Four months

It’s Saturday morning, I’m lying in bed with my kitty and a warm, delicious cup of rooibos tea and the sun is streaming in. It’s nice. I’m trying to be mindful, but it gets hard. I’m reflecting on the last four months.

I have been struggling to find my voice these last few weeks. So many emotions are swimming around my head and I am struggling to harness them in any kind of logical format. Afraid to confront the sadness. And really, I am embarrassed. Embarrassed that after four months I am still not doing very well. And I’m frustrated at my own embarrassment.

It’s been four months since we learned that our sweet pea’s heart stopped beating. Four months of spontaneous rage and overwhelming sadness. I’ve realised that it was the beginning of the unstoppable outflow of emotions that I had pent up since our very first loss. We suppressed the trauma of loss after loss by trying again, without really addressing what had happened or how we felt about it. It was a quick fix, one that backfired. Snowballed. And when it all came crashing down on us after five consecutive losses, there was no stopping the wreckage.

In the last four months latent feelings of loss, fear, desertion, anger, dread, and anxiety have been dredged up. Once the tap was switched on, there has been no turning it off. I suppose that’s a good thing. But now I am worried it will never stop. A continuous outflow of emotion.

And how do I feel now. Who am I now. I don’t really know anymore. If I’m honest, I’m shocked at my own overwhelming disappointment in myself for not being able to really pull it together. Sure, I am going through the motions. I wake up each day and put one foot in front of the other, but I’m not really here. I’m not really getting over this. I don’t know how. I have the resources, I am in therapy, I practice mindfulness and meditation and yoga and other healing things but fundamentally I don’t know what I am doing. And I’m being so hard on myself for it. It’s a viscious cycle of self-loathing and self-doubt.

If these words came from one of you, I would be the first to assure you that you are doing everything you can, taking it one day at a time, and that it’s OK not to be OK. I see the overwhelming hardships each of you are enduring day after day and the humour and strength and dedication you harness to get you through each day. It’s inspiring. But when it comes to my own ability to cope, I am unforgiving. I can’t take my own advice. This is something I need to change.

I continue to perpetuate my self-imposed exile. I have cut all ties with friends who are pregnant or recently given birth. I’m angry at myself for not having it in me to deal with them. But I don’t. Simple as that. Just get over it, I tell myself. This is life and I can’t change it. But I am trying so hard to avoid it. If I can stay in my own little bubble then I won’t be harmed. And it kind of works. It feels safe. But is this really self-protection or is it self-sabotage?

With just over a week to go before I start my new job, I feel the weight of being around the sweet pea thief slowly lifting. But I’m dreading the need to be professional again. I fear that I will be found out as the fragile, traumatised shell of a person that I feel right now. Worried that I won’t be able to pull myself together to perform. That I won’t have any opportunity to hide. I worry that the strength needed to get me through each day will deplete the resources I am trying to nurture to improve my wellbeing. Has my chronic inherent need to push myself too hard gone too far this time? Am I really up for this?

And why do I continue to shun other friends, family and generally everyone except those of you out there in the blogosphere? There are maybe two or three people besides DH and you lot that I can really be honest with. And I feel it’s that honesty that I need to nurture right now. The thought of being fake turns my stomach. The thought of trying to be someone I’m not, someone content, patient, at ease, fills me with horror and sadness. I think it’s that honesty that I need to enable my healing. Without it, without recognising what I am going through, what is the point? When I think about it that way, I get it. I can accept that. I will allow myself that.

Why can’t I be honest with everyone? Because it doesn’t work. Because I’ve tried it and it backfired. Because they don’t know how to deal with me when I am in pain. Because they don’t know how to cope with the information, how to be supportive, how to listen. And their lack of understanding directly affects me, not them. It’s me who will bear the brunt of their careless comments and flippant remarks. If I can barely manage the energy to get me through each day, how can I find the energy to manage them? I have cut the ties because it feels right. For now anyway. Pretty black and white huh? Apparently I’m living life through extremes at the moment. Such is the way of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss.

Like so many of you, the loss I have suffered is so much more than five sweet peas. It’s the loss of friendships, of previously meaningful relationships, self-confidence, zest for life, security, contentment, energy.

I guess that’s why I have pared everything back to the core. Removed all external triggers. Starting from scratch. I have done this automatically. Like an animal hiding to lick it’s wounds, I am taking time out. How long it will take I don’t know. But as I write this I can accept that. I can accept my frustration at myself, and allow it to happen, but deep down I know why I am doing this. It’s how I’m coping. And no matter how much it feels like I’m not coping, I am.

