Wednesday, January 21, 2009

hand-knit

car seat
I'm sure none of you are surprised to hear that I read a lot of dead baby blogs. And, over time, a certain percentage of those bloggers are lucky enough to end up with a live take-home baby. And, sooner or later, most of them say something to the effect that the new baby doesn't replace the missing one or the lessen the loss.

Which leads me to the following, not-entirely rhetorical, question: so, what does it mean if you feel something close to the opposite; if the magnitude and depth of your grief seem to dwindle when viewed through the lens of a brighter here and now?(thought inspired by Julia and Kalakly's recent posts.

eta: adorable striped hat provided by the inimitable Magpie

57 comments:

Ya Chun said...

It's all good. I think you are allowed to live a balanced life.

And, you said you were taking a break, and you haven't. I think that shows that balance, that - I can't find the word - the dualism.

Maybe it has something to do with acceptance. You can accept and acknowledge the way your life is now. Not the way you wanted back when you were first pregnant, but it is a good life. There are still good things and love and gratitude.

I dunno, is that what it means?

niobe said...

Ya Chun: I really like that thought. And, uh, the break thing? I guess I should post something about that, shouldn't I?

Tash said...

I like what Ya Chun said. I think your sentiment is lovely and makes perfect sense. I'm also wondering now if you've had a grief blog for so long because you feel you're so different (which for the record I don't think you are on a number of points -- your words resonate and provoke meaningful, comforting thought much more than you know) and that you need to pick at those scabs and wonder why. And that's fine, but maybe at some time there should be some acceptance of that point too? Maybe that's when the true break will come.

(Also for the record, I feel like the big freak in the room for not running out and *wanting* another baby, in any way shape or form. At least not yet. Find me another one of those, lady.)

And then you can entertain us with photos and miniature short stories.

Wordgirl said...

I'm in a bit of a different position having never conceived a child -- though I read loss blogs, I do so because loss has transformed my life in such profound ways that I feel a kinship to the sentiments there...so perhaps my thinking can't be factored in on the particulars of the debate -- but I've always imagined that, for me, a child -- the brightness of that miracle would indeed brush away the darkness at the corners of my life -- those that linger still and always...

I'm happy Niobe; Happy for the light in your life.


Love,

Pam

Maggie said...

Just because one child isn't a 'replacement' for another doesn't mean that the feelings of joy and happiness and all the right-now can't replace some of the grief and sadness. Replacing the feelings isn't the same as replacing the child.

Magpie said...

I think it means what it always means - you are nothing if not a conundrum. :)

DrSavta said...

I think it means that you are allowing yourself to be happy-- and why not? You have something wonderful to be happy about!

niobe said...

Tash: Ah, yes. You hit the figurative nail on the figurative head.

I realize that, in lots of ways, my reactions to things in general are not the same as many other people's. Bea would say that it's because I'm an INTx, and I suppose that's as good a reason as any. But usually, I can revel in my differentness, thinking (I'm exaggerating, but you get the point) something along the line of: if everyone else in the whole entire world disagrees with me, that's probably because I'm right and they're all completely, absolutely, totally wrong.

On the deadbaby stuff though -- my differentness bothers me, troubles me, nags at me. For so many people, it seems like losing a child is a tragedy, the worst thing that's ever happened to them, a grief that will forever alter their lives.

For me, it's not like that at all. I mean, it's sad, but it's not nearly as life-altering as other Bad Things that have happened to me. And I feel very guilty about that, like I should care about the twins more than I actually do.

Which is why I'd really like to find someone (maybe like Wordgirl) whose views are somewhat similar to mine.

Oh, and the not wanting another baby thing? I guess I see what seem to be a kind of similar reaction on the blogs of people who, after losses, decide to make a life for themselves without children. Admittedly, the circumstances are a little different, though, because you already had an older child....

painted maypole said...

i think its OK for our grief to dwindle. I think it SHOULD dwindle. you'll never forget. never. but life needs you NOW. Your son needs you now. enjoy it. every minute. don't let any unnecessary guilt or worry get in the way.

Tricia said...

My little two cents...

