Tag Archive | grief

Dream: Pink Beetle

I dreamt that I was watching a video in my room (I’m not sure where, it reminded me of the room we once had at my mother-in-law’s before we had children. Apparently the video was about fertility, and how to maximise your chances of pregnancy, so you can guess what’s weighing on my mind)

Then I noticed there was a fairly big beetle scurrying towards me on my floor, which looked black on its underside but then it flipped over and was like a ladybird (I know it doesn’t make sense that it was scurrying along on its back, it was a dream!), in fact I thought for a moment that it was a ladybird but instead of red it was pink with black dots, and it increased in size until it was the size of a side plate or a 45 rpm single record!

I ran in to the living room to tell my Dad, and he asked me if, by the way, I would like to take over his bureau (an old fashioned wooden desk with a pull-down leaf). I said I would love to, and he followed me in to my room to look at the beetle, but it had disappeared in amongst my papers and I couldn’t find it.

At the end of the dream, I was sorting out my papers into my Dad’s bureau. The pink beetle never turned up again, but the television suddenly started playing and I was embarrassed that my parents had a look at what I was watching.

Notes: I did once own a baby pink Beetle Volkswagen car, which I never drove for various reasons. But I gave it away because I was told it couldn’t be fixed, and the people that came for it actually fixed it on the drive and drove it away, so I was always very sad about giving it away. Does the pink beetle represent my car that I lost? Does the car that I lost represent my lost babies?

I often dream about my Dad, and I usually wake up sad, realising that he is gone. I feel like there is a lot of unfinished business there. I’m still angry with him for dying on purpose, and I miss him terribly.

I am embarrassed, because I am 47 now, 48 later this year, and yet I still desperately long for a baby. Why? I feel so stupid. Everyone I know my age was happy with the size of their family as far as I know, and accepted that that was that. Why can’t I? I have 3 teenagers and a 23 year old who is still not independent due to Aspergers. My middle child has Type 1 Diabetes. All of this seems like pretty good reasons not to have any more children even if it were possible. My brain knows that. Why can’t my heart get it? ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The other question is, why am I suddenly having so many weird and upsetting dreams? Well, I have had a pretty bad to the year health-wise, probably all related to food allergies and intolerances, I’m probably not being as careful as I could be, which could be a form of self-sabotage (although in my defence, it mostly hasn’t been my fault – our finances got so bad that we had to rely on food bank handouts, and honestly although I am super grateful for the kindness of strangers, all the tinned food made me super ill.)

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October Anniversaries

I’m feeling a bit out of sorts today. October is always a bit of a downer. Not only is it Baby Loss Awareness Month, but it is also the anniversary of my own personal loss – of my twins. Thankfully, the weather has not caught up with the seasons, so the bright sun and blue skies takes the edge off. It has been 8 years, so although the grief still comes in waves, they crash a little less often, and a little less powerfully. I’ve been waiting for the event to come up in my Facebook memories, but I may have hidden it. What is harder to hide, of course, is the anniversaries of my friends’ babies’ birthdays, reminding me that my twins ought to be coming up for 8 years old. It’s not just the baby you lose, it’s all their future lives you imagined and hoped for.

I also received a reminder yesterday, telling me that this is my 8th anniversary of opening my WordPress account. I think that my original blog is now my very neglected Study Notes blog. I seem to remember that I was originally using it as a homeschool diary, but I shuffled the blogs around and the Homeschool diary is now at Ohana Home Educational.

I wonder if it was a coincidence that I started a blog around the same time as my miscarriage? I don’t remember ever writing about it at the time. Instead, I wrote on Facebook until I was told I was “over-sharing”, at which point I took to Twitter and created what I perceived to be safer spaces there to rant and cry and let it all out. It helped. I remember the most helpful book I read at the time talked about letting grief out creatively. Perhaps writing was not what the book had in mind, but it was my default outlet, and I would recommend it.

Today though, I don’t feel like doing much. I’m only really writing now because I want to get myself into the swing and habit of writing every day, for NaNoWriMo next month. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s worth reading. Most of my writing is mainly for my benefit – if anybody else enjoys it, or benefits from it in some way, that’s a bonus of course. But if you hate it, or just find it boring, it doesn’t matter. Just getting the practice in, and my feelings out, means it has served its purpose.

