May 20, 2013 § Leave a comment
I hate the jealousy.
It hits me hard. When I’m around some pregnant women.
I just… feel filled with… envious, writhing, jealous energy.
And it makes me angry.
And all the feelings of inadequacy, failure, incapability and powerlessness flood my mind, and my heart becomes cold and stoney.
I’ve learned how to forgive myself, and breath through moments of momentary head fuckery, but it leaves a mark on my day, on my week, on my headspace.
Too many eggs are in the baby basket, I think sometimes.
I wish and dream about having a successful pregnancy; some days I’m filled with hope, others I just want to give up hoping. That commitment to the unknown is so much easier for me to consider in work, and philosophise about with artists and friends.
I guess it’s just a matter of fake smiling through these moments. Fake smiling, breathing, hoping and trying to trust the unknown.
December 22, 2012 § Leave a comment
In two weeks, it will be six months since losing our baby. Rèmy’s plot at Manukau Memorial Gardens is now almost completely surrounded. I feel the loss of all the new babies in the children’s cemetery. Every visit yields a new experience of grief.
Today I was overcome with emotion. I really cried today. I saw so many tiny babies at the Otara market. I felt too much… desire, jealousy, anger, frustration. A familiar darkness crept over me and I drove to the cemetery in tears.
Whilst understanding the vulnerability triggers, grieving plus Christmas is a new experience. Rèmy was due on December 6. We would have been having our first Christmas together.
So many thoughts today started with, “I just wish…”
I just wish you were here, baby. I’m lost when I’m consumed with your memory.
I had bought lots of delicious fresh fruit and vegetables at the market before I got sad this morning. I came home after being at the cemetery and forced myself to be busy. I made fruit juice, a big yummy salad, macaroni cheese, garlic bread. My partner came home from work and we had a beautiful dinner. He settled my anxiety.
To love and be loved is so soothing for a fragile heart.
September 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
It’s almost three months since we buried Rèmy. The artificial flowers from his funeral were starting to deteriorate, so we removed the bulk of them on the weekend. We got a sculpture from The Warehouse of two Kea birds. We couldn’t agree on pots and flowers, and little shrubby things, so we got a weird garden sculpture. I quite like it now. We thought of it as representative of mummy and daddy, watching over our baby boy.
There have been some pretty big changes in my life in the past two weeks, namely my living situation has changed… for the better, and I finally have a dedicated space to work in. It’s awesome… I’m overwhelmed how great it is. When I was setting up my home office, I wanted something on the wall to remind me of Rèmy – not of his funeral, or his life before his death, but something else.
The hospital gives you this card after your baby dies, created by a great organisation called Sands Manukau – Baby Loss Support which has the date and time of your baby’s death, his weight and length and his little hand prints and foot prints. It’s such a sweet gesture, and we value it so much. I put the card on the wall of my new office, above my whiteboard. It feels so good to have it out and visible. I used to keep it in my diary. It did make me cry to put it up… a lot. But it’s just one of those things. I just miss him… I can’t help that. I feel like those tears christened my office and I love this space.
I went to an event last night where I knew I would bump into people who wouldn’t know what to say to me, knowing I lost my baby. There was awkwardness all round. I know it’s hard for people; they don’t want to not mention it, because they don’t want to appear uncaring, but then they know if they do mention it, perhaps it’ll open up a can of emotional worms… and take the conversation into even MORE awkward territory. So, some people didn’t mention it, but gave me knowing gestures (tilts of the head, warm and meaningful rubs on the back, sad eyes) and some did, and I delivered my well worn lines of, “I lost the baby in July… yeah, it’s OK… I’m OK.”
There’s nothing to say. Losing a baby is horrific. I don’t wish it on anyone. As time moves forward, you just get used to living with it.
August 27, 2012 § Leave a comment
Baby… you’re everywhere.
I miss you. I really do. Time moves forward but my heart is scarred.
I think about you when I look in the mirror, when I wake up in the middle of the night. I cry when I drive past the cemetery – I can’t help it. I think about you when I look at Taka; we think of you when we hold each other. I think of you when I have good days, and when I have bad days – you are everywhere.
I’ve finally felt physically fit enough to get back into exercise. I started kickboxing training. I think about the anger of losing you when I smash the Thai pads. I think about you giving me strength when I’m in the burning last seconds of a 1-minute plank. Your name sticks out of my hand wraps and I channel everything you were and continue to be every time I clench my fist. You give me strength.
I started swimming again and when I’m in the water, I’m in heaven. I missed swimming when I was pregnant with you – doctors had given me mixed opinions on swimming in the first trimester, so I had opted not to swim. I’m pushing myself every time – more laps, more intensity. I’m getting stronger.
