Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Will the Pain Last Always??

How not to help.

The average person considers infant/pregnancy loss issues topics not fit for open discussion. It's a life event that goes against nature and is sooo very sad - people just don't want to deal with it. Family wants the parent to "get over it" so that they (the family member) will feel better sooner. Sometimes family members will even get ugly because when the bereaved doesn't "move on" fast enough, they (the family member) either think the bereaved is overreacting or simply grow tired of the frequent tragic reminders at family gatherings. Friends usually consider it an awkward situation because they don't know what to say or do, so they find themselves avoiding rather than risk hurting their friend more. So on top of everything else, the hurting parent ends up feeling alone and misunderstood.

It hurts beyond words when the life of someone you love to the point of dying yourself is not validated by others. The parent wonders how people could pretend baby didn't exist when the agony of baby's absence has stolen the oxygen from air, the flavor from food, and the zest from life!

The pain.

After an infant loss, stillbirth, or miscarriage, most parents only have memories from the pregnancy, some ultrasound photos, maybe pictures from the day when baby passed away, a memory box, and not much else. What is she left with?

The pain.

That pain becomes her constant companion and over time, I think the love for baby and the pain become so closely intertwined that she makes them one and the same. The intense pain becomes a reflection of her love. So when you talk about letting go of the pain, she - probably on a subconscious level - associates that with letting go of her baby. And NO, she would never do that! Why should she have to?

I'm here to argue that the pain of grief and the love for baby are not one and the same. God designed our bodies to endure and heal from even the most absurd pain ... the most twisted injury. We were not built to grieve for the rest of our lives. Hurting mothers can heal, but it requires her to painstakingly peel back the barbed tendrils of pain so that her heart is free to forgive and make a difference in her life and the lives of others.

I want to talk about this more in a future posting. Share your questions and comments.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I've Got the Blues

August 29th marks the 8th birth date anniversary of my first living child - Christopher. Oh I feel the usual indescribable - sometimes subtle - reactions to this special date. I think about the first year and I remember my husband and I crying all day. In following years I used to feel depressed, hopeless, and lonely. The weight of grief blotted any joy from my life. I've done a ton of intense grief work since then, so angel-versary's look and feel differently now. Maybe you can even recognize some of these symptoms as your own angel-versary comes around.

Signs of the Blues

I'm craving sugar. We're not talking about the occasional cookie here, folks. I bought a package of chocolate mint cookies and shared 6 with other people. Sadly, I ate the rest. In less than 24 hours. Then I made a chocolate smoothie and ate a piece of banana bread. I've been fantasizing about rum cake, Blizzard treats, caramel sundaes. Weird because I'm lactose intolerant.

I'm sleepy. Constantly. I know it is only the grace of God that allows me to get through each very sleep-deprived day.

Emotions are all over the place. I'm sad, confused, down, up, reading too much into things. I sigh alot and when asked what's wrong, I say "nothing" and "never mind" way too much. Half the time I honestly don't know how to answer!

Not focused. I have a ton of things to do, but can't seem to keep myself from flitting from one unfinished task to the next. Very unproductive and forgetful (and it's 10:45 p.m. and there's still a load of wet laundry sitting in the washer from this morning ... and two unfolded loads on the couch!). I even forgot to make dinner tonight (maybe I was full from my sugar escapade)!

Baby obsessed. I can't stop thinking about having another baby. So far I've been able to force myself to harass my husband about it, but it's been hard.

Sooooooo, how do you know when you've got the baby blues??