Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On the Downhill Slide

I don't know why this is happening all of a sudden...I have had episodes similar to this before but not so dramatic.
The last few weeks have been sprinkled with multiple manic days- more than I can count or remember. Now today I have slide all the way down into depression- I got upset because he fed the cats and I was going. He didn't know that I had planned on feeding the cats- it really shouldn't matter anyway- right? But now I feel completely useless because he fed the cats.
Today is one of the days that I hate my life.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A letter to friends and family

What we wish you knew about pregnancy loss:
A letter from women to their friends and family
by Elizabeth Soutter Schwarzer

I assert no copyright for the material. Please use it as you see fit to help women who have endured this terrible grief. Thank you.

Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2002

When women experience the loss of a child, one of the first things they discover they have in common is a list of things they wish no one had ever said to them. The lists tend to be remarkably similar. The comments are rarely malicious - just misguided attempts to soothe.

This list was compiled as a way of helping other people understand pregnancy loss. While generated by mothers for mothers, it may also apply similarly to the fathers who have endured this loss.
When trying to help a woman who has lost a baby, the best rule of thumb is a matter of manners: don't offer your personal opinion of her life, her choices, her prospects for children. No woman is looking to poll her acquaintances for their opinions on why it happened or how she should cope.

-Don't say, "It's God's Will." Even if we are members of the same congregation, unless you are a cleric and I am seeking your spiritual counseling, please don't presume to tell me what God wants for me. Besides, many terrible things are God's Will, that doesn't make them less terrible.

-Don't say, "It was for the best - there was probably something wrong with your baby." The fact that something was wrong with the baby is what is making me so sad. My poor baby never had a chance. Please don't try to comfort me by pointing that out.

-Don't say, "You can always have another one." This baby was never disposable. If had been given the choice between loosing this child or stabbing my eye out with a fork, I would have said, "Where's the fork?" I would have died for this baby, just as you would die for your children.

-Don't say, "Be grateful for the children you have." If your mother died in a terrible wreck and you grieved, would that make you less grateful to have your father?

-Don't say, "Thank God you lost the baby before you really loved it." I loved my son or daughter. Whether I lost the baby after two weeks of pregnancy or just after birth, I loved him or her.

-Don't say, "Isn't it time you got over this and moved on?" It's not something I enjoy, being grief-stricken. I wish it had never happened. But it did and it's a part of me forever. The grief will ease on its own timeline, not mine - or yours.

-Don't say, "Now you have an angel watching over you." I didn't want her to be my angel. I wanted her to bury me in my old age.

-Don't say, "I understand how you feel." Unless you've lost a child, you really don't understand how I feel. And even if you have lost a child, everyone experiences grief differently.

-Don't tell me horror stories of your neighbor or cousin or mother who had it worse. The last thing I need to hear right now is that it is possible to have this happen six times, or that I could carry until two days before my due-date and labor 20 hours for a dead baby. These stories frighten and horrify me and leave me up at night weeping in despair. Even if they have a happy ending, do not share these stories with me.

-Don't pretend it didn't happen and don't change the subject when I bring it up. If I say, "Before the baby died..." or "when I was pregnant..." don't get scared. If I'm talking about it, it means I want to. Let me. Pretending it didn't happen will only make me feel utterly alone.

- Don't say, "It's not your fault." It may not have been my fault, but it was my responsibility and I failed. The fact that I never stood a chance of succeeding only makes me feel worse. This tiny little being depended upon me to bring him safely into the world and I couldn't do it. I was supposed to care for him for a lifetime, but I couldn't even give him a childhood. I am so angry at my body you just can't imagine.

-Don't say, "Well, you weren't too sure about this baby, anyway." I already feel so guilty about ever having complained about morning sickness, or a child I wasn't prepared for, or another mouth to feed that we couldn't afford. I already fear that this baby died because I didn't take the vitamins, or drank too much coffee, or had alcohol in the first few weeks when I didn't know I was pregnant. I hate myself for any minute that I had reservations about this baby. Being unsure of my pregnancy isn't the same as wanting my child to die - I never would have chosen for this to happen.

-Do say, "I am so sorry." That's enough. You don't need to be eloquent. Say it and mean it and it will matter.

-Do say, "You're going to be wonderful parents some day," or "You're wonderful parents and that baby was lucky to have you." We both need to hear that.

-Do say, "I have lighted a candle for your baby," or "I have said a prayer for your baby." Do send flowers or a kind note - every one I receive makes me feel as though my baby was loved. Don't resent it if I don't respond. Don't call more than once and don't be angry if the machine is on and I don't return your call. If we're close friends and I am not responding to your attempts to help me, please don't resent that, either. Help me by not needing anything from me for a while. If you're my boss or my co-worker:

-Do recognize that I have suffered a death in my family - not a medical condition.

-Do recognize that in addition to the physical aftereffects I may experience, I'm going to be grieving for quite some time. Please treat me as you would any person who has endured the tragic death of a loved one - I need time and space.

