Saturday, July 31, 2010

Alone

I think one of the hardest things about being a baby loss mama is the loneliness. The only people who understand how hard it is are fellow baby loss mamas. Men experience loss and grief so differently it is possible to spend many hours in the company of someone who was there every moment of your pregnancy and still feel alone when it ends. You carried the baby. You birthed the child and then she died. He stood by you, helpless, and desperate to save the baby, but his experiences are different. You both feel failure, but it’s so different for each of you it could almost be labeled something else. And this is where I admit that a baby dying is hell on a marriage. I don’t say much about my marriage here, because it is sacred and I feel protective of it. But I will confess that we have had more “I feel” discussions in the last eleven weeks than I thought we would in our entire life together. Sometimes it’s like a constant therapy session around here, but we are communicating and that is so important right now.

Still, though, I’m lonely. Yesterday I stopped at Burgerville on the way home from Dr. B’s office. I cannot drive by a Burgerville without purchasing food. It’s fast food, but it’s made with local ingredients. And it is so darn good. I was sitting at a table eating my lunch and I felt so lost I thought I was going to cry. I always have a book with me, but I forgot to put one in the car this morning so I felt a little naked. When I was pregnant with Charlotte I wouldn’t have minded sitting by myself, eating lunch, dreaming about my girl. Sitting there yesterday I felt my loss. I literally felt as if there was a giant hole in the middle of my chest where she should be. I carried her for 38 weeks and I fully expected to become a baby wearin’ mama and carry her for many weeks after she was born. So there I was, in the middle of a crowded restaurant, lip quivering, eating a cheeseburger, and trying to make it through lunch. This is what sucks about being a baby loss mama. Feeling so alone and so lost in the middle of a restaurant on a sunny day in July that I worry I may never be found again.

Sitting here, writing this, so many wonderful people come to mind. People who have found me, who are checking in and providing more love and care than I deserve, but which I certainly need.

There’s my fabulous new doctor. I see Dr. B and I feel proud, I feel like when she looks at me she really sees me. She sees the struggles, the effort to make good come out of this horrible situation, and the person I will be one year from now. She sees change ahead even though all I can see is grief and sadness and a long, long road.

There’s my midwives (any midwife who comes near me becomes mine). Before my appointment with Dr. B yesterday I was talking with one of my midwives online and she started the conversation off with “Hi mama,” and then proceeded to tell me she had a dream where I birthed a baby boy in my backyard and she was videotaping it. Hey, if that is what I need to do to have a healthy baby I will do it. A simple greeting and I felt so validated. Mama, that’s me, even though I am without my baby.

A couple days ago one of my other midwives asked if she could come see me next week. Then she asked if I was healing in my head and my heart. And I am so grateful that nearly 3 months after Charlotte died she still makes time to ask those questions and to visit me.

There’s the friend who can’t be here, but who communicates constantly with me via e-mail.

There’s the family members who don’t mind that I refuse to see them. They keep calling and sending e-mails even when I crawl into my grief bunker for weeks on end.

There is the sister who sends me text messages every day asking “How’s today?” I like that she doesn’t ask how I am, but how the day is. That is usually a question I can answer. And when I can’t she sends me a text message the next day, and the next, until I can.

There’s the husband who asks, “What do you need from me?” and who loves me even when I am not so kind or nice or beautiful.

There’s friends who sit with me, let me cry, let me laugh, let me hold their babies.

Then there’s the baby loss community. All of the sweet mamas who say, “I understand, I’m here, I’m listening.”

I’m alone, but not completely lost. There are people watching over me and, of course, when they get tired God is always there. I just wish there was more acknowledgement of the people who carry children in their hearts and minds, but not in their arms. We’re here, we want to talk about our babies, but we want to do so without scaring people. I want to be able to say “My baby died,” without feeling shame or worry. Sitting in that crowded restaurant yesterday afternoon I wanted to stand on my chair and yell, “My baby died. I miss her. I feel so alone.” And in a perfect world people would’ve dropped their lunches, walked over to me, pulled me off the chair, and hugged me.

10 comments:

  1. I know. I feel it too, every day. <3 You're never alone.

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  2. you are NOT lost. we all love you.

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  3. Jennifer Lenhart (Englet)July 31, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    I hug you in my heart every day, and I lift you up in prayer as often as you come to mind.

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  4. I understand the feelings you have, just as any BLM does. And we are always here for you. Sending you hugs!

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  5. Oh, this is so true. The loneliness can be overwhelming. If it wasn't for my fellow babyloss mamas I don't know what I would do.

    It has been trying on my marriage too. What I need to do to cope, he doesn't need. He has been very supportive of my need to be online for hours and hours, which meant that I wasn't spending much time with him. I've had to try to cut back on that a little because I don't want it to become a bigger issue. Also, he thought that he was losing me as well as Jacob since I either cried all the time and he was scared that he would never get the "old" me back, and because I spent so much time on the computer.

    Often when I am walking around at lunch, walking through a mall, even walking around a work, I feel like I might as well be the only person there. No one there knows, their lives are just going on as normal. It is so incredibly lonely. Sometimes I just want to tell a stranger that my baby died so that I won't be the only one in that location who knows that. All I want is for someone to hug me. They don't have to say anything, just hug me.

    That is touching that your midwife greeted you as "mama". I think I would burst into tears of gratitude if someone did that for me.

    I think about you everyday.

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  6. I love burgerville and I love you too. Wish I'd been sitting there with you.

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  7. I feel the same way, so alone. Last night I told my husband that it is pretty crazy how I feel closer to baby loss mamas that I barely know than I do to some of my best friends. We all understand and we are all here...(((HUGS)))

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  8. "Sitting in that crowded restaurant yesterday afternoon I wanted to stand on my chair and yell, “My baby died. I miss her. I feel so alone.” And in a perfect world people would’ve dropped their lunches, walked over to me, pulled me off the chair, and hugged me."

    Ooh, I have this urge every day. So perfectly said. I wish our community could all live in one place and we could all get together for support. Or at least daily/weekly hugs. Thinking of you.

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  9. Jennifer Lenhart (Englet)August 11, 2011 at 8:25 AM

    I hug you in my heart every day, and I lift you up in prayer as often as you come to mind.

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  10. I know. I feel it too, every day. <3 You're never alone.

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thank you!

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