I’m also getting into the habit of writing Morning Pages in the form of a “Dream Day Journal” – that is, I write every morning about my ideal dream day. It’s supposed to be some kind of powerful manifesting tool by Law of Attraction folks. I’m not sure I believe it, but again, it doesn’t matter. It’s just practice, and it’s quite fun so far.

It can be dangerous to write thoughts and feelings on paper, so I do find that I censor myself. Most of my worst ranty, angry feelings are directed privately to my rant buddy. She’s good to have on my side.

Where do you vent your feelings? Does writing help, or some other kind of creativity?

Have there ever been times where social media didn’t feel a safe place to share?

Unravelled

โ€‹I found this poem in my facebook memories for today, and had to look it up to discover where it was from. I liked it so I thought I would share it. 

The book was probably the best one I had on pregnancy loss because it was offering art as therapy rather than just commiserating about the loss. As it turned out, the art form I chose was writing (and my first attempt at NaNoWriMo was an unexpectedly intensely personal piece of fiction that I haven’t been able to even go back and edit because it was so raw, but getting it out helped me I’m sure). 

I like this poem because, while it is heart-rending and painful, it is more beautiful than dark. I hope you enjoy it.

After three months
of silent stitching

what finger let slip

what growing row of cells

unravelled, loosing life and

leaving the lap empty?

– Olson Binder, 1993

Quoted in Grief Unseen, Healing Pregnancy Loss through the Arts by Laura Seftel

Aversion Therapy

aversion

I wrote this post once already, but the evil internet ate it up and it disappeared without a trace, so instead of the beautifully crafted original post, you’ll have to make do with what I can cobble back together from my memory.

A few weeks ago, my mother and brother came to visit us from that London, and on the Saturday they wanted to go to the cinema and the only thing that seemed remotely worth watching was Bridget Jones’ Baby, so we went to see that.

WHAT WAS I THINKING?!

Well this isn’t a review. In a nutshell, it’s a perfectly good and funny film (although I have to say it scandalised my mother! I forgot how rude and sweary Bridget Jones was!) But it is a stupidly inappropriate film for anybody who has recently had any kind of baby loss! I should have realised that, but I guess I felt ok – until the part in the film where Bridget goes for her (first) ultrasound scan, from which point, I was a complete wreck. I managed to contain my emotion outwardly until I got home and promptly locked myself in the bathroom and bawled my eyes out.

I told my little tale of woe to my Recurrent Miscarriage group, and lots of people said they wouldn’t even consider going to see it, one lady wanted to see but couldn’t face it and another watched it like I did and had a good cry afterwards, but she said she was glad she watched it anyway. I wish I hadn’t seen it.

On another note (but somehow related – I couldn’t tell you how my train of thought connected the two), I decided to take a proper break from facebook (it’s all baby photos and happy boasting announcements that make me want to vomit – maybe that’s the connection) and I noticed that an old friend, somebody I had known for years and with whom I had shared life’s traumas and troubles over and over – not just mine, but hers (she was evicted at the same time we were, she has a child with a chronic health condition that took ages to diagnose, as I do etc) had unfriended and blocked me, and not only on facebook but on Twitter as well (all my accounts!)

I was really ticked off because it seemed so petty. But apparently we had had what amounted to a fundamental disagreement.

I don’t actually remember exactly what she had posted but it was something along the lines that Trans people being allowed to choose the appropriate toilet for themselves was an outrage to public decency and a danger to all God-fearing girls. ย As I recall, I tried to explain to her that being Trans was a little bit more complex than she probably realised. But she was so determined that she was right that she started making very unkind and wrongheaded personal judgments about one of my children (who happens to identify as Trans) and obviously that was not acceptable. I presume that she deleted me as soon as she realised I wasn’t prepared to let her do that.

Whatever.

Well. I’m prepared to say “good riddance” – that sort of ignorant attitude is not really what I want to surround myself (or my children) with.

But it hurts, to be judged, and to be summarily cut off in that way. And of course it worries me that these kind of attitudes are so prevalent, and I hope that my children can be safe and un-persecuted, whatever their personal choices that don’t hurt anybody else.

