Wednesday, November 24, 2010

ACCEPTANCE

There has been something weighing heavily on my mind that I haven't shared on this blog. Mostly because I don't think what I'm about to say is easily accepted in the baby loss community.

It seems to me that the social norm of deadbabyland is that we forever grieve out babies. We are expected to never "get over" our child's death. We are told over and over again that we will never get over it, and that's normal, and that's OK.

So where does that leave the mothers, who like myself, have "gotten over it"?

Where does that leave the moms who have found a way to move on, who've accepted it, and who are actually happy with their lives now.

I feel like there isn't a place for them in the baby loss community. I don't feel at home here anymore.

When my daughter was stillborn I was racked with grief. I've never felt anything so painful in my entire life. Every day was a struggle. Every. Day. I truly don't know what I would have done without the Baby Center mom's and without the other people from these blogs. I really do mean that. I say it again and again: blogging is what helped me heal.

But now, I feel like I don't belong here anymore. Because I no longer grieve for my daughter.

The definition of grieve is to feel great grief or sorrow, or to distress mentally. My daughter's stillbirth no longer causes me to feel either of those things.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not happy about it. But I've accepted it, and I have (gasp) moved on.

Her stillbirth is no longer a stabbing pain in my heart. It is, in fact, something that I have learned to embrace.

I have a very large scar from her birth, spanning from my pubic bone to my breast bone. I would not give that scar up for anything. Everyday I look at it in my mirror with love. It reminds me of my daughter. I wear it like a badge. I'm actually proud of it.

Her birth is sort of like that scar. It changed me. I am not the same person I was before she was born. I am glad she existed. I'd go through it all again if it meant I got to be her mom. My life has changed in many ways since I gave birth to her. There are many people in my life that I did not know before her, and who I would not know if she had lived. I now know who I can count on, and who I can't. My relationship with my husband has changed immensely since her stillbirth. I believe our realtionship would be very different if she were alive. I wish it didn't take losing a child for us to grow this close; but it did, and I accept that.

Even though she is not alive, she is still part of my life. Her picture is on my wall, her name is tattooed on my foot. I think of her everyday. But I am OK with her not being here.

I know that is going to be tough for some people to swallow. In the movies mother's are always depicted as going crazy when they lose a child. We are lead to believe that dead babies equal crazy mommies. But that isn't always true. Sure, in the beginning I felt like I was never going to be happy again. I couldn't figure out why this happened to my family. What did we do to deserve it?

I should have been asking myself what I did to deserve to be her mom. What was so great about me that I would be blessed with her? Why was I chosen to have this precious person all to myself. No one got to know her like I did. No one else in this entire world got to feel her kicks. No one else got to experience every second of her short time on this earth- except for me. Why look at that like it's a horrible thing? Why can't I look at it like it's a wonderful thing? She had a short life, but it was fantastic. She never knew pain, or heartbreak, or disappointment. All she ever knew was me, and my love for her. When I used to think about her stillbirth, I would feel pain for me not her. I thought about her in a very abstract way. "I want my baby" But truthfully, it could have been any baby and I would have been happy (or at least thought I was happy). It was all about me, and not about her.

The truth is I'm happy with my life. Even without her in it. I know that is going to rub some people the wrong way, but that is the truth. I like where I'm at and I would not change it.

Her life, and death, forever changed the course of my life. I am a better person than I was before she was conceived. I'm much more compassionate than I used to be. I never let an opportunity pass to tell my family I love them. I'm more health-conscious. I'm thankful. These are all things that I contribute to her.

I will always be thankful for my daughter's life. But in a way, I'm thankful for her stillbirth, too.

And I believe that's OK.

18 comments:

JenJen said...

In many ways, I feel the same way. I can go days with peace but there are still days where I think about what ifs...I truly believe that we'll all do that though. I think some of us can go longer without the all consuming grief but I don't think (for me at least) that I will ever be 100% okay with her not being here. I've learned to deal with it with grace but I'll never be okay with it...so, I envy you that you're where you are!

I also think about all the wonderful women that I wouldn't know if she had lived...I love so many of them like sisters and I am so grateful for their friendship...

Breanna said...

You are an amazing woman and mother. I am glad you are doing better and I think about you and brenna daily. *I still haven't changed my debit card, it still reads Brenna instead of Breanna*

Reese said...

I think it's great that you have found peace with all that you have gone through. And I think a lot of the people you read probably have too---the grief is not as daunting, but rather people who have been on this journey a while tend to make more observations of what life is without their child.

There is a big assumption that we should wear our grief like chains around our neck, like Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol. But I think the truth is that the chains all but disappear as life moves on. Some women still carry them in earnest. Some women have them hidden and they occasionally come out, and some choose to put them away for good.

Jayme said...

I think I feel that way too- I am at a place in my life where it doesn't revolve around dead babies and sadness. I am happy and at peace with the way things worked out. I am thankful for the lessons my babies taught me.

crystal theresa said...

i think that what you've described is a beautiful place to have reached. the fact that you love her scar, understand that she is a blessing, and have integrated her into your life, gives hope, i believe, that bereaved parents can eventually find happiness again - without forgetting or leaving their children behind. you show that "moving on" is not the same as "moving without" - which is an important distinction.

as a fellow BLM, i think you still belong here, even if you are not in the throes of grieving. i don't know if i'll ever be able to say i'm thankful for my son's stillbirth, but i do acknowledge the blessings that came after losing him.

((hugs))

Melissa said...

Thanks for your honesty. Although I cannot necessarily relate to those same exact feelings, I do think that the thing I've accepted about grief is that we all have our own way to grieve our children. And it's all ok, maybe some grief differently, or stop grieving earlier than others in your case, but that is still ok. I'm glad you feel open to sharing this, I think that shows that you still do have a place here and though it might not look the same as mine or someone else's it might serve a purpose still.

Mom to 2 boys +? said...

Very well said Holli. Acceptance is the perfect word. I feel the same way. I still get caught off guard sometimes with weird little reminders but my life has moved forward. It has to and I think it's awesome that you feel the release from your grief!
Kara

Suzy said...

I could have written this myself. And there definitely IS a place for you (and I) within the community.

I have been in the very same place for a long time now. I remember right after my son's stillbirth, thinking 'how will we EVER get over this? How will we EVER move on?' But in truth, we accepted it and moved on. Thinking of him no longer causes me to break down in sobs, no longer fills my heart with grief.

It doesn't mean I love him any less, it just means I have come to accept his death as a part of my life.

Our Journey said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog.
I see a lot of myself in your post. I don't know that I can say that I have moved on yet, but I have moved forward. Yes, I still think about my daughter and still think about what could have been. But your right, I am not grieving her the way I used to. I used to go to a support group and I just don't feel the need to go anymore. My daughter will never be forgotten, but I am grateful to not be living everyday in grief.

krizza said...

I know how you feel..it's really a heart breaking experience to lose someone that you really loved so much...it's difficult to go on at first, but I'm sure everything will fall into place soon.
God Bless!

krizza from Philippines
http://krizza-lifestipsandtricks.blogspot.com

Wendy said...

This is one of the most beautiful, healing blog posts I have ever read. (And I read a lot... I'm a spiritual counselor and wellness coach).

Life only revolved around what you make it revolve around.

You could be a beacon of light to many... I would surely like to hear more about your path to healing.

Much Love.

Kristy said...

I think you'll find that you're not on your own on this one. Where you are at IS okay... it's a place we never think we'll reach, never think we'll see a day without tears and ache and grief...

and then without realising it... we're sort of 'there'... I think I watched from 'there' as you kind of headed in that direction. I hoped it would happen for you because the 'in the heartache' moment is just so darn hard.

You're 'there', that 'further down the road in your life journey' and 'there' is allowed to be different for everyone. My 'there' is similar to yours in some ways, and different. It has to be.

Much love

Mel said...

I am so pleased to have found this. I get a bit stuck over all the terms. When I first lost Finley I was adamant that I would not ever move on - because I thought that meant leaving him behind. I had a few weeks of raw pain , physical pain, heart pain, emotional pain, mental anguish but then I started working through some things. I quickly found a sense of peace - which I later decided was acceptance. I knew he was dead, I knew what dead meant, I had had experiences which meant that I developed a new belief about life death and soul. I was at peace with what had happened. Slowly that at peace feeling turned into more. I am now actually grateful to him. I am grateful for the experience of his loss, and the way it happened and the days we spent with him after his death. They have shaped my life. I am not the same person. But then actually am I ever the same person today that I was yesterday, the smallest thing if we notice it changes us. I now know my purpose in life, I know why I am here and what the next part of my life is to be. Without the experience of Finley I couldn't do that.

I don't think my grief is over, or perhaps the grief that fits your decription is over. I still miss my son - is that grief ? I don't know because now more often than not I miss my son with a smile on my face... Because all that grief and pain is not actually real if you follow it to its core - It is just LOVE

Paxarila in Flight said...

I don't have any kids, so I can't say that I know how it feels to lose a child, but my mom did. In my opinion she never got over it, she just learned how to live with a hole in her heart.

All the moms that have lost a child, deserve all of my respect and admiration for they are strong as steel.

Anonymous said...

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*Lucy* said...

Thank you for writting this because this is how I feel most days when trying to reply to threads on loss boards and most times feeling as though I cant answer those threads frankly or that I cant reply with such things as, you will smile again some day' incase others view me as 'strange' or patronising. I believe that yes their loss is terrible and sad and will live with us forever but we have to do them proud by moving forward and making something of our lives. The grief will always be there, but it doesnt need to be at the forefront of our lives forever.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for summing it up so well. I think I’ll be returning here often. Best Regards.

Tanya said...

Here from Creme. When I was at university a girlfriend and I came up with this game to find the gold in every situation no matter how bad. I forget entirely about that game as my life moved on but it took IF to make me look for the gold. As hard as it is to swallow I believe everything is a blessing, you just don't it yet. Although the last 3 1/2 years of struggling through IF and depression have eaten up large parts of my soul they have also given me gifts I would never have other wise received. Your viewing the death of your beautiful baby girl in this way is so humbling and inspiring.

Cheers
Tanya