Today was the day I have been dreading for 6 weeks. I literally would get a pit in my stomach whenever I thought about going back to work. Seeing everyone was just going to be too much after losing Asher. So many people were so happy for me and now I have to face them all again after losing my son. I have to go back to the life I was living before my world came crashing down. It was too much. The stress and anxiety of going back was giving me heart palpitations (I’ve been known to get them when stressed, as I did after my miscarriage.).
I managed to turn my head off last night and get some sleep but as soon as Hubby’s alarm went off (an hour before mine does), I was up and dreading the day. I went about my old usual morning routine (except for listening to my regular morning show, I haven’t been able to listen to it since losing Asher. I’m not sure why. I think it is just something I can control and do differently since losing him). I took Murphy out before work and saw a cardinal fly into a nearby tree. They say when a cardinal appears, angels are near. I’ve seen quite a few cardinals since losing him and I knew that Asher was telling me it was going to be okay. He would be with me.
Driving to work felt surreal. I have not driven in that direction since the last day that Asher was alive. The last time I had been at work my son was alive and now, he has been gone for 6 weeks. Of course, I was early. My heart was racing and I did not want to go in. However, I figured since I was early, I could avoid walking in with a crowd of people and face too many while on the verge of tears. I ended up walking in with a coworker, who has been wonderfully supportive through the loss of Asher. She actually gave me all her maternity clothes when I was pregnant and put in me in touch with her friend who has a stillborn daughter (who has been an incredible resource and support). Seeing her, almost made me breakdown and I wasn’t even in the building yet! It was a lot of emotion at once; a combination of my appreciation for all her support, seeing her for the first time since receiving all that support, and the anxiety of walking back into work.
Luckily, I made it inside without a breakdown but it took some effort. I walked into my cubicle to find notes, candy, and cards from several coworkers. Everyone welcomed me back and said they missed me. Several people came into my cubicle and expressed their sympathies with tears in their eyes (causing mine to well up in response). For six weeks, my coworkers and work continued without me, but their welcome back and expressed sympathies showed they were still thinking about me while work moved on in my absence.
The morning went fairly quickly. It seemed like I just got there and it was lunch time. I go home for lunch every day since I live close by and we have an hour lunch break. I usually let Murphy out, catch up on tv, and eat leftovers for 30 minutes at home. Today when I pulled up to my neighborhood, I saw my mother’s car sitting there. She drove 45 minutes to come up and spend 30 minutes with me at lunch because she knew this was a difficult day. She brought me lunch and asked how the morning was at work. Then she drove the 45 minutes back home when I went back to work. Such a good momma! ❤️ The afternoon went quickly with a few minor breakdowns in my cubicle. I came home from work to a package of goodies from friends, who noted that the day was over and I made it through. I also received lots of texts and messages throughout the day wishing me luck and telling me I can make it through. (I seriously don’t think I could ask for any better or more supportive family and friends in my life. I thank God every night for the wonderful support system of family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and strangers that He has placed in our lives to help us through this time.)❤️
Last night, I was speaking to another stillborn mother about my anxiety with returning to work. I told her that it just feels wrong. We have suffered a huge loss and yet nothing has really changed. Going back to work was kind of the last thing that had to return to normal since losing Asher. She explained it perfectly. She said it is hard to go back to work and see that the world didn’t stop moving. Life continued on at work in the lives of your coworkers, while your life completely crumbled. That was it. My life had crumbled and, yet, I was going back to where life continued. Going back to work meant that MY life was moving forward…without him here. Most mothers have anxiety about going back to work because they have to leave their children. My anxiety was that it meant I was moving forward without my child. It meant that things were going back to the way they were before he was born, before my world shattered. When I wasn’t working, it seemed like at least something was impacted by the loss of my son. Now, it seems like nothing was. Life is falling back into its old pattern (work, come home, cook, eat, sleep, repeat) and that isn’t a pattern I expected to come back after having a baby. I expected our lives to be turned upside down when I returned to work because we would have a son. But, that wasn’t the case. Returning to work today just showed me that life is moving forward, I am moving forward, and it only emphasized the whole in my heart that should be filled with a chunky, little baby boy.