There's no one path for grieving and healing. What's important to learn from others is not that it *will* be the case for you but that it *may* be so that you don't feel alone when/if it does happen.

I think my realizations came a few months after my second son and even more pronounced when my daughter came home. I see their differences and then wonder about Connor.

I truly believe one of the hardest parts of life after loss...not feeling guilty, whether it's for the loss or even for when we are actually happy again.

Cara said...

I have to say my hand is HIGH up as one of those dbm's who consistenly states my two living children don't deter my forever grief.

That said - it comes in waves. I had a big one this morning. I can go months in the "here and now" - "in the moment" as they say.

I'm so happy that you feel completed by that gorgeous baby boy. And the hat - ahhh - perfect.

Azaera said...

I wrote a post about that recently. On Sophie's deathdate/Skyler's due date. I miss my first almost-baby but I'm not sad, because I have my son.. I just can't be sad when I have this beautiful perfect little being in my arms.

excavator said...

There are as many ways of grieving and healing as there are people.

There is no 'should'. We feel what we feel. (I guess that includes a feeling of angst about our feelings!)

superlagirl said...

This is not the same thing at all --at all--, but I have a similar feeling re: rape and childhood abuse. I'm not happy about what happened, and I don't excuse those responsible, but I can't honestly say that I would change my past if I could. I don't think it means anything other than just that life is complicated and that there is comfort to be found in unexpected and sometimes inconvenient places.

Penny said...

I think that you can actually feel both (not being a dead baby mother, though, just having grief experiences). Depends which one you're more in touch with at the time.

Thanks for stopping by, by the way.

diana said...

I don't know, Niobe, I've never been in that place, if not for a three days long scare which proved to be just a scare. But, being from a different culture, with a different background than most western people, I take to it differently, too. Not like in "it was not to be", but something like: this is the reality, I only hurt myself and waste time to dwell on it. It's a reflex, not a conscious thing. That being said, my heart goes to those who let us into their intolerable painful grief.

Tash said...

"For so many people, it seems like losing a child is a tragedy, the worst thing that's ever happened to them, a grief that will forever alter their lives.

For me, it's not like that at all. I mean, it's sad, but it's not nearly as life-altering as other Bad Things that have happened to me. And I feel very guilty about that, like I should care about the twins more than I actually do."

Niobe: the second post I ever wrote was on this subject, and I don't think I had read enough of you to know you even thought this. It's really not the event, it's what you feel. And that's dependent on a million and one different things. Just because you don't have babyloss jewelry or write their names in the sand doesn't mean you're an uncaring beyotch. It just means, in your mind and frame of reference, this event warranted a certain reaction. Another event, at another time, which occurred under different circumstances, warranted another that to you felt worse. I really don't see how you should feel guilty about that, but that's me.

With a six-day life, I wasn't given the opportunity to forget. But I've said a million times if given the option of a lobotomy to wipe out everything from 5/06 (conception) forward, I would. Happily.

Sarah said...

total asshat comment here, but are you finding new reasons to feel guilty now that your heart is letting go of some of the old guilt? which, by the way, is very healthy and doesn't mean the loss ever meant anything less, just that your life goes on, thankfully.

Hope's Mama said...

Niobe, it makes perfect sense to me and I haven't even gone down the subsquent child path yet, nor do I have any living children. When I do, I hope to feel some of what you're feeling. As this grief just feels so heavy on my shoulders now.

And great hat!

Aurelia said...

When I say that the new child doesn't replace the lost ones, I don't mean that I don't feel incredibly happy over him, or that it doesn't feel like ten tons of weight is off my shoulders.

Cause it does. And I feel amazingly wonderful now.

But it doesn't completely erase what happened before. It doesn't give me a lobotomy, as tash put it.

And in case you are wondering why this always gets said, the founder of my support group said that 25-30 years ago when she had a stillborn baby, her doctors literally told her and every other woman of that era that if they had another one immediately, they would forget the dead one and it would all be erased. She would be perfectly happy and never be sad about this again.

They took no pictures, no nothing, most never saw the baby and there was no funeral, only the legal burial in a mass grave that was required.

Trouble was, as she told me, that she didn't forget. She was sad. The Doctors were wrong, and because they told her that she thought she was the odd one out.

