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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.

ttc | pregnancy | birth after loss > Please tell me things will get better.

I have been debating posting this, because I feel so repetitive, and I even typed out a post yesterday and deleted it before submitting.

I know my therapist mentioned this to me, and everyone on this planet has the knowledge that grief isn't a "linear" thing, it's more like an ocean, blah blah blah. But it's different acknowledging that I'm going to go back and forth in a huge circle, feeling fine one day and devastated the next, than actually experiencing it. I thought I was doing better. It's only been a little over two months, but I really thought I was about to hit the "acceptance stage." Now, it has dawned on me that it is going to be a REALLY long time before I have any sort of acceptance about my son's death.

This shit is just so unfair. It struck me yesterday just how unfair everything is. It's because we aren't just grieving our losses in the past, we are grieving our futures. I had the thought this January 4th that my son would have been two months old, had he been born alive. My husband watched football yesterday, and he is a huge, huge fan. I custom made a newborn jersey with our son's name on it. I thought about that jersey, and how I anticipated dressing my son in it for the Super Bowl, and how excited my husband would have been. We were going to raise a little fan that was just like his daddy. It broke me. It really, really hurt to think about, and it's making me cry even typing it.

God, this just sucks. This sucks so badly. This is the worst, most awful thing that could ever happen. I am convinced of it. I am meeting a new MFM tomorrow in the morning and I am anticipating it beyond words. But even scheduling a doctor's appointment has me revisiting all of the trauma, the sadness, the horrible memories in the hospital giving birth to my stillborn son.

I know my therapist also warned me about this. That, as I am going along the grief journey, I am going to start feeling MUCH worse, because I am openly talking about my son's death with her and others, and acknowledging it, and how much of a stinking pile of shit it is. Sorry, I'm not being very eloquent right now, but that is really just the most blunt way of stating this situation. She told me I would feel worse, and have ups and downs, before feeling better in-between these ups and downs. And she was so, so right.

To make things worse, I accepted--without thinking it through--my husband's gift for my birthday. It is a trip to Mexico. My birthday is early February, the 8th, so we are going for a few days. Last year, I didn't go to Mexico and had my husband go instead with his friends, because I was pregnant. Because of Zika we obviously took precautions when he came back, and used protection the rest of my pregnancy, that ironically ended up in my son's death anyways. But this trip is also going to be awful for me, because I was hoping to TTC sooner rather than later. I wanted to start TTCing after my cycle in February, because last year in February is around the time I conceived my son. I wanted it to line up, so that for the first anniversary of my son's death, I may be close to having my rainbow baby, and I would have SOMETHING to look forward to to help me through all this grief. I know it won't really help me, and I have to just go through all of this angst and guilt and shame and irrational feelings, but I am going to feel devastated if my MFM suggests I wait an additional six months after my trip to conceive.

I can't wait that long. I am taking such good care of myself now, starting a healthy diet, exercising every day. I want to lose weight to conceive again, and it moves me forward. But if I have to postpone TTCing, it will devastate me. I am also going on a trip to Saginaw next week, to visit my brother in law. We will be staying at their new house and surrounded by his one and a half year old daughter, which doesn't bother me that much, because she was around way before I got pregnant. BUT, my husband's niece, who I am good friends with, was pregnant 4 months before me, and she has a beautiful baby girl now who is 6 months old. She is coming along with us and I will be around her ALL the time. I love her, she's my niece, but we both anticipated that she would be close with my son because they would have only been four months apart, and we would have done all of the fun mommy things together, raising them together, complaining about lack of sleep, etc. So, more heartbreak for me. More reminders. And my husband doesn't understand that, he doesn't want it to upset me, being around all these babies. But it does.

This was a long rant, but I just really needed to get all this off my chest to people who understand my pain. And God, the pain is really growing. It's less "raw," sure, but it's there. Because the shock is almost totally gone, and the pain is just so strong and consuming. I am trying my best not to sink into a depression, I am dedicating 100% of my efforts to that--I don't want the grief to overtake me. But it is so horrible, and painful, and awful, that sometimes I fear I will indeed become depressed.

