Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Grief cycles

This past spring, my secretary S's granddaughter passed away without warning. She was around fifteen months old or so. It was so incredibly tragic. She was being cranky and irritable and running a low fever so her mother put her down to nap, and after a few hours she went in to check on her - and the baby just wouldn't wake up. She wasn't breathing. There was no warning... no indication that their lives were about to begin unravelling from all sides.

I cannot begin to imagine the pain and completely devastating grief that their family has been suffering with. I cannot begin to express how incredibly sorry I feel for them all, but especially to the baby's mother. She was very blessed that she had an enormous support network who all surrounded her, and stayed with her through the nightmare.

While I don't know her personally, I hear updates on a daily basis from S. It's so sad. S and I were speaking about it, and she said that she told her daughter to "just get pregnant again" so that she could move on. She quipped that her daughter just has to think about getting pregnant and blammo there you go - pregnancy ensues.

I understand that everyone has very differing ways of dealing (or not - as the case may be) with grief. But, that said, there are certain stages of grief (denial, anger, acceptance....) that each of us goes through pretty predictably. At least that's what I remember from my rather rudimentary Psych 101 class.

And my heart is heavy - for I just found out not long ago that S's daughter is pregnant again (nearing the end of her first trimester).

I realize that this may be easily misconstrued, and I certainly don't want it to be.

Maybe in her case it was best to move on so quickly. Maybe that was her only coping mechanism - to plan for this new baby, to see that there was growth and life and reason to keep going. I don't know, and I'm honestly not trying to judge. All I know is that I couldn't have done it. Not so soon. My heart is heavy enough with my own paltry pain. I couldn't imagine being able to deal with the stress of a pregnancy while that grief was still so raw - so fresh... (not that it ever goes away). I'm just not strong enough. I'm not sure how much more I'm going to be able to go through of my own before I hit my "wall." I'm starting to wonder if I'm approaching it now - seeing the hazy shadows of finality in the horizon.

S. told me to be thankful if I never have children, as I will never know the pain her daughter has. And yes, that's true, and I fully admit it. I will never know her pain. It's isn't mine, and no matter how much I hurt, my pain will never be hers. And, they cannot be compared. They cannot be pitted against each other.

I broke down in my office today - with big heaping sobs. Sobs that wracked my body and made my heart and my head hurt. I don't know why... there wasn't a trigger.... no reason really. I just wish that I had an outlet for my pain - a way to release it - to refuse it's control over me. Why is it that in our society - we have so much openness and frank discussion of other losses? Is it because I haven't "lost" anything/anyone?

While I deeply and greatly appreciate the support I have here, I resent that I have to resort to unanonimity in order to speak about this "plague" of infertility. Why is this such a taboo? Why am I hurting like this? Why am I whining?

I'm sorry. I think I just need to go home. I need a hug.


At 6:50 PM, Blogger Toni said...

I wish I could come and give you a hug. I totally understand what you are feeling...sometimes even we don't help, do we?

I wish there was some answer to all this madness - I'm still trying to figure it out for myself.

Just wanted you to know that I'm thinking about you and hoping that your hubby gives you a big hug for us out here in blogland.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger Barren Mare said...

I'm sorry you are having a hard time. I wonder the same thing, often- why does it have to be such a hidden grief? I am sending *creepy internet hugs*, and hope you are OK.

At 4:31 PM, Blogger E. said...

You're not whining! This is hard as hell -- I know what you mean about the out-of-nowhere breakdown. I'm sorry you had such an awful day. Sending you good thoughts.

At 4:41 AM, Blogger Kath said...

Infetility is not a "cool" disease. Its as cool as chatting about a STD. People just dont want to know the icky details. And thats what infertility treatments are about..icky details.

Your feelings are so normal for people like us. And how can one really think that all will be ok once she has another baby. Your friends grand-daughter will be watching her baby breathe 24/7 until she is 18 years old. It is a blessing that she get pregnant easily. the scale of grief would be greater knowing that it could take years though IVF to concieve again.

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

I hate how people have to compare pain. There is no sliding scale. Pain is pain. It's your pain and you must own it. Just like the loss of her child is her pain and she must own it. Having lost a child I know the uncontrolable urge to try to have another. But conceiving another child will never ever remove the pain of losing your child .. it just gives you something else to focus on. And please don't let anyone convince you that you haven't had a "loss". Whenever you deal with something as devistating as infertility .. it is a loss. A loss of trust in your body, a loss of the idea that you will be like others who get pregnant and then have a baby 9 months later and never even really think about it. That loss to you is just as real and just as painful I am sure as the loss of my child and the dreams I had for her were for me. I am praying that one day soon you will find your way to motherhood no matter how it happens.


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