She and other women rebelled and decided that they wanted to feel the way they chose. Not the way the Doctors decreed.

Anyway, I know you think that you are different Niobe, but there is a big difference between being told what to feel and what to do, and being offered some choices like you were. You have been sad, and written about it, and talked about it, and maybe you didn't do photos, but as I've said before, isn't this blog a memento of sorts?

So what if the doctors had ordered you to feel happy and scolded you for crying as they did years ago?

The worst things that have ever happened to me have not been the actual events per se, but when I was ordered to forget, to not talk about it, to pretend that nothing happened, to be happy when I wasn't, and deny my feelings.

The total and utter denial of truth has hurt the most.

Christine said...

No great words of wisdom here just wondering as well. I had a baby then lost twin babies had two more babies and am currently trying for another one and still I miss and am sad about the ones I lost. Sometimes I wonder if I just shouldn't suck it up and be glad for what I have. I wonder if I am wrong for still grieving what I lost. That I should just be happy that I can have more? I don't think there is any right way to feel.

missedconceptions said...

As you know, my dad killed himself 5 days after Baby S was born. I can not separate the two in my head, as much as I try. I wonder, if coping with all that a new baby entails, that I didn't "properly" grieve for my dad. I try not to see Baby S's life as replacing his, but how can that situation not present itself?
I was at home cooing over my baby and crying in relief that he was here, alive, and healthy while my dad overdosed on pain medicine by himself in a hotel room.

Here is my life-is-not-black-and-white conclusion: you feel what you feel, when you feel it. I can have, as someone said above, that dualism: I can be euphoric over my son, angry and sad over my father, and capable of feeling all those emotions at exactly the same time.

intricatelycomplex said...

Maybe the arrival of Cole HAS healed your heart and allowed you to move on. Maybe this transition from grief to happiness is what is making you feel guilty. You can't ever say that you will forget, but you can remember them without feeling the sadness OR the guilt over not grieving them in the "conventional" way.
If you are happy and content in your heart, what's it matter how it's occurred? You haven't hurt someone else to be happy. You haven't done anything morally wrong. In fact, the only thing you have done is opened up your heart and allowed Cole to fill it light and purity and joy.
Go with it, I say!

Anonymous said...

Finally something close to an "I'm so happy and grateful" post.

Only took 2 weeks :/

three minute palaver said...

I found having a subsequent baby didn't make the stillbirth ok but it did make me feel a whole lot better than before having her. Suddenly my life became bareable again. Even quite happy much to me surprise. Although I still think about what happened in 05 on a regular basis, it isn't the difficult, unfathomable wound it used to be. It's more like picking at a permanent scab. It won't heal but it doesn't consume me. I wouldn't feel this way, have this buffer without a subsequent baby. She didn't replace him because I'm not sure who he was. When I only had my elder DD (before DB), I felt someone was missing. Then after the stillbirth I really felt someone was missing, then after having DD#2 I realised I didn't feel someone was missing anymore (even though someone [DB] will always be missing from my life). Loss wasn't lessend for me, it was given a new perspective much to my relief. and I'm happy now, even with my history.

Catherine said...

With the new baby, I have different dreams than I had for Alex and Travis. That's what I mean when I say the new baby doesn't replace the missing one or lessen the loss. Certain dreams died with those babies and I'll never get them back. The magnitude/detph of my grief has dwindled...I will freely admit that. But that is because I found new dreams and new happiness.

I think of it like a detour. It still gets ya to your destination, but you miss some of the scenery you were planning to see along the way. Maybe you really wish you could have seen that scenery (like I do)...maybe you figure the scenery along the alternate route is sufficient (like you do). No right or wrong...just different dreams of what we wanted.

niobe said...

Tash: I'm sooo confused. You say "uncaring beyotch" like it's, you know, a bad thing.

Aurelia: That's an very interesting point. I was told by many well-intentioned people that I would regret not seeing the twins, not having pictures, that I would never truly get over the loss. I think I resented being told what I would feel every bit as much as those women must have resented being told that their grief would disappear entirely.

Missedconceptions: I struggle with the idea of replacement. As in, what's wrong with it? I mean, if your boyfriend broke up with you or your husband left you, no-one would criticize you for wanting to find someone new to "replace" him. I know it's not the same thing. But still.

Hope's Mama: Thank you. It makes me feel so much better to think that some people might have similar feelings.

Sarah: As a general matter, I don't feel a lot of guilt about things. But, for a long time now, I've felt guilty that I don't feel worse about the twins than I do, that I've had relatively little trouble going on with my life. I know it doesn't make a lot of sense...

Anonymous said...

"(Also for the record, I feel like the big freak in the room for not running out and *wanting* another baby, in any way shape or form. At least not yet. Find me another one of those, lady.)"

Tash, thanks for saying that. I have one wonderful, living child, and after two 12-week miscarriages have gotten off the reproductive bus. I'm not comparing this to the losses you and so many others here have experienced, but in some circles I have felt a bit like a freak for not wanting to try, try again.

Anonymous, I'm not sure what's wrong with you, but it must be serious. Wow.

Niobe, I think that people react differently to all things, including losses like yours, and that's more than OK.

And, congratulations on your beautiful, beautifully dressed baby :)

Shelley

Which Box said...

I think it means people are different.

I like your analogy about getting a new boyfriend. But aren't you still sad over past past boyfriends? Sometimes think of them with perhaps a little melancholy and what if? But overall, you can be happy in the place you are now? After all, if my loss hadn't happened, my little guy would not be here now. And now is pretty good. So, yeah.

I do think of this when I read others' posts. I also think there might be a little something about the reasons why a person experiencing loss might choose to start a blog - some commonalities that lead to a large percentage with a similar thought. And there's some group-think, too, and I don't mean that negatively. There's a lot of talk about sensitive things to say/not say. And in general there's a lot of agreement. But it might comfort some to hear it just wasn't meant to be, while that's nails on the chalkboard to someone else, you know? But, you choose to not say something that might hurt someone, even if it might be ok to someone else.

Like you, 'worse' things have happened to me (the worse scale - not a place I enjoy evaluating). Before and certainly after. My loss was at 'only' 14 weeks, but I've never shared the full story, which is far uglier than I've let on. I pretty much choose to gloss over it, to paper over it, to close the door and turn the corner, to know it had a significant impact, but it's not the defining impact of who I am now. It's why I've said I don't entirely fit in over here in deadbaby land. I am way not in the mainstream.

Or, maybe there's a small number of black hearted folks who should start their own club.

Amy said...

I've got nothing philosophical, but wow! what a cutie. I just love the pics.

Aurelia said...

Anon,

Suck it.



Niobe,

Funny you should say that only because I have consciously tried not to tell you that will regret it, but instead to say that I hope they took pics and stored them so that someday you would have the choice if you changed your mind. Cause lots of people do. And we can't predict the future.

(And yes, I might have screwed that up along the way. sorry!)

And I know that in the end when you checked, just in case, they hadn't kept anything, so there's that.

But my point remains that in the end, you were allowed to feel sad, and do mostly what you wanted. The points of pain in the story seemed to come from people I will not name here, who told you not to feel something, or who did not carry out your wishes.

What I find odd about the "worst thing ever" debate, is how on earth anyone measures or compares this stuff? Does it matter which thing is worse? Must we rank our tragedies?

If you want to get into that debate I can and lots of others can, and in the end, if one person beats the other, that still won't negate the second place tragedy.

So what if losing the twins wasn't the worst thing that ever happened to you? If it was only the second worst thing, does that make it no big deal?

It is possible for more than one big bad thing to happen in one lifetime.

Bea said...

This post made me smile - because I'm not surprised that you feel that way, and because it fits so nicely with the overall arc of your blog. I think one of your main blogging impulses has always been to examine the points of disconnection between you and the world at large (whether you regard those with concern or satisfaction) - and it makes for a surprisingly effective blogging thread.

wheelsonthebus said...

hey -- that's a lovely hat. and i am glad your now os so joyous.

Amanda said...

I'm hoping (if I get there) that that's what it is for me

Realistically, I think we all know the new baby is not a replacement of the lost baby, but I hope for myself, and for that new baby, that not one moment of joy is minimized because of the grief that once consumed me.

I don't bring any more honor to the baby I lost by neglecting to celebrate the baby I have (or in my case, the baby I hope to have).

Lori said...

The truth is, deep down I tell myself all the time that Pumpkin absolutely came along and saved me. She brought with her a happiness I couldn't seem to muster on my own. Superdad and I still look at each other sometimes and wonder, "where would we be without her?" Because, truthfully, I don't know.

I still miss Molly and Joseph. I still remember them and everything that happened surrounding their short little lives. I love them. Pumpkin didn't change any of that, but she sure brought a whole lot of light into our lives.

B said...

So. Have you told your mum and dad yet?

He is truly beautiful.

I am glad the pain has changed for you.

B

flutter said...

pssst, email me your address, I have another handmade thing to push on your kid ;p

k@lakly said...

Niobe, you already know my conflicted feelings from our e's and that I am 100% at peace with the fact that none of us will ever respond to what has happened to us in the same way and yet all of us can be here to support each other as we each find our own way out.

To anon: First, you do know how incredibly easy it is to track you down by the IP address you leave EVERY TIME you visit this site, right? Muddle that for a while before you come back.

Second, this blog is here for Niobe, not you. If you don't like what she has to write, get the fuck out and go bother someone else. We don't want you here. Troll.

Sorry, N., I had to:)

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy to read these words Niobe. It brings a lightness to my understanding of you. Your Cole is just so precious. I guess a living baby forces us to live in the moment. Change the diaper, feed, hold and generally feel this overwhelming love for someone else. It cannot take the past away, but it changes the moment we live in.

Anon is a hater.

Je suis très contente pour vous et votre famille.
allpally

Artblog said...

Glad that question was rhetorical, very glad, you deserve to feel that way.

I can answer this simply by saying it's not the same if you've never met the babies, my miscarriages are proof of this theory, once you have, its a different story.

See what I'm saying here.

There are days I wish I hadn't and others I'm glad I did, go figure!

Kristin said...

Niobe...I've been reading your comments on the book tour and i just had to say that in no way is your heart two sizes two small. Each and everyone of us deals with grief and loss in our own individual manners. You dealt with yours and have moved forward with your life. Nothing at all wrong with that.

loribeth said...

As said before, there is no "right" or "wrong" way to grieve. Everyone makes different choices and reacts in different ways to the same or similar situations. I'm sure we all have had times where we felt/feel like the odd man/woman out. Sometimes I feel that way because I "chose" to stop treatment & not to adopt -- i.e., live childless/free. There's not much out there in the way of support for people like me (although I have found a few wonderful kindred spirits via the Internet). I get the feeling that some people (including fellow IFers) think that if I REALLY wanted a baby, I would have one, somehow, some way. They have not walked in my shoes, or in yours. They don't know all the factors & circumstances that led us to make the decisions we did.

What's important is that we feel we had choices, that we made the best decisions we could under the circumstances, and that others show respect for the choices we made (and we for theirs).

The Yak said...

It's a survivability trait of the species. If we couldn't move on from great grief and pain, if its memory didn't fade, we couldn't continue to function (and women would never go through childbirth more than once). The fact that you have a new source of joy is making the process even easier and giving your heart something new to focus on. Nothing like sleep deprivation and the sight and smell of your newborn to plop you firmly into the happy here and now.

Dayna said...

He is beautiful.

Niobe, this is terribly selfish of me, but I am so glad you didn't go away, and I hope you continue to stick around.

I understand though that you need to do what's best for you right now.

Much love.

Bon said...

i will say, i feel exactly the same way...magnitude and depth of grief dwindling when viewed through the lens of brighter here and now...but only in relation to Josephine, who came shortly after m/c, as opposed to Oscar, who came shortly after Finn. i think i've said before that your reaction to the twins' death doesn't seem strange except - for whatever it's worth - for their gestational age. for whatever reason, some of us attach differently as babies grow bigger, some attach from day one, and some, maybe like you, attach when the baby is born healthy and safely in their arms?

Betty M said...

