No matter how often I tell myself to expect to come down after a period of good days, it always shocks me that I can still feel so miserable. After the baby shower I hosted recently, the whole house was clean, we were eating dinner at the kitchen table every night, and I was doing really well. Of course, it didn’t last.
I know it’s logical and normal and expected that I’ll have a hard time for months, years to come. But on some level I keep hoping that when I feel good, it’s because I’ve made great progress toward healing and things will keep getting better. Overall, yes, I do think I’m making progress and I feel much better than I did four months ago – but how foolish of me to hope there wouldn’t be any more pain.
I hate seeing babies. I don’t hate babies – I just can’t stand the anguish of having buried my baby. Of not only knowing but of feeling, over and over again, that I’ll never hold Christian or watch him grow up or send him to his room for being naughty. He’s missing from my life and it’s a huge, gaping hole. I hate how severely grief hurts. Before all of this, “grief” was just a word. Now it’s almost tangible.
On good days I barely remember what this despair is like. When it comes back, though, I wonder how I’ll ever get back to normal.
I am slowly, slowly starting to feel more like myself again. And it surprises me – mostly because I hadn’t realized how much I’ve changed. I don’t know whether I started feeling well enough to get things done, or whether I started feeling better because I was getting things done. It was probably a combination of the two. But I cleaned; I made a menu and a shopping list and went to the grocery store; I cooked dinner; I threw a baby shower (bad idea); and I remembered that I used to feel a certain way. A way that I seldom feel lately.
If you have glasses or contacts, think of how the world looks without them on. It’s like I had been seeing everything blurry, but without realizing it was blurry. And when I finally could see again, it was refreshing and exhilarating and joyful. (I have terrible vision, so this analogy works well for me.) Last week we were sitting eating dinner at the kitchen table (for the first time in months!) and it occurred to me that we used to be like this – I used to feel like life was moving forward. Even if one day was awfully similar to the next, things still happened. For the past few months everything has been paused and suspended. Time passed, but life was stuck. I was stuck.
I’m sure I’ll have more days where I feel stuck. Although it’s hard for me to accept, I know the ups and downs will be with me for a while, so I don’t delude myself that this period of good feelings is permanent. But it gives me hope. I love finding out that even with all that’s happened, I’m still me. Because you know what? I like me.
1. No baby today. Kind of a bummer.
2. Recently when June woke up, she told me, “I had beautiful dreams in my bed!” It was adorable.
3. Jarom asked Evan how much he loves me. Evan replied, “An elephant stacked on another elephant stacked on another and another and another and another, all the way up to the sky! And a rhinoceros on top.”
4. I saved up money and got a used iPad (1st generation). I loooooooove it! June came with me to buy it from a college kid, and I mentioned getting a toddler-friendly case. The guy thought I was buying the iPad as a toy for June. June and Evan think I bought it for them, too.
5. Evan refuses to come to the store with me to buy donuts. It’s child neglect if I leave him here. Oh, dilemmas.
My original due date was next Tuesday. In the past few weeks I’ve learned that a lot of my friends are expecting; most of the other moms who were due around the same time as me have had their babies or are about to, obviously. It’s so hard to be reminded of the hospital bag I’m not packing, the epidural I’m not getting, the blanket I’m not trying to swaddle, the tiny fingers I’m not holding, the stinky diapers I’m not changing, the healthy baby I’m not bringing home.
When I read a few books on grief after I learned that Christian wouldn’t live, they talked about many women feeling jealous and resentful toward other moms, especially moms with new babies. I didn’t understand that I really would feel like I’d be glad to be desperately uncomfortable in the last few weeks of pregnancy – glad to be going through a long labor with a healthy baby at the end – glad to be spending sleepless nights with a newborn.
This is still miserable.