How am I feeling? It’s been a week, am I feeling better? Has life moved on? Do I need anything?
The shortest answer I’ve been able to come up with when my dear, sweet friends and well-meaning acquaintances ask me how I am doing is “things are weird right now.”
They are weird because I feel everything. All of it.
I feel sad.
because of course I do. I lost a child. I lost it in my home, unexpectedly, before I could even wrap my mind around the idea of that child completely, but after I had started to plan for that child and love it.
I feel angry.
because who wouldn’t? I am angry in a weird way, though. I am angry at nothing really in particular. I am angry that God doesn’t clearly and audibly speak to me. I know that for the majority of human history, it has been this way and that people have gone centuries between ANYONE hearing from God, but that logic doesn’t remove the longing from my heart to hear my Father’s voice.
I am angry that the way my husband is grieving is different than the way I am grieving. Although, I also know this is silly because his difference is one (major) reason I love him. Whereas I am a passionate flame that burns quickly and brightly, hopping from one project to the next, throwing my full self into everything and seeing every hill as one to die on (I’m working on that…), he is a slow and steady discipline. He always takes the long view and paces himself accordingly. And I love that. But right now, although I need him to be the pillar of strength that he is, I sometimes wish to see that I am not the only one with strong feelings.
I am angry that I don’t know what this all means. Or if it has any meaning. I feel like I was a part of a slight of hand show. “Surprise! Look over there! What is that? Surprise! Now it’s gone!” because of that:
I feel shaken.
I feel frustrated with my body.
As a woman, I’ve had mixed feelings about my body my entire life and now that I am in my thirties, I am appreciating it more than I critique it, but I also feel like I still don’t know what it’s doing on how to treat it.
And right now, I despise getting dressed. This was going to be my fourth baby, so my body reacted accordingly and “gave in” to pregnancy. A week after losing my baby, I am still a little swollen. My clothes don’t fit and it makes me mad that I have to deal with that when the reason for them not fitting is gone. TMI for the squeamish among you: but I am also still bleeding heavily and that is heartbreaking and frustrating. As one of my dear friends lamented “it is so hard to watch life leave your body.” Every trip to the bathroom is a reminder of the death I recently endured.
And yet, the weird part is, I feel mostly normal. I am carrying on, preparing for all the classes I am teaching this fall. I am cleaning my house and continuing with home projects I had begun. I am exercising. I am not cooking again just yet, but I am close. (Cooking is a joyful experience for me, but right now, for some reason I find the creating of food…that simple pleasure of turning ingredients into something else entirely to be difficult to approach.)
I feel guilty.
I feel guilt when I am feeling normal. Shouldn’t I still be sad? Or should I? How do people expect me to behave right now? Why do I care what people expect?
I feel shame.
I feel shame because I have three beautiful children whom I adore. Who am I to mourn the loss of one that I never got to meet? And yet, I feel shame for not honoring this very real life. Because if I don’t acknowledge this very real loss, what does that say about this life, the beginnings of life, and the grief of those who have also felt this loss?
I feel embarrassed.
because I feel like everyone is looking at me and thinking I am broken. I know this is (mostly) not true. But there you have it.
Feelings generally don’t care about what is true.
I also feel grateful.
I am grateful for the community that has lifted us up in prayer, has fed my family when I couldn’t find the strength to care about food, has told me that they are thinking of us and given me tearful hugs and just listened to me tell my story. I am grateful for you all. I wouldn’t have made it through “mostly okay” without you all.
I feel pangs of longing.
I love love love all my pregnant friends and the ones with newborns and please hear me say I harbor NO ill will or feelings towards you. I love you and I rejoice with you and I pray and hope that everything goes well with you. If it can’t go well with me, I so want it to go well for you and I am cheering you on and praying for you and your child.
But … a part of my stupid brain whispers “I should be pregnant right now, too”, “we should be in this together”, “I should be getting to hold my baby soon”. And I hate that part of my brain because it is not helpful in the least. But please, dear friends, don’t hold back, don’t tip toe around me. I am mostly okay and I really want to be there for you as well, but also please forgive me if I avert my eyes from you or seem to dodge you sometimes, those are times when my brain is being stupid.
I feel sad, angry, shaken, frustrated, mostly normal, guilty, shame, embarrassed, grateful, and pangs of longing.
In short, I’m in a weird place.