I love that you have a brighter here and now.
I have always taken the view that there is no "appropriate" way to grieve - here really is an arena for each to her own. I have my own personal pain olympics: my first m/c coincided with my b-i-l's diagnosis of terminal cancer so i didn't tell my family. It seemed too petty to grieve over a very small foetus when someone else was dealing with never seeing his live kids grow up. And for me too the next live baby did make it better again and the grief is just a small undercurrent which doesn't surface - well not much.

Hannah said...

There is no template or handbook for grief. And every sadness, no matter how intense or profound, will eventually fade - the scar may still be visible but the acute pain will be gone.

If Cole has filled that empty place in your arms where the twins should have been, that's not anything you or anyone else should sit in judgment on. You have found your path forward. Allow yourself to be joyful.

He is beautiful.

jsuwork said...

I am so happy to hear it! I hope to be there with you one day.

Anonymous said...

I think it also kind of depends on what you are wanting to "replace"......

Some experiences ARE replaceable, or if not replaceable, than substituted for something just as good. Not our actual children, but parenting experiences can be.....I think whether or not a subsequent child is healing depends on what it is that the parents are grieving.

It is a little less common, perhaps, for a woman with a later loss to feel as you do, but I know plenty of women who had first trimester losses who go on to have healthy babies, and do not consider their situation to be unbearably tragic. More like, it was horrible when it happened, and I certainly don't want to go through THAT again, but really, I'm fine now, this beautiful new baby really does make it "better". Not all of course, but enough that I think if you "hung out" with enough of them, you wouldn't see yourself as an oddity at all. Your feelings are just a little less common among women who experience later losses who blog, or comment on babyloss blogs. That doesn't mean uncommon among all women who don't get to bring all their babies home.

Megan said...

My new son doesn't replace his dead sister. On the now rare bad days – like when I read about the stillborn infant being thrown out with the laundry in Montreal – I grieve her just as keenly.
But he's softened the bitterness, the rage, the feeling that there's something just plain wrong with me.
And, practically, I don't have much time to poke and prod at my grief when I'm nursing, changing diapers and soothing a colicky baby.
You feel what you feel, Niobe. Enjoy the brighter here and now.

Cynthia said...

After my son's death, a friend of mine said, "people think that the grief is worse when you've lost someone you've known and loved for a long time. But really, it's the opposite. Because what you are grieving is what would have been." In her 30's her fiance died, and then a month or so later she miscarried their baby. She never had other children. Many years later, she married again, and that marriage lasted for 10 years before her husband died suddenly and unexpectedly. She said that her grief over her fiance was so much more terrible than the grief for her husband; she had so many happy and loving memories of their 10 years together after he died. There was nothing so mitigating when her fiance died and she miscarried--in their deaths were the deaths of an entire imagined/hoped for future.

In the same way, it makes sense to me that a subsequent child would diminish the grief because grief over a dead child is partly both grief over the child, but also grief related to lost motherhood and the future that a child would have brought with him/her.

And although a subsequent child would not replace the earlier child as an individual (to be debated), it does relieve the grief related to things which would have been associated with that child.

That being said, I am not even totally convinced of my own answer, because I have a living 3.75 year old daughter. I lost my son this past may 10 weeks before he was due. Since I have a daughter, it seems my grief couldn't really be related to the loss of parenthood. I am pregnant again, and there is a part of me that is very much academically curious how this next child will or will not alter my grief.

As an aside, during this pregnancy, I often think back to a comment/post you made that during Cole's pregnancy, you believed him to be one of your children trying to make his way back to you. We conceived on the same cycle as my son, a year later, and so this one's due date is exactly what my son's would have been had he lived. In the dark and in secret, I try that thought on in my mind, that should this pregnancy end in a living child, that indeed I would never have lost a child at all, because here he is, alive. And the ashes we released on the mountain, are just that, ashes, like old fingernail or hair clippings, because the essence of him, came back.

It comforts me, and scares me at the same time.

Miss W said...

