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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

for one and all > Apathetic, don't want to go on

I vacillate between different emotions and feelings like a ping pong game of dread. Sometimes I am in a good mood and want to work, be around others, etc. But I am never really clear-minded and Riyad's death is constantly in the back of my head. It seems like all I truly look forward to now is being on websites for babylost moms and my weekly therapy meetings. I also like seeing my husband at the end of the day, but that's it. Everything else is beginning to annoy me. Work is good because it distracts me but sometimes I want to yell at everyone to leave me alone and let me mourn my son. Same with friends and family. They sit and talk and laugh, and I laugh with them, but deep down I grow aggravated and think to myself that I'm different, and I'm deeply alone, because my baby died and theirs lived, or they don't know this trauma. I am doing my best to communicate with my husband and be "strong" for him because we are starting to have a gap in the ways we grieve. My grief is intense when it hits now, to where I'm either numb or just feel like I want to die. My husband sees me upset and gets mad that I get upset while we are out or doing something "fun." I can't control how I feel and when it hits me, but he wants me to compartmentalize my grief. I think deep down he is just sad and frustrated when he sees me sad and he feels helpless and gets angry. My friend who had a full term stillbirth had her rainbow baby last week. I'm happy for her but I feel like I lost a person I have been leaning on for support. Does that make sense? Now she encourages me to begin trying for my rainbow because hers is helping her heal. But I've begun to be scared. Absolutely terrified. I'm scared of another loss, and I'm worried that everyone is already forgetting Riyad and I'm the only one who will ever think of him anymore. My sister thought she was pregnant but wasn't, and it was a huge trigger for me because Riyad was supposed to be the first grandchild and he died. So that would hurt me immensely. Life just seems unfair lately. Again, not always, because my emotions go back and forth. I seriously sat there yesterday in my bed, thinking of Riyads death and wondering how I could ever risk being pregnant again and losing another child. Then I thought about how badly I want to be a mom, and how I disappointed everyone around me when my son died. I think about the inability to go on with my life and just ending everything because I can't accept this reality. Then I suddenly snap back into a good mood. I think about getting a pet, or even adopting a child, but my husband doesn't want either of those things. He wants us to try again for a baby and if we lose another "it's okay,we will try again." I want to try but the outcome scares me to death. And then I would rather do nothing but just lay in bed all day, willing the time to pass until I'm at a happier moment in my life. It's all so chaotic right now.
February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNada
I want to add that I just feel like my life is over. Everyone else around me is so happy and oblivious, having children and growing...and I'm stuck with my dead baby and no bright outlook.
February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNada
Nada, what you are describing is one of the things drugs are good for. I don't know if you are on any medications, such as anti-depressants, or if you are open to the idea. The racing thoughts, the thoughts that only circle back again and again to a scream of pain, these are not unusual and they are not abnormal. The baby died and nothing else matters right now. Drugs won't stop the pain, they will not ease the grief. They can, possibly, help you get back some feeling of control.

In a previous post you said that your family wants you to be "strong." That you always were the strong one. That struck a cord in me because when the strong one breaks, you really break. It's the feeling of, "I thought I had it all together. I thought I knew what I was doing. The baby died. What the fuck happened? What did I do wrong? What else is waiting to destroy me that I know nothing about? How can I go on when my whole life has brought me to this point?"

You didn't do anything wrong. You didn't screw up without knowing it. You did not have control. You thought you did, but that is where you are wrong. Not in how you lived your life, just in thinking that you could control all of it. You have now learned, in the worst possible way, that some things you cannot control. It's not that you did it wrong, it is not that your knowledge was insufficient.

Take a deep breathe, Nada. Now take another. Slow, deep, in, out. Roll your head, roll your shoulders. Let some of tension drain. Okay?

Now you are looking at life and wondering if you control anything. Now you get paralyzed with fear, as it all spins out of control. You do have control over some things. Some things you don't. The next life lesson is to figure out which is which. It takes years, but it is worth doing.

