I am proud to say that I stuck with CarlyMarie’s Capture Your Grief project. I have posted a photo every day for the month of October. I’m slightly bummed that the project is coming to an end. It’s been a good outlet for me. Today’s prompt is ‘Your Grief – Tell the World’. This is the picture I posted:
You’ll have to click on it to read. The points I made are just a few of the things I would like to tell the world. So, I decided to let today’s prompt inspire my blog post.
Most women do not experience pregnancy or infant loss. While 1 in 4 is high … too high, I am still in the minority. So many times, people say, “I can’t imagine”. And this is what I’d like to say to them: “You’re right. You can’t imagine. And I wouldn’t want you to. Until you are in this place, you can’t know what I am going through, so don’t try to pretend you know.” I read somewhere that when you experience the loss of a child, you not only have to deal with your own grief, but you have to educate everyone else on how to deal with you. It’s a lot of pressure. This is one of the reasons I started my blog. If I can help just one person learn how to better interact with a woman who has lost a child, I will have accomplished my goal.
One thing that has bothered me greatly is that I feel as though, around certain people, I cannot refer to my pregnancy. This has been one of the most difficult things to deal with. If I reference my pregnancy when not talking about my loss but of that time in my life, all goes quiet, everyone becomes awkward, and I feel like an idiot while putting my foot in my mouth. Apparently, when your baby dies, you are not allowed to talk about your pregnancy, you can’t relate to others who are pregnant, you can’t reminisce about cravings and swollen feet. So, I want the world to know that the fact that Maya died does not mean that I have to forever avoid talking about when I was pregnant with her. If anything, I will talk about my pregnancy with her more because those are the only memories I have. Please do not cringe when I reference my pregnancy.
Time has become very strange. Sometimes it feels like time has passed so quickly. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and other times I wish I could fast forward through life. Then, I remind myself that life is a gift and I need to cherish each day. Today, October 30th – 4 months and 2 weeks since Maya was born and died, is very significant. It’s made even more significant by the fact that we just had a big storm that resulted in down power lines and no school. One year ago today there was a big storm. It snowed. There were down power lines. We had no power. We had nothing to do. We made Maya. I find it very strange, sad, meaningful, confusing, etc. that one year later the circumstances are so similar and I am so different. I am such a different person now. I want the world to know that. I am forever changed.
In the weeks following our loss, the support came pouring in through our mailbox, facebook profiles, and cell phones. For about a week, we received large stacks of sympathy cards every day. With each day that followed, the stack got smaller, the facebook notifications lessened, and our cell phones matched the silence of our home with no baby. I think this is what happens with any kind of loss. Everyone provides their sympathy and condolences in the beginning and then, for the most part, go about their lives. Don’t get me wrong, there have been several people who continue to provide us with support, ask us how we are doing, and remind us that they will never forget our baby girl. I want the world to know that my world has come to a crashing halt – still after 4 months and 2 weeks. While you carry on, Hackie and I are still devastated and still trying to pick up the pieces of our world that has come crumbling down.
Many people comment on my strength. They marvel at how ‘well’ I am doing and how I appear to have fun and be happy every now and then. Fine. I’m doing ‘well’. I am a strong person – I’ve always been that way. I can have a good time and feel happy. But, I am not, by any means, healed. Most days, I am still sad. Most days, you would never know. I go to work, I teach, I interact with colleagues, I appear to be ‘fine’. I am not. Most of the time, I breathe a big sigh of relief when I get to the end of a day. I can’t cry at work. I can’t appear sad. My students do not know my past and I don’t want them to. So I keep it in. I want the world to know that though I appear ‘fine’, ‘happy’, doing ‘well’, ‘strong’, I am still sad. I am devastated. I miss Maya every second of every day.
I’ve said it before. The best thing that you can do for anyone who has experienced the loss of an infant is say their baby’s name. Let them know that you are thinking about them. Let them know that you will always remember their baby. I know that as time passes, I will find the light, I will feel hope once again, and my grief will fit into my life in a different way. For now, I want the world to know that my grief is very present in my life. On some days, it defines me. I want the world to know that life for me is very hard and I am doing the best I can.