Day 24: Forgiveness

I have a lot of forgiveness to dole out.  I have been angry at people, felt hurt by people and been angry at myself and hurt myself.  I need to soften my heart and let the forgiveness seep in.

But I’m not ready.

Tonight I cried to Chris in the car, “I don’t like being angry. I just don’t know how not to be right now.”  It’s been a tough week for me emotionally and so today’s prompt has been a hard one.  The concept of forgiveness has sat with me all day- I thought about while doing planks at bootcamp; I contemplated it while trying on clothes at Kohl’s; I reflected about it while driving and walking the dog; it was even on my mind while I was hanging out with friends.

The idea is there and today I planted a seed, as the prompt says.  Someday, I’ll be able to welcome it and be the person I want to be.  In the meantime, I decided to work on forgiving myself.

Today we were invited over to carve pumpkins with friends.  I decided I wanted to go but wasn’t going to carve a pumpkin.  I’d go for the company alone.  I have no inclination to celebrate holidays this year- a bit out of protest.  They shouldn’t exist if my baby couldn’t be here to enjoy them.  I certainly shouldn’t enjoy them if Mabel can’t.

As pumpkin carving time approached, I let that word forgiveness seep in a bit and decided I could, if nothing else, forgive myself.  I could allow myself to celebrate a little tonight.  So I did.

#CaptureYourGrief

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In line at Petco

We stood in line at Petco, our arms brimming with puppy toys and treats; a puppy bed and a box with a crate sat in our cart. As the cashier checked us out, I blurted, “we’re getting a puppy!” She simply smiled and continued scanning. We filled out a rewards card application and picked up the puppy training class flier on the counter.

As we left the store, I said to Chris “that was kind of weird, right?”

“Yeah, I thought she’d say something at least, about how we’re getting a puppy.” He agreed. “I mean, she works in a pet store!”

“Wanna hear something crazy?” I replied. “I see the way she reacted and thought, ‘maybe she had a puppy and her puppy died.’ Or maybe she wants a puppy and she can’t have one. Crazy, right?”

Where do you see loss in situations when you wouldn’t have otherwise?

Day 23: Inspiration

Midwifery is not just my job, it’s my lifestyle.  I often ask people “so, what do you do?” as a way of small talk.  I recognize that not everyone puts as much weight on this question as I do.  I have been spoiled- once I decided on my career and completed my training to start it, i found myself in a job that was fulfilling.  I get to help change people’s lives- whether it be welcoming their new baby into the world or putting in their IUD so they don’t end up with an unintended pregnancy.

Having an emotionally challenging pregnancy- first accepting the difficult diagnosis of Down Syndrome and then living with the poor prognosis that oligohydramnios  gave at 27 weeks, my view of pregnancy has changed.  Laboring with a baby that I very much wanted to keep inside me, knowing that her birth might also be her death, has changed my view of childbirth.  Helping women in their gyn life- wanting to get pregnant, wanting to avoid pregnancy- it’s all still assisting them in their childbearing life.

Mabel has made my work painful.  My once career-lifestyle has turned into just a job.  I have my fulfilling moments but they are balanced by painful ones.  Mabel has inspired me to look beyond midwifery, to realize that there might be other things I could do.  I don’t know what they are or if i’ll do them.  This inspiration might be temporary, but for now, it gets me out of bed in the morning.

#CaptureYourGrief

I don't know what color mine is yet, but I bet it's purple!

I don’t know what color mine is yet, but I bet it’s purple!

Day 22: Self Care

I work four days a week.  When I was working “full time” as a midwife, I would work on average about 60 hours a week.  The plan was when I had kids to drop one day in the office, making me “part time” at 50+ hours a week. Some of that time I was on call for births, meaning I might spend the shift in the hospital awake for 24 hours, or I might spend a good portion at home in my bed.  After Mabel died, I eased myself back into work.  My goal was to work myself up to that same “part time” schedule so I could have that extra day off for myself, to work on my grief.  After a few months into work, I realized that the goal of returning to call so soon was unrealistic and so now I work four office days.  My practice was kind enough to allow me this adjustment and Chris and I decided our finances could handle the decreased salary that accompanied.

Wednesday is my day off each week and I use the day to take care of myself.  Today I photo-documented the things that fill my day.

I spend some quality time with my pup, who gives me something to care for and love, who reminds me that I am needed.

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I had lunch with a friend, who shared her precious cache of chocolate with me.

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I exercised, indulging in an episode of Scandal while I hit up the elliptical.

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I sat on this couch for a hour, pouring out my soul and working through my anger with my therapist.