I guess I just need some empathy, and some reassurance that things will get better. That this pain will ebb, if just slightly. Maybe seeing the new MFM tomorrow will help me feel better, that we might formulate some sort of action plan to help me in future pregnancies. But nothing can change this feeling. I am sinking back into irrational, stupid reasons that I may have lost him again. I started thinking of the flu shot as a reason again, which I didn't visit for an entire month. I revisited it, and had to tell myself that it wasn't logical, and many mothers have had the flu shot with successful pregnancies.

It's just also worse for me because this was my first pregnancy. It was my first pregnancy, and my first loss. So maybe I just can't have any living babies. The fear of that is also crushing. And then I convince myself it's not logical, because I did carry my baby boy to term, to a full 38 weeks. But then it consumes me again, that irrational fear, and I am stuck back in this grief circle.

I just need some reassurance. I can't find it anywhere else, besides my therapist. Everyone expects me to be "strong like I always am."

I don't want to be strong right now.
January 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNada
It will get better... The sun will shine again, for you!

Planning the rainbow pregnancy is very nice, but sometimes things wont follow exactly your plan -and I am not talking about "shit things"... A good way to balance your rollercoaster is to not get very excited about anything... if you dont go up too much, you wont fall so low!

Live day by day... Babies are a real menace, but you may behonest and just see if it really isthat bad. It may surprise that you find confort in holding your niece, or you maybe gripped by extreme grief. Just talk openly to your family and explain... Dont shutt them out. Tell them your feelings and they will give you the spaceyou need, To try it out...
Believe me, a six month old is not similar to a new born, and that is your real memory... It wont be the same! :)
Each day is different, so dont presume that because you are stressing about it, it will actually be that bad. And dont expect thateach day you will react equally!
Live each moment, each day... stupid silly memories and thoughs will surface when you least expect them, but youare strong, you will make it, and for sure, you will have your happy ending!
January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMarta

So much of what you write is so familiar to me. The shock wears off and you are left with a deep dark reality of being bereaved. At that same time people expect you to start acting normal again. It's just the worst. It really took me a year and a half to feel like I might survive this and see glimpses of my old self back. Socializing is still especially difficult for me , especially if there are people who don't know what happened and I have to do small talk or potentially be asked how many children I have.

As for TTC again, It has been it's own pain for me. I am older and the odds are against me. Every cycle of trying, hoping, and failing and then succeeding only to miscarry is its own grief. Yet continuing TTC does bring hope - hope of a living child. Hope is so wonderful to have amongst all the pain. I have found being honest with my spouse about how I am feeling and working with a therapist very helpful. My therapist has reminded him how the pain of baby loss is physical and chemical - which is why he just doesn't feel the same pain around babies.

I understand how you feel about being around a baby. I still struggle with that. My daughter would have been only 9 months apart from my youngest niece. I just knew they would have been partners in crime. So when I see her, it's a whirlwind of love and joy for her life but also deep loss and pain that my Heidi is gone. I think I have finally allowed myself to accept that it's normal and okay to feel Joy pain and envy all at once. It's okay not to be strong because faking it is too exhausting.

I wish you peace in wherever your journey takes you - Mexico or TTC. I am so sorry for your loss.
January 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKim
So sorry everything is shitty right now.
I am two and a half years out and I miss my son everyday. Like yours, ours was also a full term pregnancy that ended in tragic loss. I am not the same person. For me there is no being who I was so I am who I am now. And that's fine. I am not as happy go lucky, I am not as social as I was. I feel like pieces of my soul are missing but I carry on and have perhaps a deeper love for life than before because I carry this loss. I no longer have illusions that it can't happen to me, so I try to cherish "the now" even more and have a deeper empathy for everyone.
I also know how being around a baby can be difficult. My sister was pregnant at the same time as me. Her baby, my niece, was born two months after my son died and I still struggle with it. She lives some distance away so I only see her a couple of times a year but it's hard for me thinking how my boy would be just that age. So many reminders always not like one could ever or would want to forget.
Yeah and I remember a few people telling me how strong I am at the time of his death and it wasn't helpful. You don't have to be anything for anyone just let yourself feel.
Love to you.
So sorry.
January 17, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEm