Right now my grief is about trying to find balance. If I let myself, I could easily lie in bed all day and cry. But I know that’s a hole I would never climb out of, so I force myself to do other things. On the other hand, not crying at all wouldn’t be healthy either. So what amount of crying is the right amount of crying? When do you stifle the tears, and when do you let them flow? On Planet I Delivered a Dead Baby, what is the right balance between feeling shitty and going through the motions?
It’s like this with a lot of things. On Facebook (which I have hated a little bit for a long time, and for which my loathing grows every day), there are many, many support groups for pregnancy and infant loss. Way, way too many. There’s S.O.B.B.S. (Stories of Babies Born Still). October 15 Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Awareness Day. Pregnancy and Infancy Loss Support, October 15. Postpartum Depression, Anxiety or PTSD after Pregnancy/Baby Loss. Stillbirth Babies – Forever in Our Hearts. Trying to Conceive after Pregnancy or Infancy Loss. Those are just a few. Sometimes that’s great; it normalizes the loss, makes you realize how many other people this happens to and that maybe this isn’t your fault after all. And you can post about something you’re experiencing, and other people who have been right there can tell you how it played out for them. I made a new friend in one of these support groups; we text almost every day. Her baby was stillborn two years ago, so she can give me some insight into where this journey might be headed. And you can offer that same kind of support to other people, pay it forward, and you feel a tiny bit better.
But then other times, you’re innocently scrolling through your news feed—maybe you just looked at a stupid Buzzfeed list or a funny Scary Mommy post—and then bam, there it is, and you’re like, shit. I Delivered a Dead Baby. And before you know it you’re grieving all over again.
Then there’s stillbirth awareness resources, information about why this happens and how to prevent it. I want to know, need to know, why Luke died. Not just for him and me, but for (God willing) our next baby. I downloaded a book called Silent Risk by Dr. Jason Collins, apparently the only doctor in the world who knows very much about stillbirths. The book is about all the things that can go wrong with the umbilical cord, how little the cord is understood, and how, because of that, there’s really not much anyone can do to prevent these things (e.g., home monitor he invented for pregnant moms who’d had previous stillborns is no longer on the market). After downloading the book, I read 32 pages. That night I had a panic attack. I haven’t picked it up since.
I am teetering on the bridge between raw, fresh grief and “normal” life. I have to keep my balance so I don’t plunge into the oblivion.