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I mulled over some thoughts and took a quick nap as I received an acupuncture treatment.

 

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A friend came over and we dressed the pup up.  She seemed to enjoy it!

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Another friend came over for dinner and we had a glass of wine!

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I ended my night with another babyloss mom, enjoying teat and hot chocolate, laughing about things in ways only the babyloss know.

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#CaptureYourGrief

 

Day 21: Relationships

Dear new baby loss friends: I do not know what I would have done never having met you. The ones who comment on my blog, the ones reading, the ones who show up in support group, the ones I email almost daily. How would I have survived if you weren’t here in the muddy trenches with me? I’m sorry you are here, but I’m grateful if we both had to be here, we could be here together.

Dear new non baby loss friends: Wow, you have surprised me in the most kind way. Some of you are new- reading and supporting me through this blog. Some of you are old acquaintances who have reached out and been an unexpected but totally welcome bit of support.

Dear friends and family who have stuck around: Thank you for not giving up on me. I know I am not easy to be with, not as fun or engaging. I know you sometimes are at a loss for what to do or say, and that’s ok. The fact that you are still here with me is all I need.

Dear friends and family who have dropped off. I’m mad at you. I feel abandoned despite my pleas to you to keep pushing me. I know I’m not easy, but I had higher hopes. I still hope you will find your way back to me. I’m sorry I can’t be the one to reach out. I need you, but my feelings are hurt.

Dear toxic people in my life: good riddance. Burying my child has given me the liberty and confidence to eliminate you and surround myself with only kind, compassionate support.

Dear Mabel: I love you. I miss you. I wish you were here.

#CaptureYourGrief

photo taken while with some acquaintances who delved into my troubles with me and came out as friends

photo taken while with some acquaintances who delved into my troubles with me and came out as friends

 

A lunatic’s anger

Today I am angry. And jealous. But mostly angry.

I am angry at hearing the news that friends of ours are pregnant. Angry that they get to announce their pregnancy without fear or secrets. Angry that they have other kids. Angry that, by all appearances , they got pregnant easily. Angry that as their family grows, mine seems to stay the same- me, my husband and our dead daughter. Angry that their announcement is joyful and not full of trepidation, knowing all the awful that could happen, having seen what happened to me.

I know the more appropriate word would be jealous- I am envious of all these things. But I don’t particularly feel jealous. I really just feel angry.

I’m angry that by announcing their pregnancy they have shut me out. In truth, it is me who will be shutting them out. This is what I do- I avoid my pregnant friends and those with babies, mostly because I can not bear having my feelings of jealousy and pain be witnessed. I am angry that they are choosing pregnancy over my friendship.

These are the crazy, irrational emotions of a lunatic. What kind of miserable, venomous person could think this way? This anger is unfounded and unfair. This anger is wrong.

It lives in me and I am ashamed. Ashamed and angry.

This is my grief talking. I wouldn’t be angry if my daughter had not died.

Day 20: Breathe

“Step outside today and find a spot to sit or lay down on the ground. Switch off for a few minutes. Stare into the clouds and sky and notice your surroundings,” the prompt says today.  I left the house at 6am- it was dark.  I returned at 6:30p- it was dark.  There was no laying outside and remembering to breathe.

I breathed as I did sumo squat jumps and burpee after burpee at bootcamp.  I breathed as I found myself angry at something I saw on facebook- something that did not deserve my anger but received it in my mind anyways… because I’m not always in control of my feelings, justified or not.  I breathed as a a patient joked to me about wanting her tubes tied because her uterus worked too well- she’d be happy to donate it to someone!  I breathed when a coworker commented on how cute my new baby is- my puppy baby, that is, not my dead baby.  I breathed as an old friend reconnected with me and told me about the loss of her first child, something I had not known.

I took many breaths today, none of which were outside lying on the ground, staring at the sky.  But I breathed… as best I could throughout the small trials of my day.  And when it came to an end, after dinner was made and eaten, after the puppy peed on the floor, after lunch was packed for the next day, I finally did what the prompt wanted. I sat on the floor and lived in the moment.  The puppy came and plopped herself down on my lap and the light, warm weight of her body soothed me for a moment.  She weighs 7.8 lbs, roughly the size of a newborn.  She jumped from 4lbs to almost 8lbs in between vet visits, so I missed that magic 5lb 5oz, the weight of my daughter.  Perhaps it’s for the best, because as comforting as the Muppet puppy is, she is not my baby girl.  I will take her, though, for now, as a simple reminder to sit on the floor and breathe.

I’m not the only one who found breath and gratitude in their furry friends.  Seems a theme among the babylost.

#CaptureYourGrief

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