Tag Archive | Capture Your Grief

I Want the World to Know…

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.

Before and After

I’m proud to say that I have kept up with CarlyMarie’s Capture Your Grief Project.  It’s been somewhat liberating – a good pictorial release of my feelings and emotions.  I’m looking forward to seeing the finished album of pictures at the end of the month.  It’s also been a great way to connect with other babyloss moms.  Seeing other’s pictures helps me to feel less alone in this journey.

Day two’s theme was a before loss self-portrait.  I chose this picture:

It was the morning of my baby shower.  I was 33 weeks pregnant.  It was 13 days before Maya was born and died.

Day three’s theme was an after loss self- portrait.  I didn’t have very many to choose from as I haven’t felt very photogenic.  This is what I came up with:

This was the emergency trip to NYC that my mom took me on out of desperation to have something to look forward to and something to do this past summer.  This was about 6 weeks after my loss.

When I look at these two pictures, taken approximately 8 weeks from each other, I feel like I aged 10 years.  In the first photo, I see someone so young, so naive, so happy, so blissfully unaware, so full of hope, anticipation, and excitement.  I see someone who I will never be again.  In the second photo, I see someone who is so broken and struggling to smile.  I see someone with confusion and loss in her eyes.  I see someone whose dreams have been dashed.

Now, this moment, 3 months, 2 weeks, and 4 days after my loss, I don’t recognize either of these women.  I feel much older and wiser than the girl in the first photo-schooled in one of the worst possible things that can happen in a person’s life.  I now know the kind of grief that tears at your soul and finds its way into every aspect of life.  The naivete in that girl’s eyes is gone forever.

The girl in the second picture was in a fog, a cloudy mess of confusion, disbelief, and heart-wrenching sadness.  Now, that fog has lifted slightly.  I have gained some clarity and redefined life, love, and loss.  That girl felt like she had nothing to look forward to, and I no longer feel that way.  I’m beginning to understand how to live life again and how to share Maya with anyone and everyone who will listen/read.  I am able to smile with slightly less effort than what it took in that picture.

This is a journey.  And though, in the grand scheme of life, 3 months, 2 weeks, and 4 days is very little time, I have come very far on this climb up the mountain.  I know Maya would be proud of her strong Mommy.

October

I have a really good feeling about this month.  October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and I am feeling very motivated to do as much as I can to honor Maya.  Starting with… CarlyMarie’s {Capture Your Grief} project.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to participate.  When I first read about it, I wanted to.  Then I read the details and I didn’t think I would be able to keep up.  Then, this morning, I changed my mind again.  Day 1’s theme was sunrise.  On my way to work, I took this picture:

It’s very hard to take a picture of the sunrise where I live.  There are lots of trees in the way so this was the best I could do.  I actually really like the picture because of the way the clouds look.  I like to think of Maya dancing among the clouds.

October is going to be good.  It has to be good.  I have a lot to focus on and a lot to look forward to.  I have learned how to move through my grief rather than avoid it.  Living through the pain, feeling it with every ounce of my soul makes each day somewhat easier to bear.  I no longer live each day in fear of when the sadness will strike because I know I can get through it.  They say the last stage of grief is acceptance.  As I have said before, grief is not linear and I am not where near the last ‘stage’.  I’m not sure I’ll ever reach a point of acceptance – I don’t like that word in this situation.  What I have figured out how to do is embrace my loss as part of my life.  By embracing my loss, I am acknowledging Maya’s life and the effect it has had on me and on others.

October 1st – Rabbit Rabbit – It has to be good :)