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40 thoughts on “Four months

  1. Hon, what you are feeling is normal. If you ever need to chat or vent out please give me a shout. I have been in your shoes, its not a nice place. Take care. No time ever heals the loss of pregnancies or hope of a baby.

  2. You’re right, I’m going to tell you its ok to feel shitty. Four months, although I know feels like forever, is not a long time to ‘get over’ such heartbreaking loss. You are coping. You get out of bed. You carry on. And for now that’s enough.
    Sending you lots of love and strength xxx

  3. This was so tough to read :(. I hear how much your hurting and I wish I could say something to help. Like you said, you knew we would tell you not to be so hard on yourself, but it just isn’t as easy as that. I do the same thing, I’m SO much harder on myself about all kinds of things than I would ever be on someone else. I don’t know how to change that either, but I can promise you that what your describing sounds like a perfectly fair reaction to what you’ve been through. It’s been a year since my last miscarriage and I’m not exactly fine, so I can’t say that I’ve gotten over it either, although the pain does change with time.

  4. I can honestly say I’ve been exactly where you are emotionally. Grief is so much more complicated than we expect it to be. You seem to have a really good grasp on your emotions and the reasons behind your actions. You are a master of mindfulness, even if you don’t feel that way.

    • Thank you for letting me know that you’ve been in this miserable place too. Although I wish you never were, I’m comforted that you get it and that I’m not necessarily going nuts. Thanks for the encouragement and the understanding, means so much xx

  5. We are so hard on ourselves making everything so much worth. Only those who have been there can truly understand the depths of your emotions. Although our situations aren’t exactly the same, these emotions you are feeling are all to familiar for me. It can be overwhelming. You are doing all you can. You may not feel it but you are stronger than you realize. Life doesn’t give us much of a choice. If you have to avoid people and situations for your own sanity, so be it.

  6. I think that you are taking steps in the right direction. You are leaving your job with the Sweet Pea Thief and starting somewhere new. Sometimes the act of “being professional” and starting over is exactly what we need in order to start to feel a change in ourselves in other areas.

    As everyone said you are entitled to your feelings whatever they are and however long it takes for you to work through them.

    We all tend to be incredibly hard on ourselves in this journey. Whether things start to go our way or not. Know that there was nothing you could have done to change the outcomes of your pregnancies. Know that you are taking steps to improve your chances for future ones. Know that you are doing the work that you need to in order to move forward with your life. Know that you are taking care of yourself as best you know how right now! Know that there are people in real life and in the blogosphere that care about you and want the best for you in all things!

    You are an amazing, strong women who has survived more than most and much more than many of us could handle! You will get through this stage of your life and you will come out the other side better for what you have learned.

    Sorry about my response being a bit of a long one, but as I read I had so much to say to you. My thoughts are with you often.

  7. It is blowing my mind how much this post seems to have been written by me, by me today, right now. OH HOW I FEEL FOR YOU. It is huge, huge in my heart right now. I’m so sorry! I hug you!

    I was laying here in the chaos of my bed, after scream-crying for an hour, after going for a walk in the woods to calm down and having (please, please don’t worry—it’s normal dramatic thinking for me) suicidal ideation (fantasies of escape), and writing in my journal so angrily I ripped the page with my pen tip. I was about to write a post, and then I thought, No, not now, you will say things that worry people, and you know you will bounce back from this maybe as quickly as an hour. But I’m not proud of the rage, the crazy wanting-to-escape thoughts, and I, too, am hard on myself for not doing “better,” whatever that is. And then I’ll bounce back to, “No, this is the poison purging, you have to do it, it is sane and healthy to do it, to suck out the poison from the snake bite,” and I relax some. It is hell. We didn’t ask to have to live through it. But we live through it all the same, and just managing to stay alive is enough to deserve the grandest shiny medal in the universe.

    Anyway. Four months. I know you know—but it’ll take as long as it takes. Maybe much longer, maybe only a few more weeks. Another thing we don’t have control over. But what I see is a powerful superwoman doing everything she can to choose life, health, and happiness. A hero, to be sure. My hero!

