When I was pregnant with Isaac it made sense to write. It was like I couldn’t do anything else. I had to write to get out my feelings so I could survive. While I have distinct memories of feeling sick to my stomach after I posted an extremely personal post–worried at the reactions I would get–for the most part, I also didn’t care. I wrote for me.
I remember thinking durning that time that when I was pregnant again I would write all the time talking about what I was feeling and experiencing with going through a pregnancy after loss.
Then life happened and well everything normal in my world suddenly went abnormal. I’d never felt more alone and helpless–well–ever. I also had never felt more judged.With Isaac, most everyone was supportive and loving–but when my grief and pain started to go on too long, suddenly my openness and candidness felt like open wounds not healed enough to be given to people to have opinions about. I fought spiritual battles, physical battles, emotional battles and mental battles. I felt attacked and weak on every level, with little to no allies or resources. I wasn’t strong enough to fight for friendships as well.
So when I got pregnant, I wasn’t sure how to talk about this news. What would people think? What were people going to say? I wasn’t even sure how I felt about it, let alone be ready to hear how everyone else felt about it. I’ve written probably 2-3 blog posts about this pregnancy, but I haven’t felt comfortable or ready to share them. It’s like people can understand the grief of losing a child, but can’t wrap their head around the years that happen afterwards–let alone the anxiety that comes with a pregnancy after loss.
More and more I have realized at how lonely the road of grief is. Perhaps not lonely at first, but because it is such a long journey, most people aren’t capable of the endurance needed to continue on.
I’m not bitter towards anyone–I would be lying if I said I haven’t been deeply hurt at times, but I can understand why this is a journey I take alone–sometimes with my husband–but mostly by myself as he must walk his own grief stricken path.
But what I have come to understand more than anything else is that the openness I once used to share so freely is now filtered. I second guess almost everything I say and do. I worry constantly about how my actions are being taken and feel I have to justify almost everything. Some may just chalk that up to my increased anxiety–and perhaps that’s true, but for me I know that it’s more than that.
This brings me, through a very short story version of the last few years, to my present day and present pregnancy. Doctors that don’t seem to understand when I question them when they tell me “everything looks great” or tell me that pains or struggles are “normal pregnancy symptoms”. The hardest part about going through something traumatic is dealing with the aftershocks and triggers that follow.
Being pregnant is the biggest trigger.
Ultrasounds, Dr. appointments, Iv’s, ER visits, baby kicks, blood tests, pregnancy clothes, baby clothes, baby department, other babies, and back pain.
I recently posted on my Facebook about back pain I was having and if it was normal. It wasn’t a symptom I remembered when carrying Audrey—but yet, I can hardly remember anything from the pregnancy except that I was so sick I could hardly function. Every memory I have of being pregnant with Audrey was overwritten by my pregnancy with Isaac.
The last time I remembered having back pain that felt similar to this pain was when I went into pre-term labor at 23 weeks and was carried off in ambulance. Only to wait for hours before being told I had kidney stones, but then finally being told in broken English “You will have this baby tonight”. Miraculously–and by an act of God, I did not lose Isaac that night and went on to carry him another 10 weeks. You can read all about that night here.
As I read though the very thoughtful responses to my Facebook post, I realized that maybe one or two people understand why the back pain was so concerning to me. It dawned on me that I had not really asked the questions I was really wondering at all.
Is the back pain I’m experiencing early labor? Am I losing my baby? Am I crazy? When I realized that I was 22 weeks–almost the exact same gestation as I was with Isaac, I nearly lost it.
When I asked if the back pain was normal, what I was really looking for was reassurance that this baby didn’t have something wrong with her and that the intense pain in my back wouldn’t turn into contractions and that I wasn’t going to end up in the ER. Going to the ER is not a comfort to me, it’s a trigger.
Triggers are terrible things. I guess in someways it’s our body’s way of protecting us. Desperate to not have to go through that hurt again, so when a trigger hits–we run and duct for cover no matter how crazy we look and seem to others.
While I might have been able to be more open about that in the past, I find that I am keeping more and more to myself. I don’t talk about triggers or hard experiences anymore. I don’t talk about ER visits or debilitating pain. I don’t talk about crisis of faith or my road back after struggling so much. I don’t talk about how it felt having to have my husband come home early from Deployment to take care of me. I don’t talk about the rumors that circulated about me being suicidal. I just don’t talk anymore. I don’t open up.
Maybe I should. Maybe I am.
All I know, that tonight, writing became necessary again. It became a way for me to process and move forward. Tonight I decided that I have the faith to open up–trying not to fear the consequences of showing my heart.