Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pushing yourself too soon

The last 3 years have been hard for us.  I don't think that without going through at least part of it someone could understand the toll it takes on your life to lose a child.  The way it changes you, the way it changes your day to day life, the way it weighs on you or changes your outlook on every single thing you do and experience.  I think it makes you experience the world in an entirely different way, and not necessarily in a bad way.  I think you have a deeper appreciation for many things in life and you understand things on a different level.  And while those are great qualities to have, I'm sure there isn't a single parent out there who has lost a child that wouldn't trade that insight, that knowledge, or the "new you" to have your child back even for a brief moment.  It adds years to your life. 

In 3 years we've buried a child, tried to get pregnant and succeeded 4 times in a 12 month period.  Obviously to succeed in pregnancy that many times in a 12 month period, it means that at least 3 of those pregnancies didn't go well.  Pregnancy loss is such a whole different world, it takes away any innocence you may still have left.  And it can cause a hell of a lot of bitterness when you have shows on TV like "Pregnant and..." or you see "crackheads" on the street obviously pregnant and you wonder to yourself "why them? why not me?"  Or you see obviously fertile couples who don't have a care in the world announcing their 78th pregnancy caused by just looking at each other from across the room.  It is so easy to wallow in self pity and wonder why there can't be just a little fairness in the world sometimes.

I'm a pretty darn positive person.  I like looking for silver linings, I like the bright side, I like thinking that tomorrow is a new day filled with new possibilities.  And I like to think I am a pretty strong person, but everyone has their limits.  Some people push those limits for whatever reason and some people recognize those limits and respect them.  I wish I could say I was the latter.

Yesterday, a post on facebook got me thinking.  When I woke up this morning, I was still thinking about it and how it related to us.  I was starting to push it out of my mind when I did my morning blog checks and came across this article posted on a blog, Facebook and Infertility, and while we obviously are not infertile, I found myself relating to quite a bit of the article. 

"Diane Colling, an occupational therapist and fertility patient, was scrolling through her Facebook page last week when, once again, she was bombarded by a friend's exuberant broadcast about her pregnancy. "Your daughter will hold your hand for a little while, but will hold your heart for a lifetime," her brother's pregnant girlfriend posted."

I can completely relate to that.   At least twice a month, to half the people on facebook it's son's week:
It's "Son Week" : If you have a son who makes your life interesting and fun, who has been a blessing in your life and makes life worth living just by being around - click LIKE! Your Sons will outgrow your lap, but never your heart! ♥
And every time it is a bunch in the gut.  I hate that it affects me at all, but at the same time I think I would hate myself if it didn't.  It's such a terrible feeling.  I can completely relate to people who have a hard time facing it or facing facebook.  
When Matthew first passed away, we still participated in everything.  Even if we had to force ourselves.  Some things I'm really glad that we did.  I'm glad that Kaitlyn still had a big birthday party, I'm glad that we still celebrated Christmas and I'm glad that we tried to make life as normal for her as possible.  But, there are so many things I wish I would have done differently.  I wish I wouldn't have pushed myself to go to baby showers, to buy baby things, especially baby boy things, to hold babies, to be at births, to surround myself with pregnant people to just do things I wasn't emotionally ready for.  And for what?  To prove something?  To pretend life was still normal?  It wasn't.  It didn't make me feel any better.  It didn't help my healing.  I think in a lot of ways I was worried about being selfish.  But, if at anytime in my life I should have been selfish, this was it.

Only recently did I start practicing more "self preservation" and I have no idea why I didn't sooner.  Now, if a person is friends with me on Facebook and does the classic "joke" 2 toddlers for sale or just the general complaining of how rough life is for them because of their kids, I hide or delete them.  I have no tolerance for it.  I can see being frustrated or upset, or seriously just feeling like the weight of the world is on your shoulders and the last thing you need to hear is kids screaming, but there are thousands of couples who would give anything to trade shoes with you.  
3 miscarriages in 10 months was an emotional roller coaster I wouldn't wish on anyone.  You can only hear the words "bad luck" and "I'm sorry" so many times before you seriously want to scream at the world about how absolutely unfair and evil it is.  And it has nothing to do with not being grateful or happy for what you have, it has everything to do with longing for what you don't.  I can clearly remember being between the second and third miscarriage and going to visit a new baby in the hospital.  It took everything I had to keep my composure on the way to the car.  And then I completely and totally lost it.  I couldn't help it, I couldn't control it, it was just this huge slap in the face.  It isn't about not being happy for that couple because you are, you are so incredibly happy for them.  But, it is absolutely possible to be really happy for someone else and have your heartbreak for yourself.  Just as it is entirely possible to be incredibly happy for yourself while your heart breaks at the same time.

I guess my whole point is, if I had to go through and relive the last 3 years, there is a lot I would do differently.  And really, I don't think I would care what anyone around me thought or said about it.  The only ones that truly matter are the friends and family that showed support and I do believe they would understand.  And if you are a recent addition to the awful world of baby loss, don't force yourself to do anything you aren't ready for.  Don't feel as though you have to take care of anyone but you and your family.  At the end of the day, that is what is most important.

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