Thursday, May 1, 2014

What grief looks like

One of the ladies on my Loss support board on The Bump posted a link to this blog post yesterday. The blogger made some excellent points about grief which I am now going to borrow and not pass off as my own:

What I thought grief looked like:

What grief really looks like:

My, that is spot-on. I think I've been giving myself a bit of a hard time lately for not being as "OK" as I'd like to be or as I think I should be or as I think other people think I should be...

But you know what? Grieving is hard.  Sometimes it feels impossibly hard. I've never done it before and there's no rulebook.  To be quite honest, it's sometimes even confusing for me because I'm almost grieving something intangible.  Yes, I carried my sweet baby within me for 5 months but I never held him/her, I never felt the tiny feet or placed my finger in Petey's palm or saw my nose and Hubs' chin reflected in this little being. We don't have any pictures or mementos or any real memories with our child, all we have are the memories of the dreams we had for the future.  There was no name given... I don't even know if Petey was a boy or a girl. Sometimes I really regret all of that. Every bit of it. Sometimes I feel selfish for choosing not to do any of those things - for choosing the "easy" way out and going through a D&E instead of giving birth.  Other times I'm relieved we made the choices we did because we are still here, Hubs and I, and we need to find a way to move forward and to heal. Maybe these choices allow us to do that more "easily". (Quotations because NOTHING about this is easy.)
When you are stuck between a rock and a hard place and are living a nightmare that you cannot believe is your reality, you do what you can do. I forgive myself for that. I forgive myself for making impossibly hard decisions that really can't be right or wrong. I was forced to decide and I did. I can't beat myself up now that it is over. 
But it's still so fucking hard.
I went to a used bookstore yesterday and the owner was super chatty. He noticed my wedding ring and then asked if I had kids and wanted to see the children's books. I wonder if the immediate brick in my stomach made me outwardly react or if it just felt that way?  I swallowed and just said "no".  That brick did not go away though.  I felt guilty just saying no like Petey never even existed.  I wanted to tell him that I did have a child but he died. And I'm grieving. And I miss him. And I ache every second of every day. But do I really even have the right to say it out loud? 
International Bereaved Mothers Day is coming up this Sunday, 5/4.  Am I a "bereaved mother"? I never gave birth. I never held my baby. One day I entered the hospital pregnant and left not pregnant and it was over.  I don't have the right to equate myself with grieving mothers who really are mothers: Those who kissed scraped knees and wiped chocolate-covered mouths and gave kisses and knew what their children looked like! That is not me. All I know is that I loved our little Petey Nugget and I grieve both the physical loss and the loss of what the future should have held for him and for us. I feel alone in my grief.

So yes, grieving is HARD. It is not the nice smooth upward path that I, and likely everyone who knows me, would like it to be. There will probably always be totally shit days but eventually they will start to thin out and eventually I will work my way back into the "OK" range. In the meantime, I will try to be easier on myself and realize that just because one day or one hour or one conversation with a bookstore owner feels like a step backwards, I am still moving in the right direction. Just very very slowly.

Thank you to bethanysk55 at Losing Lucy and Finding Hope for putting this in perspective for me and drawing these graphics.


  1. ((hugs)). Very slowly is okay, as long as you are moving. I feel like I am constantly taking steps backwards and I have to remind myself that well.. at least I'm still allowing myself to move and breathe. Thank you for posting this. It made me feel not so alone in my journey.

    1. ((HUGS)) I hope you really do have a good time on your vacation. I hope you can make it into the "happy range" while you're there :-)

  2. So many hugs for you, Chickin. I think you're doing a pretty amazing job for being put in such an impossible situation. Grief is a process, and it's ok to take a step back, or to pause, or to sit down for a minute if you have to. I know you'll get back up again, and if you ever feel like you can't, just reach out and you'll find a hand waiting to help you to your feet again. You are not alone.

    And I'm not a mom so I don't know if I have any right to an opinion here, but you ARE a mother. You are a mother who has suffered a horrible and unfair loss. You longed for, and worked hard to become a mom, you celebrated the life of Petey, you nurtured and cared for him/her, you were connected, you carried him/her - you ARE a mother, and it breaks my heart that you didn't get a chance to kiss Petey's scraped knees, but that does not make you any less of a loving and caring mother during the time you did get to spend together. I love you, and I'm keeping you, S, and Petey in my prayers and in my heart. Love you <3

    1. Very very well said J. <3 Big hugs and love being sent both of your way.

  3. Oh chicken. I am still just so so sorry you have to go through this. I wish I could have a magic eraser that would just erase all of this pain. Everyone experiences grief differently and I think you need to do whatever it is you need to do for you.

    I agree with Jaytee that you are a mother. You suffered a loss as strong as any other mother who has lost a child. I still think of you and little Petey every day and am sending you lots of love. Petey is loved and will not be forgotten. <3

  4. Hugs <3 You don't need me to tell you this, but I don't think there is a right way to go through this. It doesn't matter what other people think or did - please don't feel pressured to do things a certain way or on a certain time frame. And like the others said, not only are you a mother but you are one of the strongest, most amazing mothers that I know.

  5. ((Hugs)) Chickin. I am so sorry you have to go through any of this. And to answer your question, yes you are a Mother, and an amazing one at that. Being a mother is thinking of your child and putting his/her needs above all else, which is exactly what you did. Love you <3

  6. I love you, Chickin. I'm so sorry for all of it.... None of this is fair.