Check out this great new blog for "babylost mamas," called Glow in the Woods. Some of the writers may be familiar to you, some may be new voices, but it's a great site. In the 6 by 6 section, they've asked readers to answer six questions on their own blogs & then post a link. Here are my Q&As:
1 In a word, how would you characterize yourself before your loss, and then after?
Before: naive. I knew bad things sometimes happened to pregnant women, but not to me -- not in the late 1990s, not when you'd passed that first trimester mark. Even when we realized there were problems with the pregnancy, I thought the doctors could fix anything. Isn't that what the NICU was for?
2 How do you feel around pregnant women?
Sad. Nostalgic. Inadequate. Jealous/envious -- not only of the fact that they are pregnant, but of their excitement and optimism when they talk about the pregnancy & their plans for their baby. It's like how I think Eve must have felt after eating the apple from the Tree of Knowledge in the Bible. You can never un-know what you know after you've lost a baby -- that innocence is gone forever.
And afraid. Even if they don't seem aware of what can & might happen, I sure am, & I am afraid for them. Even if they're a totally annoying Ms Perfect Pregnancy, you don't wish this sort of pain on your worst enemy.
3 How do you answer the 'how many children' question?
"None," or "I don't have any children." I've (mostly) stopped feeling (too) guilty about saying that. I just don't have the energy to deal with the questions, with the pity, the uneasiness. Should I get to know the person better, I might eventually tell the full story.
4 How did you explain what happened to your lost baby to your living children? Or, if this was your first pregnancy, will you tell future children about your first?
I don't have any other living children, & at 47, I am not likely to. We had most certainly intended to let any subsequent children know they had an older sister who died before birth, & involve them in our pregnancy loss support group's memorial events.
5 What would another pregnancy mean to you, and how would you get through it—or are you done with babymaking?
At 47, I am resigned to living childless/free. I had hoped to have more children, but it was not to be. Had I achieved a subsequent pregnancy, I'm sure I would have been a basket case, & at the dr's office at least once a week to hear the heartbeat.
6 Imagine being able to step back in time and whisper into the ear of your past self the day after your baby died. What would you say?
You will survive this. You will never "get over it" but you will get through it.