Google "racing thoughts" and "circling thoughts." There are many ways, with or without drugs, to help this and to get your brain back under some of your control. This life gets better, Nada. It truly does. It is never the same, but love, joy, peace, even happiness still exist and exist for you. You will find them and you will make them be a part of your live again.

Sending you a hug and sharing some of my peace with you.
February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJill A.
Jill--

I can't thank you enough. Your post brought me some comfort today. I just went through a feeling of numbness, then a crying spell, then some semblance of peace and normalcy which increased when I read your post. I have thought about anti-depressants. My mom takes them, and it has helped her immensely, but my husband frowns upon them and sees them as weakness. Most people I know have a stigma against them, that it's a sign of "weakness," but I know that they aren't. I would have to have a long talk with him about it, and I'll bring it up to my therapist tomorrow. She didn't think I needed anti-depressants either, but not seeing her last week has really made me feel like I'm struggling to find a proper outlet for my grief.

Yes, I am very much breaking. My view of life is threatened to become bleak, when it was rosy and optimistic. My dad died suddenly of cancer three years ago, and that rocked me. It hurt. But I couldn't blame anyone, and I saw cancer as something we can't truly control, and I know everyone did everything they could to help him. So it hurt me, and it was raw and painful, but not out of the ordinary. This is out of the ordinary. My child's death was completely shocking and defies all logic, so it rocks my world and everything I've ever believed in. I am one of those people who try to always control everything that I can. If it's in my realm of control, I try to do it--whether it's work, health, fitness, my mindset, setting life goals, etc. I was one of those people who researched things incessantly in order to always improve every aspect of my life. I researched pregnancy like crazy with Riyad, taking extra supplements, DHA, doing the recommended amount of exercise, studying what to take and do that would benefit my baby the most. And he died. So yes, I am really learning, truly, that life is out of my control.

I have control over most aspects of my life. But I thought I controlled pregnancy, too. I thought that, because it's my body, and my baby, I could control what goes on inside of my body to reach the best possible outcome. But I can't. It strips away your pride, it truly does. It makes me feel shame around others. I hate it.

It has been helpful to me to distract myself with things that I feel I can control. My work performance, school was always helpful, my relationships, etc. But pregnancy has become terrifying. The worst thing is the ignorance of other people, including family and friends, who blissfully believe that they will never lose a baby from stillbirth, SIDs, or any other way. That I just did something wrong or something was wrong with Riyad, which I know to be false.

But anyway, you are right, I know peace and joy is out there in life. I have touched it and experienced it still although I am grieving and in pain. I was in Mexico with my husband last week, and I had an incredible time. But I think I also pushed my grief aside that week and here it is, coming back to consume me in a tidal wave, because I ignored it so adamantly. I am just waiting for the time that grief and joy can co-exist with me, and it won't be this awful tug of war.
February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNada
Nada, you are not alone. This journey we've all been thrown on isn't for the faint of heart. It's mind-numbingly difficult and horrific and terrifying. The hopelessness, the feelings of isolation and abandonment, the fear of never having a living child or another child, the desperation and dread, the constant heartache and sadness, the feelings of otherness, it's all encompassing. And it's so horribly unfair. All of it. It will be 6 months tomorrow that our daughter was born, and then Thursday is the 6 month anniversary of her passing. My 33rd birthday is on Friday and I feel anything but celebratory. Three crap days in a row. I just want to sleep through it but in the end, I know it wouldn't make a difference because come Saturday, our reality will still be our reality. So we just keep taking each day as it comes, putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that no matter what, we are doing the very best that we can...despite how we may feel.

One thing I love about Glow is that there are people here who suffered their losses some time ago, who can relate to our current reality with the perspective that time affords. I have been reminded by women who have walked in our shoes, in my darkest despair, that as acute as the pain may feel right now, that it won't always be that way. That there is still life and joy down the line to look forward to, as unimaginable as that may seem to us right now. I cannot fathom ever being happy again but I know it's possible someday. And that gives me hope.

