I felt the loaded silence and watched the concentration on the faces of my husband and the sonographer. They were looking for a flicker of a heartbeat that was there just a couple of weeks ago. Only, I knew instinctively that it wouldn’t be there this time and that in this instance I would be forever changed.
We had been here before.
Five lost souls. While it didn’t make things easier this time, it made me more resilient to hearing the news. This time there were no tears, merely heading home to make the plans to sort everything out again—a visit to the hospital, making childcare arrangements for my daughter, informing our families and taking time off work.
Somewhere amongst all of this, I started losing my way. I assumed that, like the other times, I would rest and recover. I would cry and rant, visit support groups, and eventually let my friends and family love me back to life. It didn’t work out that way somehow.
I’ve had the startling realization that I am completely removed from the person I used to be. This time my confidence has taken a blow in every aspect of my life. Over the last seven months, I‘ve eaten my way through the sadness, fake-smiled far too often, lied about how I am, and drunk to forget.
Oh, the old me is still here, somewhere inside, ready and waiting for the times when my daughter is around. The old me is reserved for my child, and she gets the old me. She gets the best of me.
My internal monologue is relentlessly questioning, wondering if I am good enough for anything. After all, how can I be when I keep failing at the most primitive process in nature, the process we are ultimately created for?
I used to feel secure in the knowledge that no matter what, I always strived to be the mother that my daughter needs, the wife my husband deserves, and the best friend, relative and colleague I can be. I know I still try to be all of those things, but trying doesn’t feel good enough anymore. The past comes forward to intrude on my thoughts: shoulda, woulda, coulda, the degree I could have got, the decisions I’ve made along the way, any time I may have inadvertently offended or hurt someone. Mentally chastising myself is my new favorite hobby, and it’s exhausting. At night, my brain whirrs with the same song lyrics on repeat. It’s a futile way of trying to switch from the thoughts that have been plaguing my mind all day.
I smile and muddle through because it’s the only way I know how. I get out of bed each morning, and I continue to try because, well, what else is there? Sometimes I take half a step forward and then three steps back. Well-meaning people say things that hurt my already aching heart. Being told to look to the future is all well and good, but this is my future; it is also my past and present. I need to grieve this in order to move on.
I need to reconcile my past with my present in order to look to my future.
Due dates, scan dates and birthdays that were never to be are on my mind along with loss dates, operation dates and dates we got bad news. Pregnancy and birth announcements flood the timelines of my social media accounts. I purposely lose contact with friends. I am invited to nights out, and I murmur a “yes” knowing full well I will not be able to find the confidence to attend. I hear of babies being born unwanted or into chaos. There is no other option but to close my business down. My daughter falls in love with other children on a daily basis. Baby clothes get boxed up and moved out of sight, the maternity wear donated. The house is too big now for the family plans we have been forced to revise.
There is no getting over it, merely learning to live with it and that is a hard future to face. I know it won’t always feel as raw as this, but for now this is my truth and this is who I am, for now.
I am slowly trying to find my way again. I have good friends who refuse to let me push them away. My husband and child are my ever-present safety net. I have a job I very much enjoy and close family members who do their utmost to help make our lives easier. We are blessed in many, many ways.
I am slowly finding my way again.