For those of you currently writhing in pain, desperately questioning if it will ever stop, the answer is YES. It took seven hard months of misery - and a LOT of shadow work (i.e. self reflection), therapy, and medication - for me to be able to say this. While I still cry for her loss, and that pit in my stomach, and at the base of my throat, is often still there, the pain has dulled, and it is now manageable. For those that need to hear this, PLEASE keep pushing! Just put one foot in front of the other, day in and day out. Don't focus on how well you step, just keep stepping in whichever way you can, and you WILL float above water soon. I promise.
So, how did I get here? Well, it wasn't pretty. I spent the better of 6-months basically unable to get out of bed. I plunged so deeply into depression that I stopped taking care of myself, and I flipped my life upside down. Whyyyy did I do this!?? I asked myself (amongst a host of other questions), and the answer is that I no longer felt safe in my own body, and therefore I felt safe nowhere. I became completely ungrounded, and, as a result, I tried to escape. I quit my job, left my husband, tried to move (this didn't pan out), stopped eating, and so-on. I even stopped showering, and despised going to the bathroom, because I was forced to see, and feel, my C-Section scar. I absolutely could not bear the reality of it's existence. Of course, we all know that running simply ungrounds us further, but its difficult to see this fact when stuck in the trenches.
COVID made it so that I didn't have the family/friend support that I needed, and I spent too much time alone (even though, in the thick of it, I preferred to alienate myself). My mother-in-law wasn't even allowed to come to the hospital to meet her grandchild, as was the case with the rest of the family, so they subconsciously equate our loss to a common miscarriage. This sentiment was often demonstrated in the language they used. For example, one family member said, in an attempt to ease my suffering, "Premature births ARE very common though, you know". My reply was sharp, "This WASN'T a premature birth. This was a fucking death sentence. She was perfectly happy in my body (this wasn't true in reality). We delivered her, because I was dying, NOT her. We delivered her early KNOWING that her chance of survival was low. This was murder. She suffered in pain, fighting for her life for 5 straight days! Abortion would have been kinder". Through my tears, and harsh words, this family member gracefully said, "From my understanding, had she not been delivered, you would have died, and, by default, so would have she". She is right. This did not make me feel any better, of course, because I was faced with the reality that the only reason why we may have died is because my body could not sustain our daughter. ADDITIONALLY, there was evidence that the doctors may have mishandled her care, ultimately leading to her death.
My medical records read, Pre-Eclampsia with severe features. The most popular theory surrounding the cause of Pre-Eclampsia and HELLP syndrome, is that they are a type of pregnancy autoimmune disease; my body began to attack it's placenta...or the baby, if I'm going to be truthful about it. Really, the specifics don't matter though, because the hard truth is that my body saw some aspect of our child as a threat to it's wellbeing. There was likely something genetically wrong with our daughter, or the foreign concoction of antigens/DNA was too much for my body to handle, OR my mental health was in shambles at this time, which may have caused too much stress on the body to sustain pregnancy (these are my three current theories for what happened), so it sounded the "ABORT" signal, and began attempting to slowly starve her out (via the extreme hypertension). The really sad part though, is that she was very strong, and she did not starve to death. Instead, she kept on kicking (so much so that we adoringly called her "Kicky McGee") until my liver failed me. If there ever were a question, it is clear by this fact that she was, indeed, my daughter.
My takeaway from all this was that life is cruel and unsafe, and I didn't want to be a part of it anymore, so I retreated. I forced my husband to leave me, stripped my life down to its bare minimums, and then I was forced to put myself back together, or die alone. I really was doing so badly that these were my only options at the time. For the sake of honestly, I must admit that I did contemplate suicide, BUT I did not choose it. Instead, I chose to throw a bunch of dinner chairs in a pile, until it was high enough for me to climb out of my cave. Quite literally actually, I had to get my dinners in order; I had to develop a routine out of the chaos. I made a time for showers, meals, exercise, and meditation, and I increased the number of plants I had in my house exponentially (it's basically a jungle in here now), because gardening was the one and only thing that I could feel really grounded doing, for obvious reasons.
I can't say that this is what pulled me out of my depression, however. On the contrary, developing these patterns was essential - I knew I had to do this - but it felt IMPOSSIBLE most days, to do anything really. So, I sought my psychiatrist for an antidepressant. I now take Abilify, and I can breathe again. Going on medication was probably the best favor I ever did myself. In addition, I did a ridiculous amount of self-work. I tracked my "demons" like prey, and did whatever I could to slaughter them. This required a level of honesty with myself that I didn't realize was possible, but it was oh' so worth it, because I am a completely different person now. This experience thrust me into a spiritual awakening of sorts, and while I do regret what had to take place to get here, I will not squander it.
Also, I flew to CO and visited my husband, at his new apartment (which is a little weird). He wants to stay married, and we have decided to work it out. We'll be moving in together by spring, if all goes well. I've begun applying to jobs, and I also got second piercings on my ears, and am going to treat myself to diamond earrings (my first ones!)! AND we've begun talking about trying for another baby once we're situated.
This may all sound so petty and trivial, but it's all self-care, even the ugly stuff. Grief is not a linear process, and it certainly isn't neat. We do what we have to, and what we want, when we need to. That is all.
God bless you. Your strength to pull through such an impossible time is admirable. I just spilled a an entire bag of breast milk. From what I hear spilled milk goes to the babies in heaven. I hope it went to your angel.
March of Dimes fights for the health of all moms and babies. We're advocating for policies to protect them. We're working to radically improve the health care they receive. We're pioneering research to find solutions. We're empowering families with the knowledge and tools to have healthier pregnancies. By uniting communities, we're building a brighter future for us all.
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