Our lives won't ever be what they could have, should have, been. It's awful but it's true. And somehow, we must learn to adapt to that reality and find a way to lead meaningful, fulfilled lives despite the missing piece of our hearts. It's a task no one should have to undertake. I wish people would stop having expectations of us, and just let us grieve and heal as we see fit, on our own timelines without judgment. I am thankful to have people in my life who give me that space but there are those who do not and expect me to get back to being the old friend they knew and relied on and had fun with. But that me isn't around anymore. Our children change us, they just do. If our Evelyn had lived, she would have changed us and our lives, so why is it so hard for some to understand that even though she only lived for a short time, she left her mark and left us irrevocably changed, as all children do? Living or dead, she is our child and she changed us. Period. Living or not, your baby changed you. Period. And that's okay.

Should you and your husband decide to try for another child, that decision is yours to make as a couple, when you're ready. Not before. Everyone's journeys are unique and no one has the right to pressure you in to trying for another baby before you are emotionally and physically ready. I believe that in your heart, you'll know when the time is right and if/when that time comes, you'll know how you want to proceed. Until then, I hope that people give you the loving space you need and deserve.

You are not alone and your Riyad will not be forgotten here. We will always remember right alongside you. One day at a time...
February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
It does strip your pride. That's a good way to put it. I know my self-worth disappeared after my baby died. I kept a loaded gun on hand and had three places I checked daily where I could use it to kill myself without causing too much mess. But I also had an older brother who committed suicide in 1987, so I knew what the aftermath can be like. For me, it became a choice of carrying my pain or of causing pain to my family. I decided that living as a broken, bleeding idiot was better than adding more pain to my world.

Therapy is likely to be the most helpful thing. If your therapist can handle grief and death. I'm assuming you are happy with her and that is so good! Another place, in addition, is Hospice. Most local chapters have support groups that meet twice a month and they know death there and they know the after effects. Again, thought, the fact that you are looking for ease, looking to understand and to get help, is going to save you. Keep looking, keep searching, keep researching. You will find what you need. Not what your family thinks you need, not what your husband wants for you, but what you need.

At which point we break into a rousing rendition of the Rolling Stones, "You Can't Always Get What You Want." :-D

This learning to live and love a dead child is so hard, Nada, so hard. Everything you think, everything you see, everything you touch comes back to your child. Who is missing and comes back to the pain of that loss. I'm glad you posted and thank you for answering so quickly. Peace, love.
February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJill A.
Nada, I feel exactly like you so unfortunately I don't have a good answer, just please know that you are not alone, I am thinking of you and Riyad.
February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCristiane
Just wanted to add that I relate to not possessing the ability to "try again." I heard many say the desire for a baby eventually out-weighed the fear. This wasn't true for me, at least. The fear always out-weighed the desire, because the fear could destroy me. It is okay to find other ways to be a parent to a living child. It doesn't mean you're not brave. It means you know your limits. Some women stop after 3 early miscarriages. Some after a stillbirth. Some after 2 rounds of IVF. It is okay to not want to try again. There is a freedom in it, that some can't understand. There is also a very sad truth to it, that takes its own time to heal. You aren't alone in your fear.
February 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterElaina
Dear Nada
I can't add much to all the wisedom already said... But I can tell you that controling the circling thoughs is important. I review myself in you a lot, because I too thought myself a strong, in control and optimistic person before...
The first months or year were not easy, and I was prescribed anti depressives (mild ones) still at the hospital. I still have plenty of left overs... from those original ones, Which I took (before getting pregnangt again) as SOS.
Whenever I felt too anxious, I would take one... or just one half... It was what my terapist recommended, before I dropped out of therapy! She toldme to protect myself against situa tions where too much anxiety would put me completely looney... to medicate to prevent loosing control.
She also told me a bunch of other stupid things, that were not exactly my way of thinking, hence my leaving therapy...
I felt more anxious every time I would go see her, than the rest of the time.

And in these 2 years past, I have lived, but was never the same again!
I am nearly at the finishline for my rainbow, but live in constant fear of loosing him also... but I live, and so does he, and each day more is a hallmark.
The fear is strictly controlled... I neither get too overexcited nor... i try... get too depressed or gloomy... because one will follow the other!

