Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The broken me inside

It has been such a hard couple of days.  I have been spiraling down into a depression and have not been  there for my baby as I should be.  I want things to be different.  I want so badly to be a good mother to this baby, but I feel like I am failing already.  My grief for Grace and the life I should have had with her, overwhelms everything.  My therapist says that I need to put my grief away and focus on Bear.  I need to visualize the wounded, broken me inside as a separate person and the capable, strong me as moving forward and caring for the broken me.  I am trying, but it is so hard.  The strong, capable me is tired of being present for so many people, my family, my clients, my co-workers, my pets... The broken me just wants to sleep and cry and wail for Grace and just stop the world from turning, she is sick and needs time to heal.  How can I give her the time that she needs and still be a good mother to my new baby?

I am so grateful for Bear, I am so glad  that she is here, but for the first time I wish that I could have not gotten pregnant again so quickly.  I wish that I could have dealt more with my grief so that I could be stronger and better for this baby.  At the time getting pregnant again seemed like the only thing that would stop the horrid emptiness from losing Grace.  I thought that I would get the joyous feeling of that first pregnancy back again, the wonder and amazement, but with a happy ending instead of my baby dying.  And for the first 7 months it was kind of like that, but with so much worry about her.  Now everything is just such a mess.  Of course I still love Bear, I want her to keep growing and be healthy, but I want to be happier about it.  I don't want this dark cloud of grief hanging over me.  I want the joy of Grace's pregnancy.  I want to live in a world where babies don't die in the third trimester.  I want the sick me to be healthy again.

I see the sick, broken me as the way I was when I was 18 or 19 years old.  I was struggling at the time, emotionally.  I had left college after the first semester, I was living at home again, in a relationship that needed to end and my dreams for the future were all on hold.  I weighed only 95 lbs, which at 5'8" is not a great look.  I had so much ahead of me, but it all seemed to be slipping away.  I see that thin, depressed, broken version of myself as the part that grieves Grace and the life we should have had.  She is taking over everything and I need her to let the rest of me care for and love Bear with the same whole, open heart I had for Grace.

Why was this so much easier last week?  Will it be better next week?  Can I be the mother that Bear deserves?


  1. Of course I don't have any answers, but I want to share a few things from my perspective. The weeks of this pregnancy immediately surrounding the time where Anja died were the absolute worst. My anxiety was through the roof; I was angry and tired and withdrawn and sometimes downright mean. I am still anxious. I am still angry, sometimes. I am still unbelievably tired. But, I am also feeling more happiness than I have at any other point in the pregnancy. More fear, too, if I'm totally honest, but definitely more pure happiness than I have at any other time since Anja died. I hope that when you get another week or two or three further along, some of these feelings you're going through will lighten. I really do believe that our bodies remember and our hearts do, too. For me, it was awful awful awful to realize that this growing boy had lived longer than his sister. I didn't want him to get bigger, stronger, to be here when she was dead - as much as I also wanted him to get bigger, stronger, to be here.

    And as for being a good mom to Bear - as mothers we are constantly beating ourselves up about this, about whether we are doing it right, doing it the best we can, and we are almost always also falling short of what we expect of ourselves. When Anja died I was a horrible awful terrible mother to my sweet little E. I can barely let myself think back to the first six weeks after A died and how I was as a mother. But I was doing the very best I could at the time and things are so much better now and though I don't know if those weeks will leave any lasting scars on my oldest daughter, I have to just keep going with all the love I have for her and believe that we are doing our best, that this is part of our story - grief and death - and that we have to do the best we can with it. I don't know if it will be helpful in any way for you to read this about E, but I just feel like I want to reassure you that you are a good mother, that you will be the mother your children need and want, and that these times of doubt and worry are part of being a good mother - and I DON"T want this to sound like how it sounds when non-loss people tell us, oh, don't worry all mothers worry about whether they are doing a good job; we who are parenting through deep grief experience these doubts differently, so differently.

    And without wanting to be disrespectful to your therapist, I'm not sure putting your grief away so you can focus on Bear. I don't think grief can be put away and I think when we try to do that it impacts all the other parts of our lives - I think dealing with the grief, letting it sit with you and acknowledging it and working through it - is the best way to parent both your girls, Grace and Bear.

    I hope none of this comes across as preachy...I am just as confused as you are! But I hear so much pain in this post and I want to reach out and hug you and let you know: you are not alone. You are not a bad mother.

  2. I think everything you are feeling is 'normal' for a rainbow pregnancy. You just have to get through it, one day at a time, and you don't have to do it perfectly. Once we got past our point of loss (33 weeks) I was even more of a basket case, because I felt like I had put in all the work of being pregnant again and that I might not have a baby after all. I don't think people understand that even at the hospital in labor, I wasn't convinced I'd have a living baby. I wish it were easier. I will say that slowly, after Livia was born healthy, I started to sort through the trauma of everything and now at 8 months after I am feeling pretty 'normal' and confident in my mothering. So, it takes a LONG time but it seems like for most people it does get better once all the hormones settle down. Thinking of you during these last long months/weeks of pregnancy. Do whatever you have to do. HUGS