A note about progress to my bereaved parent friends

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I have no idea why I started writing this blog.  I can remember that it was a week after we buried Max, Bianca and Prima Sharon and I went to the movies.  In the car on the way home, Bianca started talking about blogs of grieving people she read or had found.  She suggested that maybe it would be something that could help me.  I knew immediately that it was something I had to do.  I wasn't sure what it would accomplish, whether it would be my way to keep family and friends informed about how we were doing, or a way to tell Max's stories as fully as possible, or ensure that his brothers and sisters knew exactly who their big brother was and what he meant to us.  I just knew I had to do it.  As I have traveled through this excruciating grief journey, the blogs of other bereaved parents have been so important to me.  I have begun relationships with some (though they all live too far away to be part of our daily lives) and I have just watched others from a far.  I have gone back into the archives of many many blogs to see how things were for various families at 4 months, 5 months, 7 months... I literally count the months from when their child died, match it to the month I am in, and then read their  posts from that month...looking for feelings that I can relate to.  I have no idea why I do this other than that I am looking for some kind of validation, perhaps a pattern, perhaps confirmation that it gets easier.  I know now that the people I am really writing this blog for are other bereaved parents.  Even if it only "helps" one.  I know it may sound strange.  Why would another bereaved parent find any solace in my dark and broody blog?  I have been on the edge many, many times in these past almost eight months.  Again, validation has been so important to me.  I think for MANY of us bereaved parents, it isn't something we get in our real lives.  Like I've said, everyone wants to point out the bright side, talk about the stuff that doesn't matter, focus on future babies, NOT talk about our loss.  To read that other bereaved parents have gone through exactly what I am going through has helped me to see - EVERYTHING I FEEL IS NATURAL.  I've mentioned reading my neighbors diary.  I read it probably 20 times.  I counted the months....same thing like the blogs.  It helped me in the same way.  Not everyone has a neighbor that will just give them their diary.  This is my diary (although my REAL diary tells it even more like it really is).

In the interest of remaining honest - as best I can - I want to write a note to the other bereaved parents who may read my blog:

You may have noticed that I announced my pregnancy two days ago.  You may have also noticed that I have actually been pregnant for four and a half months.  I want to first say - there are a lot of reasons that I have kept this pregnancy a secret.  In fact, it would probably still be a secret except for that over 100 people will see me on Thursday night at our benefit for Maxie and it is really impossible to hide at this point.  I needed to come clean before then because the thought of people attacking me with excited smiles and wanting to touch my belly and thinking that I was keeping it a secret to be cute was too much for me.  I am trying to stay one step ahead as best as I can.  You may have also noticed that the last four and a half months haven't exactly been uplifting for me.  In fact, the six month mark was incredibly low - very much back to wanting to die, quite honestly.  And, I was pregnant then.  Being pregnant has not taken one ounce of pain away from the loss I feel.  If Max hadn't died, I planned to be pregnant again around this time.  We figured we'd try when I came back from the bike ride I was planning to go on in Israel in November.  If all had gone well, I'd be about 2 weeks less pregnant than I am right now.  So, why do I feel the need to explain that?  Since I lost Max, I have heard 1000 times that "It will be alright.  You can have more kids."  Having more kids does not make losing one "alright".  Not even close.  One of the reasons I have kept the pregnancy a secret is because I am not strong enough to handle the expectation that people think we will be alright now, because we aren't.  I am not strong and I am not fixed.  Also, since Max died, I have connected to or read about so many people who couldn't have more kids or didn't want to try.  Losing a child is not only the most heartbreaking thing in the world but for people who want more children, it is just about the scariest thing in the world...and for us, the fears are not unfounded.  We actually know the worst case scenario and statistics don't mean sh*t when you are one of them.  A woman I have been emailing with lost her only child to SIDS 9 years ago and has not used birth control since.  She and her husband have not been able to have more children.  It pains me to know that she has probably heard the same thing that I have heard, "Don't worry, you can always have more children", hundreds, if not thousands of times since her daughter died nine years ago.  Only now, I am sure that instead of people saying "you can always...", they ask "how come you didn't?".  By the way, ask any other 38 year old woman who wants to have children and either hasn't had any yet, has lost a child, or just wants more, if she is concerned about her fertility and 80% of the time, she will tell you "yes".  "You can have more kids" hasn't exactly been a huge consolation.

But here I am, having another baby.  A baby that I want desperately.  A baby that I know will give us back daily parenting roles that we loved and have missed so much.  I am excited....to have another baby.  I am also scared out of my mind.  At the beginning of last week, I was looking at some pretty grim statistics concerning this new baby's chance at survival past infancy.  I have decided to wait until we find out or don't find out more information from the genetic testing we are doing before focusing too much energy on those grim thoughts.  What's more important to convey here though, in my mind, is that the only thing that has helped me "get through" the pain of losing Max has been time.  Time - most of all.  Pregnancy is helping somewhat but pregnancy has not healed me or fixed me.  Sure, there have been other things that have "helped" - lots of reading (like CRAZY amounts of reading about bereavement, loss, grief, life after death, faith), work (finally work is a distraction), therapy, alternative therapies, massages, baths (I take almost a daily bath), exercise, blogging, and actually feeling my grief (not suppressing it).  Over and over people who haven't been through this have told me that "Time heals all wounds".  People who have been through this have said "Time doesn't heal the wound but it does make it different".  It does.  Eight months later, I feel different.  I couldn't have imagined that THIS is something I would have looked forward to all of these months.  I am no less sad.  I don't miss or long for Max any less (have I mentioned that I actually pray for Max to be reincarnated in this child?  I mean, I really do.  All of the time).  I am still a complete basket case, still broken, still having to find my new self. What has changed is this - I don't wake up every morning feeling horror.  I am finally used to the fact that my child died and I wake up just knowing it.  While I still have nightmares, I have many more dreams of Max visiting me and having sweet reunions with him.  I can joke and laugh again.  It can't be forced, you can't make me laugh, but I can laugh naturally when it is appropriate.  I care about my appearance a little more.  I don't wear sweats and the same 3 shirts every day anymore (though I still do at least a few days a week).  I wear make up most days.  I know these don't sound like big things to someone who hasn't been here, but they are big things.  I forgive more easily now than I did but I still get hurt and become angry easily.  I can fake my way through a meaningless interaction without wanting to grab the other person by the throat and choke them while screaming "My Son Died!"  I'm not saying it is easy, but it is easier.  I can go an entire day and only tear up, without crying.  Still, most days, I still cry - hard.  My insides don't feel like they are being torn out ALL of the time, but they still hurt.  I don't want to die anymore but I do still look forward to meeting Max again after my death.  It has been eight months.  This is how it feels for me to be eight months past the death of my child.

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