    This resonated with me utterly: “Because they don’t know how to deal with me when I am in pain. Because they don’t know how to cope with the information, how to be supportive, how to listen. And their lack of understanding directly affects me, not them. It’s me who will bear the brunt of their careless comments and flippant remarks. If I can barely manage the energy to get me through each day, how can I find the energy to manage them?” I get it. Our bubbles actually are safer and more secure—that’s okay. There are certain people who can manage, who can deal, who can speak to us in a way that does not hurt, and unfortunately it takes a series of trial-and-error to figure out who those safe people are. The unsafe-ish people can come back in later. Or—who knows—maybe their absence is leaving a space for new supports, new, safer friends.

    In the meantime, we write to each other honestly in this blogosphere because we know we can handle the honesty gracefully and supportively. But it gets kind of lonely, doesn’t it. Typing toward connection. Just us an our laptops, typing madly away toward connection. Appreciating it, but missing flesh-and-blood friends, laughter, and connection at the same time.

    One thing I have noticed is the slow let-in of friends with babies and children since my fifth loss. I parted the door a crack, and then I slowly parted it more and more. I’m definitely still not comfortable (especially now, after this sixth loss) but more comfortable than I’ve ever been, and it was a glacial-slow process. So maybe it is just a matter of slow time before you are able to let some of those people back in.

    As for the job—we have so much in common, don’t we. As you know, I just quit mine (will respond to your comment on my post soon). Maybe just testing the waters, seeing what the daily structure does for you, is enough to expect of yourself. Try it for a week or two, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to stay in it. How I wish it were easier. That you had energy reserves to spare. I know how depleting work can be in the midst of all this. The juggling act can be quite insane. But the right job might be more replenishing than depleting…I’ll be so curious to see how it feels when you try it on.

    This is far too long for a comment. (: Just know I’m thinking of you out here. xoxo

    • Goosebumps reading this. You are such an incredible inspiration in so many ways. Reading your words is like tapping into my brain. It’s so crazy.

      Your fantasies of escape I completely relate to. From thoughts of just simply ending it (don’t worry, I won’t, but I understand how you come to consider these thoughts. I do it too. I think this is completely acceptable given what we’ve been through. An honest assessment of the quantum of pain we’re enduring. Wanting it to be over) to thoughts of walking away from it all tomorrow and moving to a hut in Nepal, or a shack on a beach in India. Escapism is where my thoughts are at the moment. And I think that’s what I’m doing. Escaping what I can, what seems feasible, to alleviate the pain. A safe protective bubble.

      I can understand the venomous flow of emotion that you need to scream out, scribble out on paper, post. And the idea that within the hour you could be ok again. That is me 100%. Up. Down. Chaos. Calm. Impossible.

      I love your view of how people come and go from our bubble. And I feel that, that they might be present for a while, and then in the background, they might make room for other more supportive people. As a visual person I can see what that looks like. It feels organic and natural and puts me at ease. Thanks for that vision.

      Opening the door a crack to pregnant friends / friends with babies is a powerful thing to do. You have incredible strength. I can see how little tiny steps can help. Hopefully one day soon I can follow in your footsteps. You have put it in a way that I think I could handle. Glacial slow. I’m liking that.

      And with the job, testing the waters is exactly what I’ll do. I’ll give it a few weeks and reassess. DH and I have agreed that if I can’t do it, I will quit altogether, and that’s ok. I will be trying my hardest not to over promise or commit to too much, something I am known for. It’s so depleting. I’m hoping a change of environment, the anonymity, will do me some good. The idea of it possibly being replenishing is grand, I would love that to be the case. Hopeful!

      Ok ridiculously long response, sorry for that but so much you said has helped me. Huge hug sisterfriend. You are an inspiration. Thank you thank you thank you xx

  8. Sending you strength for starting your new job. Never feel bad for making the necessary steps in order to be healthier and happier. Know that you can always be honest here! And because you are, I have nominated you for the Sunshine Award. You always say it how it is. It’s so refreshing and inspiring!

  9. Take the time you need to heal and don’t apologize for it. You are not being unreasonable. Grief has no time limits and if you need to grieve, rant, rave or break things…it is warranted. Your body and heart have been through so much. More pain than any person deserves, and my heart aches for you for that.

    I, too, find solace and support in our blogosphere. The people here know the emotional aspect of infertility and openly discuss the things other people are hesitant to talk about. I find myself unable to stop reading other blogs and tweets from my circle even though I’m fairly confident that we are no longer trying to conceive. Full immersion into this group of people is easy because almost everyone is amazingly loving and caring. Let the group nurture you as you have nurtured them through their rough times. It’s going to be okay. We got your back. Xoxoxo

    • I felt a huge release in my shoulder tension when I read this. Your support is so all-encompassing, so heartfelt. I really feel it and I’m so thankful. You’re right, there is something so nurturing about the group, it’s lovely. Big hug hun, thinking of you too xx

  10. I haven’t read all of the comments, so someone has probably said this already, but I’ll chime in, too. First off, I am so sorry about your loss. I know as time passes, it stings a bit less in some places, but also makes it hard because you are always thinking of what life would be/should be like at every point.

