More and more, I am finding other peoples’ observations and advice about my grieving process supremely annoying. The truth is, the only one that really knows how I’m grieving or feeling is me, and Dan is pretty well aware, and my mom has a pretty good picture, maybe. If you aren’t with me 24/7, you can not possibly know. And if, say, you are a medical doctor, who sees me only for 5 minute stretches of time and has talked to me for a grand total of 30 minutes combined in your entire life, then I don’t think you are qualified to dispense psychological advice about how I’m handling things.
I loved it, for example, when the doctor informed me that while medically I can start trying again in 3 months after the birth, “you need to grieve. You did lose a child, you know.” Really?? You don’t say. Until this very moment, I did not have that startling insight. It is obviously not even remotely possible that I am trying to hold it together and have a non-depressing strategic conversation because you are a stranger, I am in need of your medical advice, and sobbing about my dead daughter is not conducive to getting the information I need.
And you know what? I’m not just grieving for my child. That’s not all we’ve lost here. Our child. Our hopes and dreams of starting our own little family, hopefully delayed and not gone for good. But also, I’ve lost any chance of ever having a normal pregnancy. Of simply worrying about things like what to register for, how much weight I’ve gained, whether or not it’s okay to take a Tylenol, and cloth diapers versus disposables. My future pregnancies pretty much promise to include obsessing about every twinge, at least a couple of late night trips to the ER when those twinges don’t stop and we’re worried about what it means, a surgery to sew my cervix shut followed by constant terror that I will go into labor anyway and bleed to death, being unable to actually plan or buy anything because I no longer think pregnancy leads to bringing home a baby, oh, and no sex for 10 months, which is particularly ironic considering that’s the only way to get to this stage.
I’m tired of hearing that I need to take time, that I need to be sure, that I need to be calm, or zen, or relentlessly positive. What I really need to do is grieve in my own way, on my own time, and have everyone stop giving me mandates about how and when to do it. I will take the time I need without the helpful advice. And a newsflash – the worst has happened. I don’t think being relentlessly positive and calm is really in the cards for me, now or ever again.
The best I think I will ever be able to give is to hope for the best, and be prepared for the worst. I don’t think that means I should never try again. I think it means something truly terrible, and unlikely, and unlucky, has happened to me, and it’s changed me and my perspective in ways that I guess those people who think I am going to be relentlessly positive can never imagine.