Several nights ago I was sitting in the dark of Braden’s room; he was cradled in my arms, breathing quietly. As we slowly swayed back and forth in the rocking chair together, lullabyes playing peacefully on the CD player, my mind jumped back and forth. It climbed mountains torturously, then lept off of the summits and plummited into the valleys below. My face was slack, but my thoughts rumbled and tumbled below the surface while I felt the warm, soft life in my embrace cuddle deeper into sleep.
Suddenly, I burst out crying. Crying for the tiny life that I wasn’t able to hold onto in this way. I sobbed – quietly, so as not to disturb Braden – for a few long moments. Then I placed him in his crib and left the room. As suddenly as it had come upon me, the weeping was gone.
It’s been like that for weeks now. Since the miscarriage.
The extreme dichotomy of my feelings and thoughts lately has been a confusion at times, to me. At others, it has made no less than perfect sense. See what I mean?
I was pregnant one day. Then, suddenly, I wasn’t.
Riding the rollercoasters at this Carnival From Hell that no woman wants to go to, but that is packed full of people, nonetheless, has been strange.
Some days, hearing about how many others have gone through this, multiple times, even, is a great comfort. I am actually incredibly buoyed by the scores of other women who feel somewhat betrayed by their bodies, or maybe even by God. By women who have experienced this same thing and are floating alongside me in this sea of uncertainty.
It means that I am not really standing out in the middle of a barren wasteland, alone, while a relentless wind tears and rips at my exposure ravaged limbs, muffling my cries and carrying them silently away into the vast nothingness surrounding me, where they will mean nothing and no one will ever respond to them.
Instead, at every bend, there are arms ready to pull me close, hugging me and imparting comfort and understanding; a place to cry and grieve and heal.
But on those other days, the “bad” ones, if this has happened to you? I want to pretend like you don’t exist. I don’t want to hear about what you’ve gone through. I especially don’t want to know that it has happened to you 2, 4, or 7 times. I don’t want to think about how sad it is that this happens all the time, multiple times to some women. And I really don’t want to think about how this could so easily happen to me again.
Then, the very next day, I probably want to run to you and make you hold me again.
(Please, if you shared these things with me, don’t be offended, and please don’t stop sharing. Please. This is the nature of the beast – while I sometimes want to pretend you don’t exist – I still find I need you! Just read the first part I wrote about it up there^! I just have a need to be really honest with myself and others about the dichotomy of my feelings right now, and this is part of it. If you have been through this, you will likely understand.)
The split, this back and forth, doesn’t end there, though. Ohhh, no. There is so much more.
Some days, I look forward to trying to have another child at some point. I think about a sibling for my son, a tiny baby to love and coo over, another dimension to our family. I think about the joy of being pregnant, meeting a new life, and discovering how another personality will fit into our home.
Other days, I am terrified at ever being pregnant again. I shrink away from thoughts of what it will be like to have another positive pregnancy test. Instead of bursting at the seams with Joy and Bliss like I did the past two times, I imagine that I will feel incredibly Anxious and Fearful.
I mourn the death of the joy that should accompany that positive test, and I imagine the fear and sorrow that will replace it – as well as the paranoia. I imagine it, and I feel a great sense of avoidance.
I picture a future pregnant me waiting to see blood every.time.I.urinate. And I can’t imagine being able to shoulder the endless stress that will inevitably invoke.
Some days, I feel strong and whole. Some days I actually feel more alive than before. I feel more passionate about living and doing and being. I feel more grateful and in awe of the life that courses through my veins, and that resonates through the bodies of my son and my husband.
Other days, I feel more vulnerable and fragile than ever. I feel more fearful and worried about the delicate nature of life – not just early life, either – any life. I feel guarded and over-protective about my son on those days. I feel anxious and worried about my husband. I feel scared. Terrified, even.
Some days, I take comfort in knowing that my baby is in Heaven. God wanted one of ours next to Him. I feel the complete peace that is, as a lovely friend of mine so eloquently said, knowing my baby will live for eternity never having to experience sadness.
But most days, I just want my baby back. And I feel selfish. (But it doesn’t stop me from wanting that.)
In fact, some days I want my baby back so bad that it really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other that I can probably have another child eventually. Hearing that does not really comfort, on those days. Because I don’t want another one. As John can tell you, because I’ve said it to him multiple times already, I just want back the baby I already had. I was feeling this so strongly one night that I just cried into my pillow, feeling guilty and selfish and immature. And whenever someone has said that to me… that I can have more… I have secretly been angry. Because you would never say that to me if Braden died. And this baby was no less my child than is he!
Then I read that I’m not the only one who feels this very way.
And it must have been a good day, because I felt a bit vindicated, and took comfort in that.
Proof that I need to hear all these things that you all have to say.
I’ve never wanted to get off a Carnival Ride so badly. I’m just ready to fall asleep in the car on the way home, you know?
And more than anything, I hate knowing that while I’m riding, the damn contraption is going to keep stopping over and over again to let, no, force new passengers on.
All I can hope for is that I’ll have something to say that will comfort them.
On the not so bad days, of course.