The other day I bumped into my mate at the pools. I hadn’t seen her since the funeral. We hung out in the deep end, catching up. Her sweet six year old son took the opportunity to ask me, “Aunty… your baby died, aye?”, I paused but responded “Yeah, he did…” He continued, “how come your baby died?” and I said, “I don’t know… no one knows, sometimes babies die… it’s sad.” He agreed, then continued splashing around. I couldn’t wait to put my head under the water after that confronting, honest interaction. I love the way children ask questions. But it just reminded me, baby – you’re everywhere.
August 20, 2012 § Leave a comment
I got our baby’s name tattooed on my right hand – an indelible mark and a reminder that he changed my life and I will never be the same. I love seeing his name, and saying his name… remembering him, and remembering the struggle and all the love that enables me to be OK.
I’ve been to the cemetery twice since I got the tattoo. I like going there. It’s peaceful and settling. But always sad. The tears come from nowhere as I walk up the pathway towards his grave. My abdomen convulses in quiet ripples and my eyes start to sting in a mess of watery mascara and smudged eyeliner. I’m usually filled with filmic replays in my mind of the birth, the first sight of his little body, seeing my partner’s heart break before my eyes as we saw he was a boy. I remember the moments I spent sitting in my car with him in his casket, before the funeral service began. I remember the pain of his loss gushing out of me like a tsunami. Then I remember the peace… my partner and our bond. The life we have built with the pieces that were blown apart after our loss. And I think about the future. I’ve enjoyed the process of understanding death, and feel so comfortable at the cemetery now – it feels so human to experience loss and to mourn.
I went to the cemetery yesterday, by myself. I wanted to gather strength for an important presentation I had to give, and I knew being there would give me perspective and strength. I crumbled again – in tears. I spoke to Rèmy, in whispers. I sat for the first time on the concrete next to his grave and I recounted the things that had happened since my last visit. I thought I would feel more mad, but it felt right.
At the event I was presenting at, my delivery went better than I had expected – I found a new confidence in my voice and I enjoyed it. I went outside afterwards and met a woman who had enjoyed my speech. I had seen her and her children sitting in the audience wearing memorial t-shirts for a young man. I said that I felt comforted seeing them, because I had just come from the cemetery as I visit my baby on Sundays. She told me she lost her son, only last month. The family were on their way to the cemetery after the talk. We hugged and connected, in grief and confidence – to move forward, to keep building, to support and sustain those around us and the effort to take one day at a time. I was so moved.
I had my follow-up appointment with a gynecologist today to discuss the test results from the placenta and blood tests. As suspected, there was a bit of infection and blood clotting. I have more tests to do to find out more about the clotting, but the doctor seemed to encourage us to try again, in good time. Getting pregnant again scares me so much – being pregnant again scares me. Enduring another tragedy scares me. Being aware of what could happen every second of every day for nine months will be exhausting. Trying to be positive that whole time, will be hard. Really hard. Trying again, fear and intimacy are all things that we’re juggling as time moves forward.
I guess it’s just one day at a time…
August 5, 2012 § Leave a comment
The fucked up thing about coming from a culture with a high birth rate is that every second day, babies are posted on your Facebook timeline. Every second day, I read the most loved up, joyous expressions of how life will never be the same, how much everyone loves this new baby, how he/she has a name so important, so loaded with love and history, responsibility and connection.
My partner keeps trying to tell me to just be happy for the friends and family who are blessed with new babies and successful pregnancies. Clearly, so much easier said than done. I tell him that its hard to put someone else’s happiness ahead of my sadness and that I can’t help how I feel. It’s not the pictures, the pictures are undeniably delicious, it’s the written expression that hurts the most. Because I know that what we went through was the exact polar opposite of that joy.
It has been a month since we buried our son. I’m getting a tattoo next week with his name. I feel bad sometimes when I catch myself remembering what we went through, losing Rèmy and then I realise that I’ve moved on, time has moved forward. I haven’t forgotten him, but you just build on the grief and life goes on. I haven’t had a tattoo in the past year because I’ve been pregnant for over six months of that time. I felt the other day that the time was right to get a new one.
July 14, 2012 § Leave a comment
Seeing a friend’s pictures of her beautiful new born baby on Instagram was a trigger.
That sadness which is negative and inconsolable washed over me like a king tide.
Like a bad score, moments like this bring down the average and saying “I’m OK, I’m doing well” becomes only a partially true statement.
This was mostly a good week. As my health started to improve, my head started to come together. The reality of having no job was a chilling reminder that life must go on.
I’m just identifying the triggers…
#np These Arms of Mine ~ Otis Redding