I’m having so much anxiety looking at the weeks ahead. Chris and I will have a few days home alone together and then he goes back to work on Monday. I’m already dreading it. I’ve been so fortunate that I have had Chris around for so much time. My mood is so variable throughout the day and when I have crying spells, it helps to just tell Chris what I’m crying about. When he leaves, who do I tell? There are so many people who have offered to lend an ear, which is kind. But people work and sometimes picking up the phone is hard or if I do, which one do I call?
The next weeks stretch out in front of me too far to see the end. What do I do with my days? I envision many mornings in bed- which is more or less how I’ve been spending them so far. I’ll need to exercise. I’m hoping my body will be ready to do something real next week. This week I’ve been walking, with some side effects- warnings that I shouldn’t do too much too fast. My pubic bone still bothers me after walking. It caused me discomfort in pregnancy and that discomfort lingers. I know the mechanics of it- there’s a joint that separates to allow a baby to pass more easily through the pelvis. It’ll come back together, but it takes time. I took myself to the chiropractor, to get some help and hopefully heal more quickly. I really wanted that help, but I knew going back that I’d have to tell them about Mabel- I’d have to say the words. They knew the story. I say “they” because they are a husband and wife chiro team. I usually see the wife and was supposed to for my first visit back, but she was out sick so I saw her husband. I was tearful in the car just before getting there but held it together until he asked “how are you feeling?” He could see I was no longer pregnant, so I felt the need to explain. “I had my baby a week and a half ago and my baby died,” I blurted as I began to cry. It’s so awful to not only say those words but to see people’s reactions. He was very appropriate but people are scared of the grief, especially when it’s so raw. There’s not much to say. He said, “if there is anything we can do, let us know.” I told him he could make my pubic bone feel better. I think that gave him the needed out to move on.
I’d like to go back to bootcamp, but I’m scared. I only went for three weeks before I went into the hospital. It was long enough for people to recognize me, but not long enough for people to really know my story. When I go back, I imagine people will ask how the baby is or say congratulations. It will be part of the process. I know I’m going to get better at saying it- my baby died. Maybe I should say something more. My baby died. We knew she was going to be sick when she was born. Her name was Mabel. It might give people something more to respond to. Might show that I’m ok to talk about her. It’ll all be an experiment- try different phrases, see how I feel, see how others respond. The other hard part of going is that bootcamp was that it a very pregnancy-associated experience for me. I only went in pregnancy. I probably wouldn’t have gone if it were for the limitation pregnancy placed on my body. I used it to help deal with the mental turmoil I was trying to process in pregnancy. I’m sure I can use it to help with the mental anguish I have now. But in the beginning it may be hard.
I’ve made some dates. I’m so anxious about being alone, I’ve set up many dates. So far at least one every day next week. I think it’ll help me get out of bed in the mornings. I know I have to be alone at some point. It’s an important part of the grieving process. I know the days will get easier. I both look forward to and dread the time that it doesn’t hurt so much.
The next six weeks just seems like such a long time. It feels wrong and it feels right. My body is so nearly physically recovered that six weeks seems too long. But my mind is so far from recovery, will six more weeks even be enough time to be ready to return to work? Returning to work means returning to some sort of normalcy and routine, re-introducing myself to the life I had before Mabel. Returning to work also means facing pregnant women every day. I interact with 20-30 patients every day. Some will be pregnant. Some will be unhappily pregnant or uncomfortably pregnant and I will need to care for them and their woes. Some will know I was recently pregnant and ask about the baby. Times like these were I yearn for that office job where I can just make one big announcement and be done- not have to relive the pain over and over again as I learn how to say my baby died without derailing the visit.
The six weeks also feels long because I’m supposed to have a baby during that time. Six weeks would feel so short if I were breastfeeding and bonding and sleep deprived. I wake up in the mornings, with my arms around my body pillow, thinking I’m supposed to have a baby right now. There is supposed to be a little warm body in this bed- not a pillow. Or if I’m being really realistic I think, I should be going to the hospital right now- seeing my baby. When Chris gets back to work, I’ll wake up and it’ll be just me, physically recovering quickly. I feel almost guilty. I know I’m in no way able to return to work at this moment, but I can’t help that little bit of guilt from creeping in. I also feel it when people bring food. People are supposed to bring food when you have a baby and are too busy with the baby to think about cooking. What’s keeping me from cooking? There is no baby. It’s just me. So I’m dealing with grief mixed with guilt about the time it takes to grieve.
I saw my therapist yesterday and we talked about how to survive the next weeks. She suggested mindfulness and distraction. Doing some things that are normal. I talked about how it’s even difficult to be around friends because I’m not the Meghan I usually am- I think I’m hard to be around. I’m not engaging. People don’t know what to do with me. She assured me that my friends still want to be around me and I should do some things I used to do. My friends are getting together for a happy hour tonight. I’m going to try to go, though it feels weird. Inappropriate even. I’m going to the bar two weeks after my baby died? It feels wrong. I wasn’t supposed to even be considering it, because I was supposed to have a newborn. But it was my normal before, it used to make me happy. I’m trying to do the things that people suggest. I’m trying.