I haven't read any of the other comments before me. But I kind of agree with you. And I think anyone who has been through loss and then experienced parenthood would agree. I wanted each of the 3 that should have come before my son. I wish with all my heart that each of them would have worked out because I did love each of them regardless of only having one trimester or less with each. In the end, I mostly feel that we have what we were meant to have. This child was meant to be ours. And while I am sad about each of the others and on occasion still feel the grief, I mostly can't -- those pregnancies, had they continued would have each overlapped the next and I would never have had THIS child. Three years after the birth of my son, I think of the year preceding that pregnancy, the year of all the losses, only fleetingly -- only on specific days. And I no longer directly remember the anniversaries. I can't. I need this. I need the happiness. It's all still there, and on certain days I remember it...but somehow the birth of my son on Halloween 05 and the joy each year on his birthday by far overshadow the grief of Halloween/Nov. 1, 04 when the SCH took the life of a perfectly healthy growing little girl inside me. Thinking about it now makes me sad. On Halloween this year, I won't be. I'll be happily celebrating a 4th birthday and, as it hasn't at any point yet, I won't even think about the loss of 2004...only the gain of 2005.

ewe are here said...

I will say up front that I have never had a baby loss...

A couple of friends who suffered through several miscarriages before ending up with their lovely take-home babies, however, both told me that while they were sad about the miscarriages, had any of those pregnancies continued, they would not have the lovely child they were then holding. And that they wouldn't change for the world.

Mandy said...

Sometimes I struggle to explain to myself and others why I feel a certain way, why it makes sense, etc....but in my clearest moments it occurs to me that my feelings just ARE. Regardless of how the same situation would impact someone else, my feelings are my feelings because they are my feelings.

"what does it mean if you feel something close to the opposite; if the magnitude and depth of your grief seem to dwindle when viewed by the lens of a brighter here and now?"

I don't know what it means, or if it means anything specifically. I just know it makes me smile to think of you, feeling this way, holding your sweet baby in your arms. If where you are now is a place where pain is lessened, the depth of grief diminished....you don't need me to tell you this...that's OK. And for those that don't feel that way, that's ok too.

Blessings to you and yours.

beagle said...

Not sure what to say about what it means either. I think it's a good thing to be able to see the half full version of the glass and the half full version of life.

I am glad you are enjoying him and if this here and now experience lessens any pain you have held/still hold in your heart, then so much the better. Don't let doubt or guilt cloud that joy for you.

xo

Karin said...

Hey! Congratulations! I've been away. :-)

On the question - My experience with this journey is that it hasn't traveled in a linear direction, a sense of completion with that which came before. It's more circular, with me passing through where I've traveled before - kind of like an orbit. It's not the exact same path because time and life continue to evolve me.

For instance right now, I am experiencing a new wave of grief in relation to the fact that I cannot have another child - which links feelings about the ones that I've already had that should be here. I do have my sub bub and that is marvelous and so fun. When he was a baby, I relished in all things with him. There was never any of those usual complaints from me! What, he's awake? Yeah! Oh, he pooed all over my pants? Yeah! Is that chuck up on the floor? Yeah!

And in a blink of an eye, he turned into a big 4 year old. I find that I'm visited by grief again and find other people's pregnancies difficult to process once more. Everyone I know has 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 kids. And so clearly for me, the journey continues - not in the same way, but it continues.

I've developed some resilience along the way. Because I've been here before I know that I can survive. When our son Soren died, I was not so convinced. His death was the worst thing that had ever happened to me up to that point in my life. My grief muscles had not been stretched before. Perhaps this is a common experience - many of us go through a fairly straightforward, uncomplicated life - up until this happens. It was the first hands on experience for me of really questioning on an existential level. Sure, I've done it before but it's been in the abstract. This was real.

Long response but yes, when my sub bub came into our lives, we could finally have the experience of brightness and it felt good. Babies just need you so much. The here and now is all they are about and you have to be there with them. I didn't want to miss a minute of that.

Kami said...

Ha! I knew you couldn't stay away.

My life is much happier now that I have a real, live, baby. I still get sad about our son dying here and there, but I no longer ache for a child and that was, I think, harder to deal with because it didn't get better (easier to deal with) with time. Rather, it got worse. I guess I was coming to terms with our son's death, but not the absence of a child altogether.

I'm glad your life is lighter now