Sunday, March 14, 2010

Moving on...

I'm pretty tough. I can't leap tall buildings, but I totally rocked the natural childbirth thing and I can "mind over matter" my way out of even the burliest of wet paper bags. Knowing how tough I am capable of being makes admitting I'm having a truly difficult time even more challenging.

Having a miscarriage is rough. There are no obvious wounds the world can see. No scars. No empathetic glances and words of encouragement from strangers as they hold doors open to make your passage through the world a little easier. Nope. You open your own doors and try not to burst into tears every time you see a pregnant woman. Or a tiny baby. Or a couple gushing over their ultrasound pictures while they wait for the elevator. To get through it, I stay home. When I do go out, I move quickly. I fight back tears like a samurai and I do what I can to don a happy face.

I'm not happy, though. I'm so sad. It all seems like so long ago and I tell myself I should be over it by now, but it's only been about two weeks since the nurse called to tell me I was officially no longer pregnant. Half of me leapt off the couch to do a little dance while the other half crumbled as I realized we had reached the end. I am so thankful to have come through it all in one piece, but that does nothing to negate any of the grief I feel.

Part of the problem is the hormones. I was pregnant. I was just pregnant enough that my boobs were on their way to meet Pamela Anderson. My desire for braised cabbage was insatiable. My pants were becoming increasingly uncomfortable. As with childbirth, pregnancy hormones don't just vanish the moment your uterus is empty. It takes time to get those hormones out and the risk of postpartum depression is extremely high after any kind of pregnancy loss. Getting back on the proverbial pony is a daunting task, since doing so means it's really over. The babies are really gone.

The second part of the problem is the loss. I lost two babies. In the last three years, I've lost four. The one I didn't lose--the Biggest Girl--shines like a miracle every single day. Life, I am reminded, is a gift. She's not even two years old yet, but we've spent nearly every moment of her life together and she knows something's not right. She clings to me and she whimpers when she catches me crying. She pats me on the back when she hugs me and her compassion keeps me from going to pieces. I am astounded by her ability to unwittingly distract me from my grief to remind me that life is still happening, in spite of my loss.

I guess the point is that this is not easy. I do my best to remain positive, but even my best positive is kind of a downer these days. I don't expect to just bounce back like nothing happened, because something definitely happened. It was a soul-crushing, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking experience that left me feeling hollow and exhausted. In the quiet moments of my days (read: nap time), I let go into the sorrow and I feel as much as I can before I have to return to the noisy chaos of reality. I am more thankful than ever for the opportunity to be the Biggest Girl's mommy and Mr. Mallard's wife. What I lost will stay with me forever. What I have will do its very best to inspire me, even on the darkest of days.

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