"Hi, I'm ms. g, and I have 2 dead babies."
It feels this way sometimes, like a 12 step meeting, and I have face facts that I, do in fact, have 2 dead babies. Because sometimes, I just honestly don't believe it. Sometimes, I can't believe that A made it. I want to ask her, what was her secret? How did she survive the disaster that is my body/womb?
Grief, the second time, can be so familiar on one hand, and yet, other times I am navigating in dark, new terrain.
You know that feeling that many of us have when our babies die? That we are the only ones this has ever happened to, that no one really understands us? I have that much worse now. So many people who had a loss around the same time as I lost M, have gone on to have the second after loss baby. And even those who haven't, still consider having another. I have not met very many people who are done through circumstances not their choosing. Then, there is A. I do have A, so I don't really fit in much with people who do not have their after loss baby yet. On top of that, when talking to people whose loss is new and they are trying again, I feel almost guilty telling my story. Hey! Here is something else to add to your worries, it CAN happen again, and you have living proof sitting right in front of you!!
As for the "regular" people, well, when I lost M, I thought they could make it difficult to grieve openly, because you know, they just didn't get it. Now, in hindsight, I think they were generous in their permission. Now, I get the, "Well, at least you have A", "Be thankful for A", "Just enjoy A", and my favorite, "Maybe god only meant for you to have A" (yes, this was actually said to me, although not by someone close to me, and I was able to roll my eyes and move on instead of falling apart) Sometimes, I find myself agreeing with them. When I forget to be kind to myself, I berate myself with negative messages about how I am not enjoying A enough, I am so busy being sad about what happened to me. When I remember kindness to myself, I can remind myself that I have the right to be sad, and that in fact, I can do both simultaneously, enjoy A and wish it were different.
It's hard to feel like I am back to being the neediest person I know. When you are going through loss, it can feel like you take, take and take some more from the people you are close to. You don't have much to give. That is okay, once. But, it can start to feel selfish when you are there again a mere 4 years after the first time.
Remembering two babies often feels too sad to me. When M died, I loved all the memorials to him. The pictures in my house, the jewelry, etc. Now, that stuff seems exhausting and too depressing to contemplate. I had a bracelet with M's name on it. Now I have an image of a woman with an armful of bracelets crawling up her arm. This feeling seems to be changing a bit with time. (don't they all change with time?) I have been considering getting a pencil portrait with my 2 boys together and putting that in house, and only that, as my one single remembrance of my lost family. Haven't really decided yet. I don't want to forget them, (is that even possible?) but the urge to focus exclusively on A is strong.
I'm navigating everyday the best I can.