by Lisa Dana Goding
Imagine if you will, an anguish so fierce, you can feel it from 10 feet away. There is quite an awesome amount of uncontrolled power in a grieving woman who has lost a child. It is almost akin to a wild animal.
Women like me who have had premature preterm rupture of membranes (PPROM) have a cute little name we use- PPROM Queens. It kind of lightens up the reality of what happened. It almost sounds like a sorority except no one ever asked to join it.
I have encountered so many wonderful and caring women- for this I am ever so grateful. I have met women who have had almost the exact thing happen to them. I have come to know women who have experienced the many possible things that can sadly cause a pregnancy to end with “fetal demise.” I have also met women who had normal pregnancies, only to watch their special babies die days or weeks after birth. No matter when or how it happened, we are bonded together in this surreal space. We are women who all experience that raw feeling- emptiness, dread, longing- and yearning for what might have been. A woman with a dead baby- we sit together behind a curtain. I never even thought I would be part of this club and didn’t really care to peak behind the curtain to see what was there.
I think that the whole topic makes people uncomfortable. What do you say to her? What if I say the wrong thing? Maybe I should leave her alone until she is ready- she knows I am here for her. All these concerns have the opposite effect that was intended. In fact, they actually increase the woman’s loneliness and isolation. But even with all the support and love in the world, the road is a lonely one that must be travelled alone. I am on that road now and wonder where it will lead.
I have come to realize tonight that the healing process is not a stepwise progression as I had thought it might be- and counted on to be. I imagined each day I would be slowly plugging away, taking one step in front of the other, feeling a little bit better and a little bit better. Then one day in the not too distant future I would be talking about how far I have come.
Rather than that, the process seems to be much more of a spiral. To be sure, there will be times when the hurt is less, when I actually feel happy (or at least calm). And then there be a point when I will circle back to a place of pain and trauma. The spiral, however, doesn’t mean I am back at square one. I see it more like a tornado or a coil: I spiral back, but I now find myself in a new place, a slightly changed woman from the last time I was immersed in the grief.
I am so open and ready to hear about how others have coped with this kind of loss. What can I do to get out of my own way so that I don’t make Sally Ann’s memory something that overwhelmingly pains me? I want to be able to think of her and smile, knowing that she gave me the most special of gifts-hope.
This is an excerpt from Lisa’s blog, which can be found at www.hotmamabear213.blogspot.com