Deciding to go for a rainbow is a tough decision, and if you do decide to ttc, achieving it might be another difficult process if you don't succeed immediately... Once the loooong journey starts, you will have a bumpy road of mixed feelings... It is not easy, but we are all survivors here, and you Nada, are strong enough to make it!

Be kind to yourself, accept your worst moments, don't punish yourself for having little carefree moments or for never feeling quite as happy and carefree and optimistic as you once were, depending of the situation!
Much peace to you

Marta
February 15, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarta
I am responding so late. You women are all so wonderful! I have read and re-read your words to comfort me this past week and it really helps.

Melissa, I agree. This is the worst, most awful journey anyone could be forced to go through. I am so sorry for the loss of your precious daughter and I hope your birthday was okay. My birthday was February 8th, and I had "fun"--as much as I possibly could--but I felt very numb, and very sad throughout the entire day. It's hard when we think that our birthdays should have been at home, celebrating with our babies. And they're not here to celebrate. They're not here at all. It is a new layer of depressing. I also really like what you said about Glow. I take comfort in the mothers here who are further down the line than us, too. To know that they lived through this horrible pain, that they saw life at the end of the tunnel--it gives me hope. I have no living children, so I am still in limbo in terms of having hope to have a living child in the future and the dread that I may be childless the rest of my life. Maybe it's not logical, but so much of this grief is emotional...so I guess that just goes hand in hand with it. I don't really care right now about friends and in laws. I see them, I smile, I laugh with them, whatever. But in terms of making it a priority to see them, what I used to do while pregnant? I don't. I just want to relax. I could live in a bubble with my husband, go to work, see my immediate family, and all would be just fine. I don't like people's stupid comments and their ignorance....it's just silly. I know they mean well, but it bugs me. I see what you mean about being changed, because I am too. People are silly to just assume that we should be normal after the deaths of our babies. But I guess they are blessed in their ignorance.

Jill A., I am so sorry about your brother. But I know your train of thought....I got to a point last week where I felt like SUCH a burden to my friends, family, husband. I thought to myself that I should end their dismay and their worrying about me, and their sadness about the death of my baby. I felt useless, like I could never give my husband a living child, and that another pregnancy would stress him out, and that he deserves better than me, so I spiraled down into depression. BUT then I contacted my sister and told her these thoughts and she came to my house, whether I liked it or not, and kept me company as well as calmed me down. Told me I am loved and I am being stupid. And she was right. I was being illogical. I don't have those thoughts now, but I did, and it was awful. Therapy helps me a lot. I really look forward to it, because it's a sounding board and I can actually tell her everything that's on my mind without any sort of judgment. It's so refreshing. I know my future will be bittersweet--I can already see it. I have good things happening around me, in my life, with work and family, and it is so unfair and makes me so bitter inside that life is good for the most part, but I had to lose Riyad. Life is good but my baby is missing. Life is good but my son isn't here. It's a mantra I tell myself that actually helps me not feel like everything in this world is hopeless and horrible. But he will always be missing, and any happiness I have will always be tinged with sadness. As it should be.

Cristiane, I am so sorry, I am also thinking of you and your beautiful baby, taken too soon from you. You are definitely not alone either. In the depth of all this pain, this is probably the best place to find yourself at.

Elaina, I agree. I can see the liberation that comes with deciding not to try again. There's a finality, a certainty in it. A sense that you made a decision for yourself and it's not something that life can just take from you. I don't think it's a decision made out of fear, either. I think it's strong. I think any decision a woman can make after the death of her baby, it a strong decision. Whether it's to try again, whether it's not to try again, there is absolutely no weakness in any of it.

Marta, I really look forward to your posts because I know your personality is similar to mine! I am sorry that your therapist didn't work for you. It sounds like you two definitely didn't mesh, and maybe she didn't understand what you truly needed in your grief. I am glad that you stopped going to her, because she wasn't an appropriate fit for you. I wish you luck with your rainbow pregnancy. I was following it a bit in the February pregnancy thread. Congratulations for 37 weeks! I know you must be incredibly anxious but I hope you can find some sort of calm and peace until delivery.
February 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNada