Not a Turning Point

I had thought that passing my due date on Dec 6 would be a turning point in the grieving process and my journey of healing. That it would be like a flipped switch and, suddenly, things would be easier and I wouldn’t miss Teddy Graham so much. I had heard of that happening and it made sense to me. Everything before the due date is so fresh and only leading up to the day when a baby should have arrived. Everything thereafter is an unknown, something you hardly had a chance to dream or plan for.

But this has not been so for me. December 6th was not a turning point, a flipped switch, a pressed button, nothing like that. If anything, I feel as if I have taken three steps back in my healing. Many days since my due date, I have cried. Cried for the Baby Who Almost Was. By now, no matter how overdue the doctor would have let me go, Teddy surely would have been in my arms. Our lives would be so different here in the Dash home. Christmas would have been so different. Because I have been there before, at this exact same time of year, it is easy for me to imagine. I know what we are missing. And I still seem to be grieving it.

Which has made me wonder, at what point do I move on? I have always said that, while I will and have moved forward, I will not ever move on, leaving behind the child I lost, because that child is still my child, even if he is not here. In response, I have had people tell me that’s unfair to the daughter I have and to any children that I go on to birth in the future. Just three weeks after my loss, I had people (including friends who have miscarried themselves) telling me I needed to get on with my life. I wonder what they would say now, all these months later? Have I crossed a line into pathetic-ness, the woman who never recovers from the loss of a tiny baby that she hardly knew?

But I have also had friends who have lost many babies tell me that grief does have an end, but mourning does not. And years later, even with their rainbow babies tucked into their cribs, they still mourn for the babies gone before. That resonates with me. I think that’s the point I’m at now. I am in the final stage of grief: acceptance. I know Teddy Graham is gone. I know he’s not coming back. I am not disabled by this loss anymore. I can function again. I can laugh, I can mother, I can plan. But I still feel the need to do things to remember TG. I want him to still be a part of this family and for Cupcake to know she has a sibling she never got to meet.

Is that wrong? I don’t know. A little part of me feels ashamed about it. Maybe if I’d had a stillborn, and not a miscarried, child my grief would be more socially acceptable. But then again, maybe not. I do know that the grief I have suffered would be tenfold if I had carried Teddy into the second or third trimester before losing him, but knowing that does not diminish my loss. It does not mean I have not suffered.

So where do I go from here? I guess I continue doing what I have all along: putting one foot in front of the other and searching for ways to bring peace and comfort into our home. Maybe a new year will bring more healing. Maybe my sister’s baby shower or the birth of Cupcake’s and Teddy Graham’s cousin.   Maybe the anniversary of my loss in April.  Maybe it won’t get easier until I have another baby in my belly or, more likely, my arms. But I do assume that, at some point, I will be able to breathe again. I hope that there will come a time when I can stop cringing my way through life, braced for another painful reminder of my loss. But I don’t expect that the pain will ever leave me completely. It’s now part of the fabric of who I am. I’m okay with that. I just hope other people in my life are, too.

18 thoughts on “Not a Turning Point

  1. I can’t say when it gets easier. I still mourn the loss of all of my babies. I still remember every due date and every loss date. Those are sad days for me. I’m sure many would tell me that I should move on. I can’t though. Maybe it will get easier when I have a child in my arms. But I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Like you said, it will always be a part of me. I think I’m okay with that too.

    • No, I’ll never forget either. And you know what? I don’t even want to. Though I hate that we’ve had to go through this horrible thing and there are times when the pain is unbearable, I think each of us grow from our losses. We become better people with deeper compassion for others. And we will be better mothers to our living children because of what we experienced.

  2. A loss is a loss and though something wonderful may then come along, it does not mean that the loss did not happen. I think it is ok to celebrate the wonderful new life and also mourn what was lost, you just need to find your own way of doing both.

    • I think you’re so right. I always think of the pain of a loss as something like a well. You can fill it with water (or new joy, or another baby, or whatever else), but the hole is still there. It never goes away.

  3. I agree with SM, I won’t ever forget about the loss of my babies, even if they were all before 10 weeks. I still loved each one and had hopes and dreams for them all. It is unfortunate that we live in a society that treats miscarriages as a “thing that just happens sometimes” rather than as a loss of a child. People at work and even family members did not understand why I was still grieving months and months afterwards. I try to find small ways to remember my lost babies. At Christmas, I took my 3 candles from October Loss Remembrance Day and lit them in the middle of the table. I told everyone at the table what they were and I think it made them uncomfortable at first, but my MIL then acknowledged that it was a nice gesture. It was nice because I felt like they were there in spirit. Maybe you could try little things like that? Maybe plant a tree or flower? I am thinking of doing this in the spring. Sorry this has gotten kind of wordy. I know exactly how you feel though. Big hugs.

    • As I’ve gone through this horrible experience, the thing that has made everything harder is exactly what you said — the way society (and especially my sister) views miscarriage. As a part of life. Just “whatever.” Not as the loss of a real baby. Not as something that has ripple effects for months and years afterward. But I know all of you get it…thank you for never making me feel crazy for the way I feel!

  4. Grief is a slippery, tricky thing. I mourned the loss of my father years after most people move on. Loss, death, grief, it all is so very hard and everyone must process in their own time. It is especially difficult to grieve when the loss isn’t readily recognized a real. It is incredibly invalidating and stunts the grieving process. I hope that, in your own time, you will come to a place of peace.

  5. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t think of my lost babies. I’m still unable to speak of them without my chin shaking and the tears quickly streaming down my face. Please, please don’t feel like there is something wrong with you. The raw pain will lighten with time, but Teddy Graham will ALWAYS be present and a big part of your life. Of anyone, you will feel that most. Much love to you my sweet.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss. We all mourn differently. After five years I still missed my grandma like crazy whilst my siblings had “moved on”… We cannot control when we are able to move on. And sometimes moving on just means taking our loved ones with us and keeping their memory alive. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for wanting to remember your baby. Blessings on you!

  7. I think everyone processes grief and loss differently. When my mom died, my sister was terrified to let anyone see her cry, so she held it all in for a long time. Then one day, months later, an innocuous comment sent her down a well of grief and depression. I, on the other hand, cried right away and seemed to get a lot of it “out of my system,” but certain events or triggers still make me bawl. I’m sure there are women who are able to “move on” after a miscarriage, but you don’t have to be one of them. It’s okay to still feel everything you’re feeling. I hope one day it’ll hurt less, and you’ll have some peace.

  8. I’m so sorry that you didn’t get the closure you hoped for with you due date. If there is anything that I’ve learned about grief through the years it’s that no two people experience it the same way. And beating yourself up over how you *thought* you’d feel is only making it tougher. Try to be kind to yourself. You loved and still love that short life deeply.

  9. I think continuing to put one step in front of the other is the only thing you can do. Everyone is different and one day you will get to a point of less grief. Or you won’t and that’s okay, too. The most important part is to not beat yourself up over if you are grieving properly, but just to find peace that this is who you are and what you have dealt with and therefore it is normal and correct.

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