Roller coaster of emotions

31 Oct

Today has been a highly emotional day.  It all started when I decided to listen to the  most recent Bitter Infertiles podcast.  At work.  Despite all the warnings that they would be discussing baby loss.  Um, yeah.  Not my brightest moment.  I was doing just fine, until Mo started to get upset.  And then I started to get upset.  At work.  So many things she said just resonated with me.   She said that if she had seen Nadav (the baby boy she lost, if you don’t follow her blog) or had a picture of him, that people might understand her loss a little more because people don’t understand that she is a mother.

I feel that so much every day.  I feel that even though the people around me understand that I lost a baby, they don’t really get it.  No one thinks of me as a mother.  People still tell me that I will be a mother someday.  They don’t understand that I already am.  And despite the fact that my baby is dead and that he was never born and that I never got to hold him in my arms (despite my best efforts), I am still his mother.  People still treat me as the infertile that is fragile because she can’t have a baby.  But I did have a baby and I feel like no one remembers that.  Or if they do remember that, people don’t want me to bring it up.

I am encouraged by family and friends to answer the question, “Do you have any children?” with no.  I shouldn’t make people uncomfortable with that story.  Mo mentioned that people in her life get uncomfortable when she uses his name.  I don’t even use my baby’s name on this blog.  In a way, it’s because my family and friends don’t know about this blog and should they stumble on it, they would know it was me in a heartbeat if they saw his name.  But in a way, it’s because I feel like people think it’s silly that I named this baby that was never born and that I never met.  I have a necklace with his initial on it and I know many people look at it. I can feel them looking at it.  But not one person ever comments on it and I wear it every day.  Only two people have ever said anything to me about it and one was my freaking dentist.

I feel as though the fact that I never met him contributes a lot to why people don’t feel like I’m a mother.  He would not have lived if he was born.  Despite going through 48 hours of labor, he wasn’t born.  He just died in a horrible way and there was nothing I could do to stop it.  People don’t consider that a real baby even though he was so very real to me.  He was real for 22 weeks and he’s still real now.

It feel impossible to me that I am still living my life.  I don’t even know how I am doing it.  And not that I need gold stars for everything I do, but I feel like no one is even acknowledging that this is hard.  Everyone seems to think I should be over it.  Because people are dying of cancer and in wars.  It’s like there is only so much sadness in the world and I’ve already used mine up and people like cancer patients need it more.  But that ‘s not the way the world works.  There’s an infinite amount of sadness and happiness.   And I get to be sad about this.  I get to cry about this.  Besides, how do you just get over being a mother to a child that no one recognizes?

Then I made the mistake of looking at the pictures of the Jersey Shore after the hurricane.  Seaside Heights was devastated.  The amusement park where I used to go on rides as a kid is demolished.  The boardwalk that I walked on every summer, the place where I won more stuffed animals than I can count is in ruins.  I feel like a piece of my childhood is gone.  On top of that is the fact that so many people down there lost their homes and have to rebuild everything.  It just breaks my heart. People can make fun of New Jersey all they want.  Even though I have lived in Pennsylvania for twelve years, my heart will always be in New Jersey.  That is my home.  And to see it destroyed and to see people without home is just heart wrenching.

Finally, I got home and got the mail and we got a notification of our St. Jude’s memorial for the baby.  While it’s something, I feel like nothing I can do for him can ever be enough.  He was my baby and I still feel like I failed him.  My only job was to provide him a warm and toasty home for 40 weeks and my body gave out.  He was fine, he was healthy, he was alive and in anyone else’s body, he would have made it. So I can insist and insist that I am a mother, but I feel like a pretty rotten one.

Sorry if this entire post makes no sense.  I feel like a hyper-emotional crazy person today.  Which is why instead of opening the door to the trick-or-treaters, I put a giant bowl of candy on the front step with a sign that says take one.  I hope they’ll forgive me for not oohing and aahing over their costumes this year.  I just can’t take a parade of adorable kids knocking on my door today.


14 Responses to “Roller coaster of emotions”

  1. Wannabemom October 31, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    This post breaks my heart. I got to hold my Abby and have a picture and footprints and all that stuff. But I think for some people it’s like she never existed. I’ve never heard my dad say her name. But I say it all the time and talk about her. Screw people if it makes them uncomfortable. You know what’s more uncomfortable? Being a momma who will never get to raise her daughter!! I’m sorry that your grief goes so invalidated. You have every right to mourn your son, by his name, and be proud of being his mother. xo

  2. chon October 31, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Oh Anna my love. You are so brave to listen to that post and understandable that you broke down. One of my best friends lost her son at the same amount of weeks and she always said the same thing – it was like no one recognized him as being real. I wish I knew what I know now as I could have been a better friend.

    The most important thing to remember is that YOU remember YOU are a mother -the rest they don’t count.

  3. brooke November 1, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    I wish I could give you a huge hug. Everything you’re feeling is completely understandable. It’s so frustrating, and I wish you could say to all those people who don’t understand, “I’m not sad because I’m not a mother. I’m sad because my son died.”

