I smiled today. And probably laughed too. It made me realize that I’ve written a lot here of the pain and sadness of miscarriage, but perhaps not enough about what happens as we’ve move through the grief (notice I didn’t say past, as I’m not sure we’ll ever truly be past it).
Each loss brought on its own bout of sadness and emotion. And as one loss became two became three, these bouts became deeper, longer, harsher. By the time we got to four, it was the sheer magnitude of losing our baby at 16 weeks 6 days, combined without the pent up emotion and shock of having been down this road three times before, that put this loss into a category of its own. Those first days, weeks, months, it was hard to imagine that we’d ever laugh again. Ever make a joke. Or even crack a smile. It reminds me — on a much different level, mind you — of Carrie in the Sex and the City movie. “Will I ever laugh again?” she asks Miranda. “Yes, when something is really funny,” she replied. And while it didn’t take someone pooping their pants to cause that first smile, it did happen.
I don’t remember exactly when, or what it was. But what I do remember is feeling guilty. How dare I smile or laugh, or *gasp* have a good time when my baby died? How could I be so inconsiderate to her life, or lack of life? What would others think about me being happy again? During those early days, that feeling would make me feel even worse (didn’t know THAT was possible) and I’d spiral back down to a bad place. In my mind, by enjoying myself and getting back to life, albeit a changed life, I wasn’t properly honoring their memory. And so I was a bad person. A very bad person. Which equaled a bad mom. And when I felt like I really didn’t even have the chance to truly be a mom,* feeling like a bad one, is not a good thing.
But the thing is, it kept happening. I’d find myself smiling. And then I’d laugh again, or do something I enjoyed doing. And then we’d do a little more. I guess at some point it dawned on me that just because I’m moving forward, it didn’t mean that I was moving on (I guarantee you that Double A and my therapist had a little something to do with that realization). Our babies’ memories will be with us always. No matter where we go or what we do. Sure, there will always be a little sting for all that we missed out on with each of them, but they will always be a part of us. A part of our family.
We realized that laughing, smiling and enjoying life again was actually a way to honor the babies. It’s also a way of helping others, to show that we survived the devastation and pain, and we’re still here. Life does, in fact, go on. Smiles do happen. And it isn’t only when something really funny happens (although it doesn’t hurt).