We had dinner with friends last night. We were due four days apart and had lived and breathed our pregnancies with each other. They have a beautiful little girl, who will forever be a reminder of my little boy. I know they feel our loss probably a lot more than our other friends, because of our journey together. My girlfriend said to me that she thought that our children would have been as close as brother and sister. She changed mothers groups because she said that it would have been the one we would have gone to together and it didn't feel right - so is attending another group.
She asked me whether I am grieving differently now, compared to the early days. What was it like and what is it like now....What it was like....it was like running towards the outside - seeing where you want to go and then...smack-bang. You have hit the glass door you just didn't see. You can see through to the other side, where you want to be, but are stunned, shocked and numb, coupled with the fact you just slammed into something you didn't see. What is it like now...In many aspects, it is worse because no matter what, you cannot change your circumstances. It is permanent and it is real and it is going to last my lifetime. Every night, I replay the whole event in my head. It is all I have. Naive, heading into hospital excited that the next day I would have that little person inside me cradled safely in my arms...the bliss of that first skin to skin contact I had faithfully been promised by the midwife running the parenting classes we attended. Blind trust that everything is right and how that came tumbling down. The panic, the drama and the distress. Those precious 25 hours. That is all I have to remember, so I remember every single detail - the horrible; the real; the amazing; the beauty and the sadness. Every damn bit of it. Top of mind, all day, every day.
These last few weeks have seen a transition in me. I have started back at work (part-time & as my boss has maintained, in my own time). I have gone back not because I had to financially, but because, one, my husband has gone back and had to deal with his grief and function, so why shouldn't I, and two, because it was becoming destructive for me to be at home, being a miserable wreck. I would sit at home and fret. If even one thing was out of place, I started to get anxious to the point where I was becoming a little obsessive compulsive. I was already a neat freak, but was going into meltdown at the first sight of disorder. I was getting grouchy at my husband and moody around those who were taking time out to be with me, keep me occupied and distracted. Not that going to work makes me feel better. In fact, each morning when I wake up, I feel as though I have been rudely slapped in the face with a big dose of "f@#k you, your life sucks and it's time for you to face the day without your baby, yet again"
I work for a large organisation and I dread the day that I run into someone that hasn't heard what has happened and I have to explain. I have to brace myself each time I head into a cross-division meeting for exactly that reason. Most people I work with closely came to the service we had for Tristan, but there are a few others that see me for the first few times and freeze. I can see their minds ticking, wanting to say something, but they don't. I used to be the type of person that would try and put people at ease, if I could see their discomfort, but now, I really don't give a shit. Why do people care more about how they feel & employ avoidance tactics? Do they know that they really can't make me feel any worse?
I have also started to focus on me a little. This week, I joined the gym and have hired a trainer. I hired a trainer mostly because I have lost that determination and am happy to be lazy. I don't look too bad physically, but I have looked & felt a lot better than I do. I have come to expect that I may fail, because my life has failed, but I don't want to be like that and I just can't do it by myself. Loss has made me doubt myself, made me cowardly and timid.
I am meeting another mother this Friday who lost her baby to Vasa Praevia a couple of years ago. She has recently had a baby and I in some ways I want to learn how you can overcome a loss like ours to have another child without climbing the walls in terror, because I desperately want to ensure that when that time comes, I will be able to handle myself.