    The hurricane aftermath is horrifying, and I totally get why it amplifies your grief.

    Also: Last Halloween, David and I turned off our porch light and went to a movie. I didn’t put out a bowl of candy. This year was a bit easier, but it still stings to see two-year-olds in costume.

    • Anna November 1, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

      And I feel like when people ignore my grieving or make light of it, I’m so shocked that I can’t even respond. So they end up thinking that it’s ok because I’m silent about it. Or when people do respond appropriately, I end up smoothing things over because I feel bad that I have upset them. Here they were having a perfectly normal day and now they are thinking about dead babies.

      I think sometimes seeing older kids upsets me more than seeing babies. Even though he would only be nine months right now, my heart hurts when I see toddlers. I guess it’s because I’ve imagined his future already and it never happened.

  4. Jackie November 2, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    I hate that baby loss is so taboo. It only makes everything worse. Sending you hugs!

    • Anna November 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

      I agree. No one wants to talk about it and I get that. It’s really sad but it’s so hard because when you don’t talk about it, people forget.

  5. Cristy November 2, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    My heart breaks from reading this. That you are feeling the pressure of not being able to talk about your son and that you are suffering in silence.

    I’m with Wannabemom and Alissa on this one: you need to have an outlet and to talk about your baby. Scrapbooks are wonderful for this purpose, as it gives you a way to remember him and it can be out if you chose to have it out. Generating one of these isn’t easy, but I really think they are a beautiful memorial. In addition, I agree with Wannabemom: talk about your baby. Use his name; remember those 22 weeks you had with him. Because he does exist and he will always be your first born. And there is no shame in any of that.

    Wishing you peace during this time.

    • Anna November 2, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

      We do have a decorative box that hold his things. As few as they are, we do have u/s pictures, and some books that someone bought for him, the congratulations cards when we announced our pregnancy and a little t-shirt I bought for him.

      We purchased a brick in his memory at St. Jude’s and it will be in place after Apr 1st. My husband and I are planning to either drive or fly out there and visit it. I want to get a nice picture taken of it and framed to hang in our house. I know that’s pretty far off though so I do want to do something in the meantime. Either a scrapbook or something else to remember him. Some days I feel like it’s silly to do it now. It’s been a year now. I know there’s no end date on mourning but still. I guess I just have to stop being worried about what other people think.

  6. Alissa November 2, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    Oh hon, I’m sorry. This rings true to me on so many levels and I get it. I wish I could make it easier on you. Just know that you can be as vocal as you want about your child. If you want to say his name, say it. If someone asks you about your necklace, tell them if you like. I tend to not tell those I don’t know well that I am already a mommy. Some will ask if this baby I’m carrying is my first…and I say yes. It hurts me to say that because it isn’t true, but it’s easier then telling them the sordid story. I will tell coworkers or friends of friends since I will see them again, but it’s kept simple and to the point.

    Honor your baby. You loved him and will mourn him for a very long time. I know I will never forget any of the babies who have been lost to any of you.

    • Anna November 4, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

      I know. I have to stop worrying so much about what other people think. That is my big problem. I worry about how other people feel but not about how I feel.

  7. loveisblonde November 4, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    I am so sorry, too. You don’t sound crazy to me at all. Navigating all of this just…sucks. Plain and simple.

    Still, over a year later I struggle with what to tell some people/how to answer questions. “Is this your first baby?” No, it’s not. But do I tell everyone that, even strangers? I don’t want to betray the truth, but I also don’t want to get into it with everyone.

    • Anna November 4, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

      Exactly! I feel when I say no I’m betraying the truth. But on the other hand, do I want to spill my guts to every one I meet?

  8. missohkay November 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    Hi, I stumbled across your blog from a comment you left at This is Personal. This post is so important. The part that really caught my eye is that you don’t expect a gold star for everything but no one acknowledges this is hard. Yes, yes, yes! This is exactly what I was thinking when I set up my account two years ago and gave myself a gold star 🙂

    Re: your betraying the truth comment, I wrote a post on that subject recently:
    “Sometimes I tell the whole story, and people look so horrified that I want to say, ‘Listen, I had to live it – the least you could do is listen to me answer the question you asked me.’ That’s why I don’t always tell the whole story. Some people just don’t need to know our reproductive history, and sometimes I just don’t feel like dealing with other people’s discomfort. More often than not, though, I do tell our story. It feels dishonest not to. It feels like a betrayal of our babies-that-never-were. It feels like a betrayal of me – this experience changed me, forever.”

    OK, stopping now. Sorry to be so wordy on my first comment – your post just really spoke to me 🙂

    • Anna November 8, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

      I’m going to have to go to your blog and read that whole post. I agree that some people don’t need the whole story but sometimes when I only give part of it, they don’t get it. I tell people I lost a baby and they say oh you can try again. As if it’s that easy. Oh yes, why didn’t I think of that? I will just walk into the same room as my husband and bam I’m pregnant. It took four years to conceive the one. So I feel like it’s either explain it all to avoid the follow up questions and platitudes or tell none of it. I feel like there is never an easy answer. Just once, I’d like an easy answer!

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