Two steps forward, one step back; I don’t want to do this anymore

Lest my last two posts make anyone believe the silly line that having a living baby makes it all better, I am here today to tell you it does not. I am not sure if it’s that it’s April (Natan’s due date month) or the distance from my all-consuming subsequent pregnancy worries, but the past few days have been rough. Two days ago, I encountered, in one of the lactation rooms on campus I hadn’t used before, a lovely recliner. It was by far the most comfortable chair I’ve seen in one of those rooms, and yet it ruined my day entirely because it happened to share the upholstery of the chairs in the L&D wing of Old Hospital. I had no idea something like that could still prostrate me. This morning, while swimming at the Y, I remembered I was in the lane I’d been in the last time I swam during my pregnancy with Natan. Guilt and bad feelings flooded in. Why wasn’t I more activist then? Why didn’t I demand that they not dismiss my contractions as Braxton Hicks? Why didn’t I insist on a cervical measurement at my last appointment? Why when I felt badly after dinner the night before all hell broke lose didn’t I think to go to L&D? Maybe my cervix would have just enough length for an emergency cerclage. Or maybe going on bedrest those 18 hours earlier could have bought us more time. I know the rational answers to all that and I’ve been through the pangs a million times before. I know that I couldn’t have known, that I was trusting those who were supposed to know. That I am not in control of everything.I am so sick of being a grieving mom. I WANT desperately for the rumors to be true: for Baby Man’s healthy birth to erase the events of the year preceding it, to be able to say, “But look now it’s all better!” But it’s not. It’s easier, a little better, but not all better. It never will be.

Edited to add: ok, that’s a bit dramatic. Life, I should say, is a lot better. The days are a lot happier than before. But when the grief comes, it’s not better.

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9 responses to “Two steps forward, one step back; I don’t want to do this anymore

  1. A comment someone made to me the other day, about how happy I should be after all I had been through, brought it back to me. Stopped me in my tracks. When it’s bad, it doesn’t feel like it’s any different than when it just happened. Sometimes having Ishmael just makes me miss Elijah more, wondering what he would have been like. I wish we weren’t so pressured to “get over” our grief. I hope as Samuel starts smiling and laughing, he will soothe your heart a little.

  2. It always surprised me when people said or implied that the next baby will make it all better. I used to look at them funny. Now I have a rehearsed answer in my head for the next person to say that to me. I am starting to pop out, so I am guessing that after this virus leaves me be and I venture outside, something like this will be coming my way.

    I am sorry about the chair, but I am not surprised that was all it took. Our sensory memories are strong, and when they are triggered, they can take us right back there.

  3. Funny, I forget what I had for lunch today, but I can tell you exactly what the chair was like that I held Maddy in when she passed away. I’m so sorry the grief still hits you, despite all the good. It must be hard to juggle both in your head and heart. I can only hope for all of us, regardless of our futures, that we find balance somewhere so the hits aren’t as bad, and don’t blind us to the joy in front of our eyes. Thinking of you this month, B. And so impressed that you’re swimming.

  4. I could have written this post. A million times over. I am so incredibly happy with baby girl A, but missing so incredibly much my sweet M. Finding the balance in this life is hard work. I still feel terrible sadness and longing for my M. But tears of sheer joy have fallen from my face when A wakes up in the morning.

    I still can let myself go into all the things I wished I had done for M. Maybe it would have made a difference, I tell myself. I long so much at times to fix it, make it better, and I often have a hard time *accepting* that I can’t.

    Just know you are not alone in any of these feelings. We are parents to the living and the dead. They don’t write a parenting book on that, we just have to figure it out as we go.

  5. I guess people don’t realize that life isn’t a balance sheet. Minus one baby and plus one baby doesn’t bring you back to where you were before all these things happened.

  6. Yes. It’s sooo much better to have a live baby, but it’s no magic eraser for anything that scarred you before.

    I’m sorry you’re struggling right now.

  7. I’ve felt this exact way. Even though I knew having Andy wouldn’t make me get over Jimmy, in the back of my head I was sorta hoping it would. Nope. Some days are good, but then you have days like you had, when something triggers a memory. Just today I was lying in bed relaxing and it hit me that it was on a Saturday morning just like today when I felt Jimmy move for the last time. I wish these events would stop, but then on the other hand, in some weird way they keep me connected with him.

  8. Most of us didn’t have the knowledge we now have when we had our initial loss. There are a dozen questions and medicines and procedures I wish I’d known about.

  9. i’m sorry about those triggers. i have them all the time, and the questions in my head never stop.

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