Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Concept of "Time"

Today is one month since my childhood friend lost her beautiful baby girl unexpectedly to stillbirth.  We've reconnected a bit since her loss, and I asked her today if time seems to be flying by or standing still.  It got me thinking about the early days of my own loss.  How one month out was like nothing at all when it came to some semblance of discovering a "new normal".  How one month out, I didn't realize it at the time, but I was still very much in shock.  How I thought I had been through the anger phase.  I was sad, wasn't I?  So the anger phase must be over with!  I had screamed, wailed, thrown things, sure.  But it wasn't until three months out, for me, that the real anger hit.  The anger so fierce and so all-encompassing that it scared me.  I scared myself.  I wasn't really sure what I was even capable of doing in response to the anger.  But it wasn't directed at anyone in particular, which made it better, which made it worse, because I knew that going after someone wouldn't fix anything, so I wasn't really about to go do something stupid, but I also knew that throwing my rage in one particular direction wouldn't help me feel better, so I was just stuck.  And it became clear that those grief stages truly don't go in order or end up being "finished" one stage at a time in a neat succinct fashion.
Do any of you remember what one month out felt like?
Do you remember how time seemed like such a mysterious and inconceivable conceopt?
Was time flying by, or standing still?  For me, it did both, and I remember that being such an odd sensation – marking the days, then weeks, then months as they passed.  It felt like time was flying by – like it was just yesterday that I held my son, while at the same time it felt like everything was slow motion, and I wanted time to zip by because, as they say, “time heals” (ha!).  I wanted time to speed up so that I could get to that place that other loss moms told me about, that place where your baby isn’t the first thing you think about when you wake up.  That place where you can go until dinner time, and then stand at the stove making macaroni and cheese and suddenly think to yourself, "Oh yeah…My baby died" and feel the sad hit you like a ton of bricks all over again.  Which is true progress after going months and months with that ton of bricks hitting you on your first breath upon awakening to your living nightmare.  (I remember a post about this at Glow but can’t remember who wrote it or what it was titled, sadly.)  At the same time, I wanted time to slow down, because the further away I got from the date of my loss, the further I felt from my son. 
But then I knew. 
I knew that holding him, he had already gone away. 
I knew that was his shell. 
That time was just a concept, that it wasn't something that could truly separate me from my precious son.  That the love would stay forever.  That he would always be with me.  That he transcended time and space and was infinite, on his own journey.  That I could remember him through symbolism that spoke to me.  Through butterflies, sparrows in flight, the moon, and the stars.  My forever baby.  My son.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Superficiality = Trigger!

Anyone else feel their grief, particularly the ANGER stage, triggered by the superficiality of others?  This continues to be a problem for me.  Bit by bit I am trying to cut people out of my life who say stupid sh*t, but it's just everywhere, is it not?

Over the past year, I've heard several women complain (or post on their FB) about the most superficial aspects of their deliveries of LIVE BABIES.  I just want to scream, "You have NO F*CKING IDEA!  Try having your baby DIE!  THEN you won't give a sh*t that your makeup didn't look good during your delivery photos!"

I mean seriously.  These are people who know me, know my son died, and haven't ignored that fact.  And yet this simple realization is lost on them: That all that really matters is that your baby is alive and healthy.

Today, another such trigger.  A woman pinning newborn photography and commenting about how this time, all that she hopes for is a "normal hour" birth for her next baby, as her last baby was born in the wee hours of the morning.

Because she wants the pictures to come out with everyone looking bright eyed and bushy tailed, apparently.

Try having pictures of your baby dead, I want to say.  I'd give anything for one picture of my son alive, regardless of what time it was or what I looked like at the time, I want to say. 

But I don't.  Because then I'll just be "that crazy lady who can't deal".  And this is someone who really should know better.  She really should.  So saying something won't make any difference.  She obviously feels she is too good to have tragedy strike.  She is way too above simply hoping her baby is born healthy and alive.  She takes those things for granted, and simply ALL she hopes for is a good birth hour so the pictures turn out well.

It makes me want to scream and tear my hair out.

And this really isn't about her, or about anyone else in particular.  Because she, and the aforementioned woman, they simply represent the vast majority of society.  A society of seemingly blissfully naiive pregnant women who post photographs of jars of Prego spaghetti sauce to announce their pregnancies as soon as they pee on a stick.  A society that obsesses over nursery themes and picking the perfect shade of paint, a society that pays name consultants to select the perfect name for the baby, a society that spends countless hours researching and registering for products (most which are completely unnecessary) and throwing lavish parties weeks, even months, before the baby even arrives, not knowing what that outcome will be.

So why wouldn't they say superficial things?  They're a product of their society, right?  And society largely ignores the very real fact that babies die - that miscarriages AND stillbirths are more common than most people realize.  That all of this hoopla is simply setting women up to feel like freaks of nature and failures if the worst case scenario happens to them. 

I guess it's silly for me to think that maybe what happened to my son was something memorable to them, something unforgettable, something that would shake them to their very core and make them treat their own pregnancies with more caution and humility.

Maybe I am just in a place where I need to stay away from Facebook and Pinterest altogether.