    I feel like your words have come from my brain. I cannot take my own advice. I went for a mid-cycle check in on Friday (had checked in 5 days earlier) and nothing had changed. No change in lining, no follicles growing, nothing. I think I am depleted of qi (it finally makes sense to me!) and need to recharge. My best fantasy right now is a week at a spa by myself with a few good books, lots of nourishing foods, daily massage, time for meditating, gentle yoga, and wearing robes all day every day. NO PANTS ALLOWED. Want to join?

    Finally, my SIL said something to me the other day that made me really think. She said, “You deserve to be happy. You are missing all this time not being happy. It’s time to make a bold decision one way or the other.” I know that’s not where you are, but this idea that we deserve to be happy is important. It’s my mantra this week. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be happy. I’m not going any deeper than that at the moment because it means I have to take the next step to get to the happy place. But we need to be reminded that we deserve no less.

    • Such a lovely comment hun. So sorry things are so tough for you right now too.
      Err yes I want to join you on your AMAZING spa retreat! When are we going?! Sounds like bliss!
      And your SIL has good advice. It’s true, we do deserve it. And if we believe it, happiness will come right?
      Thanks so much! xx

  11. Beautifully written and raw post. You are doing so much better than you realise. You’ve been though some devastating losses and as you said yourself you’re only now starting to feel the full enormity of your emotions. It takes a serious amount of courage and strength just to get through the day. Don’t be hard on yourself for not having strength left to cope with and share in the lives of others. Do what you need to do for you at this time. If you don’t look after you now, there won’t be a you later when you’re finally ready to re enter the rest of the world. Hugs x

    • Thank you lovely, you are always so lovely and encouraging. I’ll reread your words over and over (I have already) when things are feeling particularly grim. Thanks for being there as always xx

  12. I see so much of myself in your post. I’m an escaper too, always going out of my way to escape the thing that is causing me so much pain which in the past has been pregnant women and babies. It took me 5 months to go see my best friend’s baby after it had been born. Before that, I stopped talking to anyone at work who was pregnant and would walk away any time conversations about someone’s pregnancy came up. It sounds trite, but healing just takes time. That healing has been slow in coming, but I find that I am slowly rejoining the human race, even though it still hurts. I know that you will get there, too.

    • I’m so sorry you know what this feels like. It’s so miserable. Thanks for making me not feel like a freak for avoiding anything with a bump. Time is definitely what I need. The phrase one day at a time is particularly poignant right now. Thank loads xx

  13. Sorry I’m a bit late in answering. I will be predictable and tell you exactly what you expect: you are doing what you can and it’s ok not to be ok. It takes time. For me the worst thing of infertility, besides not having a baby, is all the time I spend recovering instead of living a normal happy life. I hate when people tell me “oh well, now at least you can go on holidays and have fun”. As if it was that easy to have fun.. But I also wanted to say something else: I think this email shows you are aware that you are not doing ok, and that is a first step. When I was really not ok, I wouldn’t even realize that I was just surviving. I really hope you’ll fell better soon. Be nice to yourself! xx

    • Yes—recovery. I hear you! I am so tired of rupture and recovery, rupture and recovery, instead of living a normal happy life. Sure, we have tons of time—and that time is what pains us the most. Because it flies by while others are in the thick of living normally.

      • So so true! An endless cycle of extremes. I crave consistency so much that I’ve tried to instil as much routine in my life as possible right now to allow for the inevitable emotional highs and lows. Feel like I need it. A little peace sure would be nice. Wish I could just turn off the brain. Especially at night. How you doing this week hun? xx

    • Thank you lovely. I totally get what you mean about the recovery time needed with IF. It’s an endless cycle of recovery and proaction. Up. Down. Impossible! When will it ever just be easy!? Thinking of you xx

  14. Thank you for posting how you feel. I feel the same with my pregnant friends/family. It is so hard sometimes, and like you I find myself asking who I am anymore. I am not the same person I was and I don’t know how to get her back.
    Hugs and thoughts
    Jenine

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