I'm finding writing this post much harder than in previous years. In the past I was just sad and over time I had worked out how best to cope and process those feelings. Now there's such a mix of emotions going on inside of me I can't pinpoint how I truly feel, it's such a jumble. On one hand I do know I'm happy, so that has to be a good thing. I have a lot in my life to be happy about as it's been 15 months and 7 days since we welcomed our third born daughter, Iris, into this world and 15 months 6 days since we brought her home from the hospital. On the other hand I'm not ok. I am not ok, but I don't know in which way. (I've typed, deleted and typed that again and again, but it's ok to not be ok, right?)
As hopeful as we were, after several years and so many losses...well it's hard to cling on to a thread of hope. It takes its toll. And the grief... The grief which comes along with that degree of heartbreak doesn't just disappear. I don't think it ever will go away completely and I'm fine with that.
The thing is, whilst I am happier now than I have been in many years, I still feel as if I'm grieving and I know to some extent I always will, but I don't feel as if those around me fully realise this. Apart from my husband everyone else was at least one step removed from the crippling pain that we went through after each loss. (If you're reading this and you've suffered your own loss(es) then you know the pain I'm talking about. The right in the middle of your chest, take your breath away emotional pain – often accompanied by the long silent sobs which can end up with you sitting in a crumpled mess on the floor...those ones. The ones you try for so long to keep hidden.) I still feel that pain sometimes and at the moment I feel as if I don't have a right to. It's as if everyone else thinks my grief is done with and everything is suddenly fixed because my daughter is here. She's amazing, but no child can ever replace another.
I love being able to mother one of my children each and every day, but I still get sad. Not because of her, of course not, but because of all the things I know I've missed out on with the others. That's natural, isn't it?
Some days the sadness doesn't affect me at all, even when I'm thinking of my children who aren't here – my son, Hunter (who would have been going to school this year), my two daughters, Esmae and Freya, and the two little ones I never got to meet - I think of them with a smile.
Some days are hard.
On the tough days I used to look on Pinterest for quotes that summed up just an ounce of how I was feeling and I'd share them on social media, almost as a cry for some support or a nudge to everyone around me that I was still going through this. I never wanted anyone who saw those posts to feel sorry for me. I just wanted them to remember (me), to understand. Each time I go to post something now I think twice as I can't afford to isolate myself even more from those around me (at least that's how it feels).
At the moment I feel as if I can't reach out in the way I need to to the majority of my friends or family as (I feel) it's hard for them to understand that the past has not changed. To put it simply, I'm still sad. Recently I tried to let a group of friends know via a message that I was struggling. Perhaps I was too subtle, but as I saw each one of them read and not reply to my message my paranoid self shouted at me “they are sick of this (you)”, “you have your daughter, just be happy”. I hope I'm wrong, I'm almost sure I am…
I don't feel like myself, although who I am these days I'm really not sure. I barely remember the person I was five years ago and after such a long time and after so many losses I feel as if it's become too much for those around me to bear. My conscious paranoia feeds the feeling that I have pushed so many people away to the point of no return. Firstly by avoiding them whilst they were pregnant (only in a desperate attempt to keep my sanity and in a strange way to try to keep the friendships intact) and secondly in the way I have been vocal about what I've been through and how I still feel. I know this level of loss, this level of grief is difficult to comprehend (the emotive subject of baby loss is enough for people to want to leave you alone) and as more and more time passes it gets easier for others to ignore, but it's isolating.
I feel as if I've lost my place in the world and I'm lonely. There are few who understand, and if they do then they're tackling their own grief.
My thoughts circle constantly – all the good, the bad and the ugly which I feel I can't control. Those thoughts never stop. I sometimes feel them getting out of control, racing around in my head and whilst I can slow them down a little they never stop. They are full of anxiety, paranoia, gratefulness, happiness, household tasks, guilt, annoyance, shopping lists, stress…
I have to bite my tongue and push down the anger and hurt I feel each time my daughter is referred to as our/the 'first'. She is not. How can I have given birth to, met and helped name four of our six babies and only have one child?
I struggle when someone else mentions their children, especially the children mine should have grown up alongside.
I still get that lurch in my stomach when I hear about friends' pregnancies – I don't know if this is fear, anxiety, jealousy, an involuntary reflex... I am happy for them, but the news makes me think of my own pregnancies and this in turn makes me feel so selfish.
I cringe (and then immediately feel guilty for doing so) each time I bring up my previous pregnancies or my other children with the new mum friends I have made. I hear them in my head saying 'she's not going on about this again…’
I feel guilty each time I breathe a sigh of relief when my daughter (the child I so desperately, desperately wanted) takes a nap just so I get some much needed time to catch my breath, to gather up some of those whirring thoughts...
I'm already worrying about how anyone reading this who has no living children has taken that last statement.
I worry about a lot of things - too many things perhaps.
Even with all of these thoughts going round and round I feel numb an awful lot of the time and that's the worst feeling. I stop and think about something and often there's just nothing. Maybe I developed such a good coping technique of blocking out so much of the world that it stuck.
I used to calm myself by writing down how I was feeling, but I haven't made enough time for that recently and it shows. This piece is all over the place. And maybe that's where I am right now...all over the place, but ironically almost always here...stuck inside my head with the many, many frantic thoughts.
You can read Lindsay’s previous posts here: