their pregnancy within a month or two of your loss? And how do you paste that smile on your face when people say the ridiculous things that they do? And how do you ever ever make peace with the determined way women in our age and culture insist on bitching about the burden of motherhood, almost affectionately, as if they are hard done by heroes? And how long do you ignore the nursery and leave it set up, museum-like for the arrival of the baby that will never happen, and how long til you muster up the courage to unpack the baby bag? How long til you can have caffeine and alcohol and sushi and all the things you so stoically refused during your pregnancy without feeling some misplaced and non-sensical guilt? And how do you muster up enthusiasm for the job you once loved given that you should be home, flawless infant cuddled to your chest? It's hard. And all you can possibly do is try to get up each day and brace yourself to face the world. * This is my experience - I know of some exceptions of dads who have and do grieve their stillborn children deeply and ongoingly