I have finally stopped bleeding. It’s been six weeks since the last round started. I have mixed feelings about it. There’s relief but also a sadness, knowing that every time I bleed from now on, it will be a reminder that I am not pregnant and will never be pregnant again.
Steve and I decided that if Benjamin didn’t live, we couldn’t go through another pregnancy. We’ve got the getting pregnant down, it’s the staying pregnant that we don’t seem to do well – that I don’t seem to do well. I am like my maternal grandmother, though she did manage to have two live babies. She also lost three – one early, one at 8 months, one 24 hours after birth. I’d been having thoughts about changing my mind, about being unwilling to commit to the finality of “never again”. I’ve been grieving for Benjamin and also for any others I might have had, had things (i.e. my uterus) been different. Through the grief, a little flickering flame of “maybe” lit in my heart.
Last night I began to read other blogs by mamas who have lost babies and my heart broke again and again. Each of us has our own journey, our own gifts, our own lessons, yet the pain is so familiar and I realized that no, I can’t go through it again. I don’t want to risk another baby’s death. I don’t want to risk my life. I will talk with the doctor when I see him in two weeks but it seems clear that I need to continue to grieve all of these losses. Benjamin, my two miscarriages (funny how I’ve dismissed them in all this, but that’s a topic for another day), and the children my future self might have had.
I can see why some people try again quickly after a second or third trimester loss. I ache so badly for a child to hold, for my daughter to be a big sister, for a way to ease this sense of everything being upside down. Part of me wants to start looking into adoption possibilities. Not to take action – I know I’m not ready for that – simply to see what’s out there. I recognize it as a distraction, a form of denial, a way for me to avoid what’s right in front of me. My fear about Ada is a similar distraction, a more powerful one.
I sat with the woman who ran my pregnancy group last night. We have the same Master’s degree in Psychology. She teaches Birthing from Within classes among many other things. I asked her to help me process some of what’s been coming up for me. She agreed. Not only was it a huge relief to sit with someone who could hold space for the hugeness of my feelings, she was able to help me see my fear with new eyes.
She asked me what my fear would say if she were sitting next to me on the couch. It took me a moment, but I finally heard my fear’s voice. She told me she would sit with me as long as I needed her, and that the more I allowed myself to grieve, the smaller she would get. She told me it was okay to need her for a while – it was normal, human. She told me I was strong enough to handle anything life put in my path.
My head still gets in the way. Fear is tricky and there’s a monster on my left shoulder that says nasty things. Scary things. But when I look at that monster closely I realize she’s just a scared little girl who’s in a lot of pain. She’s a piece of me. The piece that doesn’t believe I deserve to be happy, healthy, abundant, joyful, at peace.
So I put my little girl next to my mama’s fear and I thanked them. I know they’re just trying to keep me safe but I think I can take it from here. With a whole lot of love and compassion, and support from my family and friends, I think I can take it from here.