Monday, November 22, 2010

Anyone Got Cotton Wool? Can You Wrap Me In It?

I am spent. I am emotionally overwhelmed. I know many of my posts have been rather intense lately and I am very very aware that I probably sound indulgent/dramatic/attention hogging.

I assure you that I don’t want any attention. Seriously. I want to go to ground, hibernate from the world and wake up when this nightmare of being a babylost mama is over. Except that it is never over. I want my "normal" life life where my most intense emotion is shittiness at Kelvin for not emptying out his pockets before the laundry load. The intensity of the emotions I feel these days are so overwhelming at times that I sometimes wish I was an inanimate object so I can’t feel anything. Then again, I feel so incredibly lucky that I got chosen to experience these emotions, as they can be so rich. Sybella has enriched my life in so many ways. I have changed as a person. Some changes are good...and some are bad.

Lots of people don’t understand these changes. Or they wonder why I am "behaving" this way, when it was a "whole 7 months ago that the baby died. Geez." Or even worse, not the baby..."the foetus."

The thing is, I am weary. Tired. Battle bruised. Grief doesn’t get easier as time goes on for me. It gets heavier. Foggier. Plus I am walking around with the physical burden of another 26 weeks worth of pregnancy right now and all the fear, trepidation and anxiety that goes with that. I think I just want to be understood. But I get that it is hard for an "outsider." I can’t expect it all the time. However, when confronted and challenged, which I have had an alarming number of these types of interactions this week, I feel like screaming "just be nice to me! I am in pain! My baby is dead. Just be nice to me! Please!" I want the special treatment. Not the attention. Just the understanding. I realise though, that in this world, where everyone (myself included) is so wrapped up in their own bubble of problems that it is hard to give anyone else a break. Angela writes at Little Bird about her daughter Charlotte who died just after Sybella. This particular paragraph leapt out at me and Angela has given me permission to reprint it:

Grief is selfish. I am selfish. I want everyone to bend themselves around my life and my grief. I want the apology without asking for it. I want to vent anger without repercussions. I want to speak her name without carving a swath of awkwardness around me. I want to feel less isolated. I want to remain motionless so that she can always find me if she wants to stop by and say hello. I want her to know I am always here, and I will always love her, even if I am the only one who remembers her short life.

The bold, large text was done by me. That is how I feel. I have so much to say at the moment and have a massive problem with things that are unfair or that demonstrate injustice. Lately I have been speaking out, when normally I'd do the polite, correct thing and nod my head "mmm, I see your point. Thanks for that insight." Then I'd go home and try to reconcile a point of view that wasn’t necessarily mine. Because that’s what reasonable people do.
I’m not reasonable anymore. Now I buck up without thinking, and say whatever my thoughts are. Sometimes the consequences of this are disastrous. Sometimes they are liberating. Sometimes it sends me into a panic. I was a mess last night in particular, after being told to “mind my own bloody business” by a person who I don’t even know, in response to me teasing my best friend on Facebook...teasing in a light-hearted, tongue in cheek way that best friends do. My friend knew I was joking. However, this random stranger didn’t. At being berated by her, I fell apart. “Don’t you know I have a dead baby?!” I wanted to shout. “Leave me alone!”

I am not walking around picking fights, I assure you. The problem lies in my new reactions. In the past I kept my head down, acted intelligently, tried to see other perspectives, keep a cool head. I’m so tired of doing that. I am capable of having an intelligent conversation about something that I don’t necessarily agree with, sure. I’m not saying I jump down the throats of people who don’t vote what I vote, who don’t immunise, don’t breastfeed, or whatever else. What I do now, is defend myself when I feel challenged or confronted. I would never stifle anyone’s opinion, belief or value or tell them they are wrong if they don’t prescribe to what I believe. That’s just arrogant. But if I feel unfairly maligned, I will let it be known. It’s just that I’m not always good at it. There is a trite quote from Marilyn Monroe going around at the moment. It seems to be on everyone’s Facebook page. It says:

"I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."

Okay. I used to read this as “I give myself permission to behave however I want and I don’t apologise for it. But I’m so awesome that all that crap is worth it when I do decide to behave myself.”

But not anymore.

Now I get it.

If you can bear with me while I work through the death of my baby...if you can give me a free pass at this time in my life...if you can understand that I'm not myself, and may say or do things that you dont like...
...the day will come when I can give it back to you. Ten-fold.


  1. **Hugs Steph** constantly thinking of you, and although I may not understand what you are going through, and have gone through, I would never judge you or think differently of you for having a bad day, or even for just wanting someone to listen or to understand.. xoxo
    Love Nikki

  2. My son entered the world 14 years ago, a small fragile being with no movement or breath. It doesn't mater how many years pass, I still have days where it's hard to cope, to be 'normal' to know that he is lost to me, and I will never have him in my arms. He is always in my heart, never to be forgotten. Take each day as one more day, do whatever you feel necessary to cope with how you feel, it is better not to keep it in, that is the road I traveled, and i don't recommend it. Those who judge are not worth your time, those who love are the ones that matter.
    It does get better, one day you will get less angry, less hurt its just time. take all the time you need


  3. You have hit the nail on the head for me again. I know you've just read my Angus' birth story, so I know you know I can relate to all your feelings around the pregnancy.
    What also stood out for me here was wanting to feel like an inanimate object so you don't feel any pain. I totally get that.
    And people not being nice to you, even complete strangers who don't know your story. I sometimes speak to some sort of rude telemarketer person on the phone, or get a rude check out lady at the supermarket, and I just want to scream at them - be nice to me, my baby died! And I don't just mean that I felt that way back in the early stages of my grief, I still feel that way now. As hard as her death has made me, I still feel like I bruise like a peach as well. I'm so uber sensitive to everything.
    Great post. You had me nodding at the end of each line.

  4. Oh dear sweet Steph. You are awesome. I am in awe of you. People are just idiots. They say stupid things and they don't even realize it.

    I read a quote once that seems to fit the tone right now:

    'Grief is not an enemy, it is a friend. It is a natural process of walking through the hurt and growing because of the walk. Stand up tall to yourself and your friends and say, 'Don't take my grief away from me, I deserve it and I'm going to have it.'

    The book was "Don't Take My Grief Away" by Doug Manning

    I think about you all the time...

  5. Big hugs to you Steph. Screw 'em all. I say you should start yelling the things that are going through your head. Maybe throw in some random expletives. You might become known as "that crazy lady who yells at strangers". But at least you could say whatever you want whenever you want. Then you'll really see who can handle you :)

  6. Ron and I are with you all the way Steph.