So just for the record I thought I would clarify some points about being Trans. I hope I’m not misrepresenting anybody, this is just my take on it all, as a parent.

  1. Being Trans – having gender dysphoria – is not a sin.
  2. Being Trans – identifying with a gender other than your birth gender – is not the same thing as being attracted to or having sexual relations with another person of the same birth gender. That can be the case, but it’s a separate issue. Still not a sin, even if you’re conservative enough to believe that all same-gender relations are inevitably sinful, with no exceptions.
  3. Being Trans does not automatically mean having a sex-change. (And frankly, having a sex-change is not necessarily a sin either!) ed.: I’m wondering what circumstances would make it a sin, actually?!
  4. Being Trans inevitably includes a range of mental health issues including depression, anxiety,ย fear and confusion. Please don’t add to it. Just be kind! Always.
  5. Being Trans is often seen in teenagers associated with Asperger’s Syndrome (in my own child’s case, gender just does not quite ‘compute’, and the whole idea of any kind of sex is disgusting). Not a sin.
  6. Trans people are not known for violence. The argument that allowing M to F Trans people use female toilets would lead to more rape or attacks on female children would seem to be deeply flawed on so many levels, and wholly without basis. The kind of people who desire to make those sorts of attacks are going to do it anyway, regardless of the law.
  7. Gender identity and sexuality are actually a little bit complex. Not the simple black and white, fixed boxes you might assume. It’s not just a matter of physical gender – it’s genetics, it’s hormones, it’s mental, it’s culture. It’s complicated. Take a step back before you jump in and condemn.
  8. And finally, who the (((bleep))) are you to judge? Get that plank out of your eye, people!

That is all.

Hope and Grief

I suppose I had better get this out of the way.

Without putting too fine a point on it, I am no longer pregnant.

It has been a week now and although grief has a nasty way of winding you when you least expect it, coming over you in unexpected waves as it does, I think I am starting to see light at the end of the long dark tunnel and I hope I can look forward to some better days soon.

We hadn’t planned this pregnancy at all – we had given up a long time ago (although I never stopped being broody and wishing for more babies) but I had more or less come to terms with the fact that, at 45, more babies weren’t very likely.

This was my 6th loss too, which seems far more than my ‘fair share’.

Anyway. I need to fold up all my hopes and dreams and plans of babies and young children and lay them back in the ‘hope chest’ and lock it away for now.

Plan B?

I’m not ready to think about that yet.

Shiva: Death, mourning and hope in Jewish Tradition

ื‘ืจื•ืš ืืชื” ื”’ ืโ€‘ืœื•ื”ื™ื ื• ืžืœืš ื”ืขื•ืœื, ื“ื™ื™ืŸ ื”ืืžืช
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam, dayan ha-emet.
“Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, the Just Judge.”
After 4 years of trying, hoping and praying since my last loss, and 13 years in total, and finally after giving up completely, I was unexpectedly blessed with pregnancy again.

Sadly this pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 10 weeks, my 6th loss in total.

There are no funerals for miscarriages, no burials. No family get-together, no ‘sitting Shiva’ together. It is a special kind of grief, more lonely and perhaps harder to navigate than any other type of grief, because in our culture pregnancy loss is still taboo, something we still can’t quite face or discuss openly, and thus the sufferer is largely without comfort or understanding.

The traditional period of mourning in Jewish Tradition is 7 days (thus ‘Shiva’, related to the word 7). But the reality is that grief doesn’t follow a neat progression and cannot possibly be restrained within a 7 day period.

The loss of a child isn’t ‘just’ the loss of a baby right at that moment, but the loss of all the hopes and dreams – the loss of that child’s whole life – years and decades and life events that we thought was ahead of them. And even if a mother is graced with another child, this kind of loss changes you, and you always carry that little bit of sadness with you. You never ‘get over’ loss of a child.

I thought I had completely given up and resigned myself to not having any more babies, to ending my family on a loss. Now though of course, I find old wounds re-opened and longings renewed.

But for now, I mourn. 

Mourner’s kaddish
Jewish perspective on miscarriage and stillbirth
Mourning a Jewish miscarriage 
Jewish Prayer after miscarriage or stillbirth