I’ve already talked about all of the feelings of guilt and questions that arise during and after loss. There’s more to it though. There are all of the thoughts, feelings and questions that pop in your mind that you’re “not supposed to think, not supposed to say.” The ones that most people won’t talk about or admit to. These are not thoughts I’m necessarily proud of (not that there’s much control), but in the interest of using Will CarryOn as a truthful and honest forum and resource for others, I think it is important to share even “those” kind of thoughts.
There’s a certain amount (read: quite a bit) of shame involved in loss. Again, I know that I didn’t do anything, but the mere fact stands that 5 pregnancies and 7 babies later, we have no children in our home. Something my body is doing—or isn’t doing—is factoring in here, regardless of what the doctors say and the testing shows. And yet, we keep trying. Determination, or cruelty to ourselves and our babies?
I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve apologized to our babies for not being able to take them to term, for not being able to give them the life we had imagined…even though it is out of my control. I cradled baby #4, and then our twins last week, sobbing as I told them over, and over again, I’m sorry. I’m just so sorry. Truth is, I was trying to tell that to myself and Double A too.
There’s the unwarranted shame or embarrassment of people—even our closest family and friends—finding out that this happened to us…again. I’m not quite sure how to explain this one, as I know that everyone’s hearts are broken alongside ours. Yet at the same time, it is hard for me to not think that people either feel sorry for and pity us, and/or look at us and think, when are they going to stop trying? When are they going to learn? I remember after our fourth loss asking my mom to tell my grandma that it was nothing I did wrong. Not that I thought she’d think it was my fault, but because she was constantly telling me to be careful. I needed her to know that I was. I realize many of these thoughts are irrational, but they are there nonetheless.
There’s the bargaining that Double A and I did: If you save our baby, I promise I will… Or I won’t… Or I’ll give up… And the trade-offs: Take me. Take an old person who has had the opportunity to enjoy a full life. Take a sick person. Take a bad person. And then the worst, take someone else’s baby, not ours. No one deserves to lose their child, yet in the moment, it doesn’t matter who, just as long as it isn’t our baby, our babies. Not now. Not again.
There’s the anger. (And yes, I realize I’m going basically outlining the DABDA stages of grief here). Double A talked about his anger toward God or whatever higher power is supposedly out there, and it is one we both share. I remember going through each painful contraction and crying and yelling out, Oh God!, but then realizing that I couldn’t say that since I didn’t believe. That if there was a God, I wouldn’t be going through to this. How could this being, who is supposed to watch over us, allow this to happen to us time and time again? How could our relatives who have passed on, and are supposed to be watching over us, allow this to happen to us time and time again? How could my body fail me and do this to us? Why can’t the doctors do anything to stop the contractions? To save our babies? How come modern medicine doesn’t have the answers? The list goes on and on.
Some days I feel sorry for Double A, thinking if he had married someone else, perhaps he’d have his kids at home with him by now. That he wouldn’t have had to experience this much heartache. I shared this “shouldn’t be said out loud” thought with him, as he’s shared his own versions with me. He reassured me that he while he didn’t want the heartache, he wouldn’t trade me for anything. Of course I knew this, but sometimes my mind plays tricks on me, and I just want to protect the person that means the most to me.
I’m sure I’ve had other “unspeakable” thoughts. And I’m sure more are to come. And I pretty sure I’m not alone (please feel free to share). I’m grateful that all of these things I’m not supposed to think or say, I can share with Double A (and to this community). And I’m grateful that he can, and does, say his back to me. Going through this is hard enough, but it would be added pressure to feel like I needed to censor my thoughts from the person I’m closest to for the sake of being P.C.