Monday, June 6, 2011

Treading water

A lot of the time, I feel like I am treading water in the deep end of a pool. It is exhausting.

Everyday is a struggle in some way. Somedays, I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water and I constantly feel like I am danger of going under. I felt this way constantly in the early days after losing Jacob. Survival was a constant battle. I have minutes, hours and days when it still is. I've had moments of it today.

Sometimes I just want a break from the darkness and sadness that is always lurking. I just want a truly good day. I can't bring them back, no matter how much I grieve and how sad I am, so I tell myself that I should just be happy. Just recently, I have moments of feeling ready to rejoin the world, but when it comes to actually doing it, I can't. I don't know how.

The inner turmoil isn't always terrible and eating at me the way it used too. But at least once a day, and usually several times a day, I see something or think of something. I see a pregnant woman (in person, on TV or in a magazine) or a baby boy just about the age Jacob should be, I have a flashback or I think of the baby that should be kicking inside me right now.  I see a mother and her son and I watch them interact and wonder what it would have been like. It's times like those that I feel myself weaken. I feel my head going below the surface of the water and struggling for breath. Sometimes I fight to get my head above water, depending on where I am. But if I’m alone, I give up the fight and I sink deep into the abyss and let all of the pain rise to the surface. I scream silently and I hate the universe for letting my babies die, I feel anger that comes and goes quickly in waves and then the overwhelming sadness takes over and I don’t think that I will ever be able to take a breath of air again and feel content, much less happy.

I feel like my life revolves around the effort not to drown. The amount of effort fluctuates throughout the day, but everyday is an effort.

One thing that helped was that I knew I wasn't alone in the deep water, in the struggle. I know that I'm still not alone, but it is starting to feel that way more and more. I didn't and don't want other people to have a reason to be there, but they do and they are and there is alot of comfort from sharing your suffering with others.  Alot of the people who were with me have moved to the shallow end with occasional visits to the deep end. As they announce their pregnancies, have ultrasounds that reveal beautiful, moving babies, as they have new pregnancy symptoms, as they can rub their bellies and feel kicks and hear heartbeats and they start to feel the elusive happiness, it just makes me sadder that I'm not pregnant and having all of those experiences. I want to know that everything is OK in their world (and I can't tear myself away from reading about them....I am happy for them), that they won't need to come back to the deep water because of another loss, but it is painful to see their happiness and not have it myself. It is painful to see them all together, in the new club of babyloss pregnant women. I feel left behind. They have been through hell too, but they don't have to tread water as much as I do, or so it seems from my perspective. I know they have other battles because I have been pregnant after losing Jacob. I know what the fear feels like that something bad will happen again, and the effort not to make baby loss Mom's who aren't pregnant again feel bad. I know how torn they feel between being happy for the life growing within them and sad for the little one they lost. It isn't an easy road. I know they still make trips back to the deep end. I've felt those worries. But I know from experience that it is better to stay there.
Being in the deep end once was bad enough. Moving to the shallow end was a nice break. Being sent back to the deep end was terrible. I wonder how many times I will be sent back. Will I ever get pregnant again and move to the shallow water? Will I get to stay there? Will anyone still be there with me? Once they have their living babies, they leave the water. They are still within view, so I can see what that life would be like. Some come back from time to time, and some more than others.

I am happy for all of the baby loss Mom's who are currently pregnant and/or who have given birth. I just want to be one of them. Right after Jacob was born, I just felt sure that I would either have another baby by his first birthday or be in my third trimester. It could have been either, but I lost again and again. And now my cycle is weird again and hope is very low somedays.

13 comments:

Elaine said...

This reminds me so much of the poem "The Pit." You are right, it is different once you are pregnant and once again when you've brought the baby home. The grief for the lost one is still there but you change. Just as we changed to accomadate our grief, we change to accomadate our new love. I don't feel like I'll ever be out of the water but I feel like it's just at my ankles now. Most days at least.
I can't imagine how hard it was for you at times to hear about my pregnancy and can't thank you enough for still being there for me. <3

fireworksandrainbows said...

OH Dana,
Your post makes my heart break. Such sadness and pain. I wish I could take it all away from you. I wish I could make it all better.
Please don't give up. I am sending you a life preserver in the form of a prayer.

Julie said...

dana, i love this metaphor, and i am right there in the deep end with you. i, too, was so sure a year ago that by now i'd be pregnant with my rainbow. everyday there's a part of me that can't believe it didn't happen that way.

Emily said...

I felt I was doing pretty well in the shallow end, both prior to getting pregnant again and during my first trimester. Now, with everything that has happened I'm terrified I'm going to be chucked back in the deep end at any moment, without my floatation device. I might just drown if it happens again. Hell, I might just WANT to drown.

Glo said...

I am treading to 17 months later. I never imagined still treading this far past Gavin's birth. Still trying for my rainbow is proving to be the second most difficult journey of my life ((hugs))

Jennifer said...

This is what I've been feeling as well. It's like I'm just trying to stay afloat, no, not even afloat, just making sure that my nose is out of the water so I can breathe. I can stay alive. You described the feeling spot on, Dana. It's truly difficult to be looking at the mamas who are in the shallow end - those who have successfully crossed the threshold after baby loss - and not feel envious and in despair. I guess it's another aspect of the grief we carry. But we need to keep at it even if hope is just a sliver or a thin thread because what else can we do. I'm right there with you, and if you happen to get tired, stop treading and begin to sink, I'll pull you by the hair if I have to. If I begin to sink, you can pull my hair, too, although I've got shorter hair than you do. :) (((hugs)))

My New Normal said...

We all have to grieve at our own pace. It's natural to compare ourselves to others, but in this case I don't think it's a fair comparison.

I have found comfort in grief counseling, have you had any of that?

Rhiannon said...

Sending you love, Dana. As lucky as I feel to be pregnant again and in the shallow water, I am deathly afraid of having to be pulled back into the deep. I live in fear everyday and it is sucks especially as of late. Being so close to my milestones with Harper is proving harder than I had imagined. I just wish that life could be easy for all of us. Thank you for your continued support, even though I know it is hard for you sometimes. ((hugs))

Kristin said...

Dana, I am right there with you. Love you.

Becky said...

Thinking about you a lot Dana. I pray you will make it out of the deep water for good.

Melissa said...

I can relate to this post so much. I never imagined in a million years when we lost Mikayla that not even a year later we would lose another child as well. I do hold out hope that someday it will happen and we will get to bring a baby home, but right now I am swimming in the deep end with you and it is hard. You are not alone. I wish none of us were here, but it does help to know you are not the only one. I have days like this though where I feel like everyone is moving on to the next step of their lives, and here I am stuck in the throws of grief again.

Drew's Parents said...

I wish I could pull you into the more shallow waters, Dana. The metaphor you describe is incredibly powerful. I cried as I read and reread your post. I am so grateful to be on the shore, yet I hate that so many of the women I met on this journey are still in so much pain. It breaks my heart that you and others feel left behind...still suffering and struggling and feeling alone. The last year was an incredibly diffult journey, but I do admit that BB and my perception of her relationship with Drew helped ease the emptiness and desperation that come along with grief. I hope and pray that you and others are able to have your rainbows and that the shore will soon be in sight. May none of us ever have to stay or return to those dark and deep waters. I love you so much! <3 <3 <3

cullensblessings said...

Oh my gosh Dana.. I think you and I are in exactly the same place with this post. Exactly the same. You could have taken these words/thoughts right out of my head. We have both been pregnant 'after' and both lost so much hope with those pregnancies. It is so hard.. and I understand.. completely.