November 1, 2003
So, I have been doing some thinking recently. I have been thinking about grief. Thinking about what it does to my body, my soul, and my mind. I think that grief is a lot like labor. While I didn't get to experience it too much with Emma (my sweet footling breech c-section baby), I know the emotional signposts of labor. I know that contractions build and build and build, then fade away. I know that the more labor continues, the harder you have to work, you get more serious and really work. I know that in transition, you feel like you can't do this anymore. Like it will never end and that you will always feel this way.
I remember the day after Emma died, telling Jeremy that my crying, and my grief was like a contraction, about 2 minutes apart lasting for hours at a time. There are times that I don't want to cry, I don't want to grieve. It is hard, it hurts, it makes me tired, it gives me a headache. But, no matter how I try to go over it, under it, around it, it always finds me and I just have to go through it. I always feel better when I am done crying, screaming, sobbing. My body shakes, I feel sick, I scream, I want to run out of my body to get away from the pain. I often think it will never end, that I will never stop crying. When I am not crying, I think I will never be truly happy again, never as happy as I was before Emma died. And, just as quickly as it comes on, it is gone again, and I can breathe, I can sleep, I can relax. My poor husband feels so helpless when I am going through this. There are no doulas for grief, no midwives to help me ease my pain; just countless other women who have walked this road before me and are willing to hold my hand as I take this journey. Their husbands, while quiet and not anxious to share their feelings, help my husband by showing him that they made it, and he will too.
I am learning so much everyday from this grief. I am learning that I am not alone. I am learning that I will survive. And, like labor, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am still too early in the process to see that light, but others have promised and assured me that it is there. When the grief is not so intense, I will not have a baby, like you do in labor, but I will once again be happy, feel joy, and I won't cry everyday. I will get through this. It won't be easy, but I will do it with the help of my friends, my family, my God, and my sweet baby girl Emma.
I have been reading quite a few blogs recently with people who are dealing with different forms of grief. But, there are two that have really stuck with me. This one hits very close to home. I found this Mama through one of my good friends. My friend, A, taught this couple their childbirth classes. Her labor, like mine, ended in a c-section. Her baby died when he was 7 months old. Just one month younger than Emma.
The other that has been on my mind, and on the minds of many in the blogosphere, is the story of Stephanie and Christian Nielson. They, and their families, are experiencing different stages of this grief, however they are in the throws of grief right now.
I post this today, almost 5 years later, to say this, there is hope. In the beginning when you are in so much pain, you never think it will end. But, it isn't always so hard. It doesn't always hurt like it does. There will always be a hole, but there is hope for healing. Whatever your grief is, losing a child, a spouse, having any kind of life altering challenge, it brings grief.
Heather, over at Extraordinary Ordinary, reminds us that grief is supposed to happen. This is how God intended it. Through grief, we heal.
May we all heal, whatever our wounds.