After Miscarriage: 5 Stages of a Missed Due Date
By Dresden on July 08, 2013
There is no right or wrong way to be sad. We all know this. I also know that there are some kinds of sad that are not talked about as openly as others. Working on my grief for this miscarriage has been both short and long. It vanished for several months, but as the due date for Tartan approaches I am overwhelmed with deep sadness.
I know I will make it through to the other side of this. I must. I don't know if I will feel this pang every year or if I just need to get through this first year of missing the due date without a baby.
These are the stages of my grief:
1. Deny the due date is coming:
I was able to skate through several months without always thinking about not being pregnant. I didn't see anyone daily who was pregnant nor did I interact a lot with anyone who was pregnant. In other words there was no such thing as pregnant. La, la, la, la, la. But then people on Twitter and Facebook started having babies. My joy for them brought out the sorrow in me. I was suddenly all too aware of how empty my plans were. I was not washing onesies or picking out a theme for a nursery. I was on the outside, looking in to a world that, for a brief moment in time, I had once breathed the air.
How I am dealing with this: I am talking about this date. I am claiming this missed moment in my life. By not acknowledging it I was doing myself no favors. I put "Tartan" on the calendar on June 26 and I requested to take the day off from work. Doing this has made me feel active in grief, instead of passive.
2. Go to 11 with the I'M OK/I'M NOT OK:
The people who have it the worst with my emotions right now are my friends and family. I am ALLLL over the place. One minute I am just fine, why are you asking? The next minute I am in a panic, and then tears, and then don't anyone look at me because I will crumble. In other words my emotions are what you call extreme.
How I am dealing with this: Warnings. Pretty much that is all I can do. I am a walking apologist. I actually wish I could add a message to the signature of my emails that read, "Heads up: I am incredibly overly emotional/needy/feeling out of control right now so if you could please get back to me as soon as possible and in an affirmative way that would be very beneficial to all."
3. Gestures of grandeur for only child:
I feel weird admitting this, but here we go. Because I sometimes feel like my grief is so large I feel guilty. I feel ashamed for feeling sad about an entity that never even became a child. All of this energy on mourning makes me worry that W is not feeling love from me.
Rationally I KNOW he is loved. And yet this grief is here and I know he knows it. I have been overcompensating in the hopes that when we look back on these days and talk about what was going on I can tell him that while I was grieving I wanted him to know how much I loved and adored him.
How I am dealing with this: I give in to the gestures. Yesterday I picked up W from school and we had a picnic at the playground, followed by a treat of frozen yogurt. He asked if we could go home to watch a movie at home after yogurt and I thought, "Why not GO to the movies?" It had been ages since we had done that. So we checked showtimes and we were able to go see Monsters University. It felt great to have a "yes" day.
4. Weird cleaning:
This is sporadic and not to be counted on to yield an actual clean and sparkling house. This obviously comes from a quick impulse to CONTROL. I can't control the fact that I have an empty womb at the moment, but I CAN control the state of the side tables next to the sofa. So stand back as everything gets trashed. There is also something nice about just standing at the kitchen sink and having water run on your hands.
How I am dealing with this: I clean. But mostly I just have the desire to clean without the motivation for it.
5. Build the cave:
As I get closer and closer to the actual date I am feeling this urge to stockpile and hunker down. Within my circle of friends we often talk about going into the cave when we know we are sad. As many of us battle depression we have found that it has been helpful to announce a cave hibernation moment. Often one of us will announce, "Going into the cave..." and then hear things like, "Take your Netflix" or "Need anything to read before you go?" A few hours after someone has gone into the cave, we like to do a check in. There is no need for a response, but if you are the cave dweller, it is always nice to be reminded you are not alone. "Lobbing in some skittles into the cave..." "Hope you have AMC on in the cave..."
How I am dealing with this: I will be going into the cave on the 26. I know this. I am actually proud of myself for this. By taking the day to really be quiet and still within my grief I am owning the day.
Dresden writes about Life, Plaid, Celebrating Your Inner Geek and Single Motherhood.