DO understand if I do not attend baby showers/christening/birthday parties etc. And DON'T ask why I can't come.

Please don't bring your baby or toddler into the workplace. If your niece is pregnant, or your daughter just had a baby, please don't share that with me right now. It's not that I can't be happy for anyone else, it's that every smiling, cooing baby, every glowing new mother makes me ache so deep in my heart I can barely stand it. I may look okay to you, but there's a good chance that I'm still crying every day. It may be weeks before I can go a whole hour without thinking about it. You'll know when I'm ready - I'll be the one to say, "Did your daughter have her baby?" or, "How is that precious little boy of yours? I haven't seen him around the office in a while."

Above all, please remember that this is the worst thing that ever happened to me. The word "miscarriage" is small and easy. But my baby's death is monolithic and awful. It's going to take me a while to figure out how to live with it. Bear with me.


Last week I started seeing a new therapist- she is very kind and patient. Today I met her dog who is also very kind and patient. We have been talking about grief and loss and trauma. Our or well okay, my goals are to be able to get past my grief and loss- stop feeling guilty about things that I have absolutely no control over and never will. She also brought up the idea of a type of memorial service for our Angels. This is something that I have never done for any of them- something that we have never done for various reasons. Richard and I said a few words when we placed the first three statues and their stepping stones the day we had our handfasting. I don't remember doing a whole lot of anything when we placed the last statue and stone. And when people ask about them- our next door neighbor made the comment 'Sara collects Angels' to which Richard basically said 'yes, she does'. More recently a group of people came to our home and a few of them made comments about the garden and statues that those must have been very important pets for you to keep it so well maintained and gone to so much trouble- Richard very carefully explained what the statues, stones, and garden really were and then the ladies felt a little guilty and told him how sorry they were for our losses.
Back to the memorial service- I talked to Richard on the way home from my session today- he said it was something I needed to talk to my circle sisters about- I told him that we also needed to talk about it as this is something we need to do together- they are after all OUR children, not just mine. Yes, granted, I am the one having the most difficulty saying 'goodbye' after almost 5 years for our first one and almost 2 years for our last. I want to be able to think of them and smile as I think about the brief time I had each of them with me. I want to smile and be genuinely happy for friends and family members when they announce a pregnancy. I want to be happy when the baby arrives and that baby makes my parents happy....I don't want to feel guilty that they have to receive their happiness elsewhere because I can't provide it. I would love to be able to include all of my family and friends in a memorial service- but considering many of them never knew that we were ever pregnant let alone lost said pregnancy- I don't want them to be uncomfortable- I just hate feeling like I am hiding this forbidden secret that must not be mentioned for fear of making someone uncomfortable. Then there are my parents, they understood in the beginning- well at least my mother did- she thoughtfully hung the ornament on the tree as she does every year- she would appear to be happy when we would find out that we were expecting, but didn't always seem to know how to treat me when I would then lose the pregnancy. My friends have all been similar...some would be very excited that we were pregnant- at least for the first few pregnancies- and others felt awkward- then when we would lose the pregnancy it seemed like the subject would be changed, so I stopped telling people when we were pregnant and the same thing when we lost the pregnancy I would be careful about who I mentioned it to.
So who do I have at a memorial service for four wonderful souls that did not get the chance to be? Do I do something with just Richard and I or can I include my friends- will they care or will they go along with everything to 'make' me feel better. I guess this is something that we are going to have to think about and decide what is best for us.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Be at Peace

Today was the day that we all finally said 'Goodbye' to Solveig Lenhartzen also known as Gram. The services were simple and beautiful- many stories were told of her long adventurous life. Today she was surrounded by many members of her family and friends. She will be buried next to her beloved husband that passed away 16 years ago- I know she is resting now, no longer in pain, no longer suffering. I know that she is now at peace again surrounded by her loving family. Those of us left behind will carry her with us in our hearts- remembering her beautiful and contagious smile that lit up the room, we all will also cherish her lyrical little laugh. I feel so honored and blessed that her family shared her with me. She has such special soul that will be missed but never forgotten. Rest in peace Gram- you are finally home.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Our Sweet Henry Philip

Our Little Peanut
You have been gone for four years and yet it sometimes feels like it was just yesterday.
We love you dearly with all of hearts and think of you often.
I know that one day we will all be together again, until then watch over us as I know you and your sisters do.
I hope you had a beautiful light show last night with all of the fireworks everywhere.
Mommy is trying to find ways to be happy and knows that you are not with us for a reason- and believe that reason was not because we didn't love you- because we did with all of our hearts.
Be safe little one- chase the butterflies and dragonflies and relax beneath the beautiful rainbows.
We will light your candle later today and think of you fondly.
I miss you my little Angel boy- you will forever be in my heart were you are safe and sound. I cherish the weeks we had with you- sleep well sweet prince. Love Always- Mommy and Daddy