And so another week without our son goes by. This past week had some days that were easy and others that weren’t. I kept myself occupied with visitors, free Rita’s and Dairy Queen on the first day of Spring, cleaning out my refrigerator, cooking again, getting flooring delivered, and having my father-in-law install chair rail in our office (the office has been my project for the entire time I’ve been off of work).
The hardest day for me this week was learning of a friend who welcomed their daughter into the world. Thinking of this moment for them caused me to go into a downward spiral. She was three weeks ahead of me. It was a reminder that I should still be pregnant. I should still have another 3 weeks of pregnancy ahead of me.I should not be 5 weeks postpartum. It was a reminder of our time in the hospital. I think about how happy they were to welcome their child, to hear that cry when she was born and what a joyful moment it must’ve been for them. It reminded me of the silence in the hospital room when Asher was born and the river of sad tears that flowed after. There was no joy, just the heartbreaking realization that our son had died and we would never get to hold him again other than that day. It made me worry that we would never get to experience the joyfulness of welcoming a living child into the hospital room, to hear that wail as they take their first breath. With our past of struggling to conceive, I worry that we will never get the chance to have another child and experience the joyful side of delivery. It is a huge fear for me.
I mistakenly went onto Facebook this week and saw two more pregnancy announcements. I still get the same feelings I did when I was struggling with infertility and saw those announcements. Now it’s even worse because I lost my son and others get to welcome more children into the world when I can’t have mine. Even watching TV isn’t safe anymore. It seems every commercial has a baby in it. Not just the standard diaper or baby commercials but commercials for colleges, psoriasis (really?!), and debt collectors (come on!) have babies in them, as well. I can be watching TV one moment and then reduced to tears. The grocery store is a minefield. I went grocery shopping in the actual store this week (typically I do pick up because I absolutely despise grocery shopping but since I was off work and needed distractions I went myself). As I walked up and down each aisle, I continued to pass a mother and her son. He looked at me, smiled, and my heart broke. Tears welled in my eyes as I thought that I would never get to grocery shopping with my son. No where is safe for me. There are triggers for tears, anger, and bitterness at every turn.
Thankfully the week ended on a better note. On Saturday, we visited some friends in the afternoon. My friend gave me two books; You Are Not Alone and Grieving the Child I Never Knew. You Are Not Alone is a series of letters written by other mothers who lost their child/children to the reader. It is filled with words of encouragement and empathy for the emotional roller coaster that a bereaved mother is on. What I love most about it, is that the letters are written by many mothers who have an online presence and it gives your their blog/website information at the end of their letters. It allows you to follow up with these mothers and reach out to them. “Grieving the Child I Never Knew” is a devotional book with 31 different devotionals. I started doing that and have found it to be so helpful to learn more about God and his plan for those of us struggling. I also did a devotional on the Bible app entitled “When God Doesn’t Make Sense”. I found that devotional to be very helpful. The major thing I took from that devotional was that just because God doesn’t stop pain from happening to us, it doesn’t mean that He isn’t hurting with us. He may not have prevented us losing Asher but He is certainly grieving with us and He will help us to get through it.
Saturday evening, Hubby and I went to a game night with our neighbors. I even did my makeup (well just my eye makeup) for the first time since losing Asher. (I mainly did it because Hubby refused to shave until I put makeup on and his beard/mustache was getting to be a bit much, but, hey, I still did it!) We each had a nice time playing games and enjoying the company of friends. I was glad we went and took a step forward to finding our “new normal”, whatever that may be.
This is my last week off of work. I go back on the 3rd of April. I have massive amounts of anxiety about the idea of going back to work. First, it is almost like my allotted time for grieving is up, time to get on with life and go back to work. It feels like Asher never happened, like it was all a bad dream. It’s time to go back into the workforce and back to what I did before our worst nightmare was realized. Secondly, the last time all my coworkers saw me, I was happy and pregnant. I was so excited about having Asher and starting our family. I loved my bump and everything about being pregnant. Now, I have to go back, not pregnant and grieving. Embarrassing isn’t the right word to use but I can’t think of another word for it. Everyone else who is pregnant and goes out, gets to have and KEEP their child. Not me, I have to go back having been out for birthing a child that is no longer here. I don’t get to be asked the questions that new mothers returning to work are asked; how is your child?, was it hard to leave them?, etc. Instead, I’m going to either get acknowledgment for my loss or people who ignore the fact that I was gone for six weeks because my son died and not say a word to me. Both options are going to be extremely painful. I would rather people acknowledge my loss than ignore it, I’ve said that through all of our struggles, but it will still be a very hard day and not one I am looking forward to experiencing.