Notes to Myself During a Very Hard Time

It’s been a very heavy week for me.  I have so much on my mind, which mostly concerns the baby girl that we said goodbye to September.  February 11th was my due date.  February 5th was my scheduled c-section date.  With both of my boys, I went into labor before the scheduled c-sections (both boys were breech) so I constantly think about the baby that should be home with us.  My therapist suggested I write a letter to the baby and I think I am going to do that in a journal.  She also suggested I write a letter to myself.  And I think I’m going to do that, too.  I want to share a few things I’d tell myself, as writing on my blog has always been cathartic for me.  (Maybe it will help you or someone you love, too.)

Notes to Myself During a Very Hard Time

I want to tell myself that something you’ll never expect to happen to you will happen.  And it’s just as awful as you could ever imagine.

I want to tell myself that the physical pain will be terrible but the emotional aftermath will be so much worse.

I want to tell myself that it’ll be one of the worst days of your life.  Probably tied with losing your dad.

I want to tell myself to accept sympathy and kindness because people mean well and it doesn’t necessarily mean they pity you. (Thank you to my therapist for sharing this video on sympathy vs empathy with me–honestly, it’s a life changing perspective and integrate this approach into how I deal with everyone going forward)

I want to tell myself that yes, you are lucky for everything that you have, including two healthy children, but this is a legitimate trauma and you can grieve, too.

I want to tell myself that you can also be angry.  It’s ok to say, why me?  But to also remember that while it feels extremely isolating, everyone has their struggles.

I want to tell myself that you will be crushed every time you see a baby announcement on social media.  Maybe avoid the explore page.  It will also be hard to see babies or visibly pregnant women.   You will wince when you hear about anyone  having a girl.  It doesn’t mean you aren’t happy for them–you are!  It’s not their fault, of course–it’s just going to be painful for a (long) while.  (It’s kind of how you felt/feel at a wedding during the father/daughter dance…it just hits close to home, you know?)

I want to tell myself to talk to your kids about it because they have big feelings about it, too.  Don’t sweep it under the rug and drop it forever–let them grieve in their own way, too.

I want to tell myself that you aren’t weak or broken, even if you feel that way.

I want to tell myself that grief is not linear and some days you will feel awesome and some days you will feel like you got hit with a ton of bricks out of nowhere.  Not sure how long this lasts.

I want to tell myself that it’s ok to want another baby but be really, really scared and unsure if you can do it again.

I want to tell myself that everyone else will move on because, well, that’s normal.  Ask for help when you need it.  It’s ok to bring it up if you want to talk about it.

I want to tell myself that these kind of things profoundly change you as a person.  Life moves forward.  You’ll never be the same in some ways but that you’ll be “ok” again and you’ll gain a lot of perspective.  Breathe.  Take your time.  Love deeply.  Grieve on your own timeline.

– Thanks for all your kindness and love during this time.  Truly.

  • Wishing you peace and healing on such a difficult day. I admire your grace through all of this. The way you write about your emotions and this process in this post is beautiful.

  • Today is two years since I started losing my third pregnancy and even though I was early on I can’t stop thinking about it. Even though I went on to have a healthy baby from my next pregnancy it still hurts. I appreciate you being so open with your own grief, your own pain. From my own experiences I can only imagine what you’re feeling. I don’t know if the pain ever goes away but I wish your peace and grace as you continue through this process.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, Janice. It is so painful and I know it’s something I’ll carry with me forever. Sending lots of love. x

  • Thank you for being so raw and honest. I have not been as brave. I miscarried my daughter at 4 1/2 months and almost 10 years later (my due date was March 2), its still stings. It took me a long time to be able to walk past the baby aisle at Target without crying. The grief and sadness and pain is real and there is no time table for this kind of loss but it does lessen a little bit with each passing year. I am glad that you have such incredible support and wish you peace and comfort and love.

  • Oh, Anna. Your words! I am so very sorry. I, like so many other women, have also experienced a loss. It was years ago before social media connected so many women together. I remember feeling alone in my pain and was comforted by the few others that shared their story of loss with me. Somehow seeing that they had also walked the road that was marked out before me gave me hope that I would be able to do it, too. We never choose pain, but eventually in time it does produce some sort of perseverance, strength, or deeper sense of compassion in us. Keep welcoming each ebb and flow of emotions. It is all part of your story. Your words are so powerful and I am sure they bring the same sense of hope to others in their time of grieving that I needed when I was there, too. I am pausing to pray for you right now.

  • I understand all too well the gambit of emotions that you are experiencing as our second daughter died just prior to birth. She would have been eight in March.

    Our first born was 3 1/2 at the time of her birth and she has never not seen my tears or been denied talking about her. Our baby and her memory are included as a part of our family because even though we were never able to meet her, she was so deeply loved.

    My advice is to take one day at a time. As you know, there is no right way to handle the grief. Distance yourself from baby announcements, showers and births for the time being. It’s can be heartbreaking to deal with at the moment, but know that there will come a time again when you will be able to.

    • Oh, Laura, I am so so incredibly sorry. It’s such an unfair thing and I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s been incredibly difficult (comes in waves!) and both my kids talk very openly about the loss of their baby sister that they never even met. Friends’ pregnancies and birth announcements have been very difficult, for sure.

      Thank you for the note. x

  • Dear Anna

    Your story touched a note for me too. Nearly 6 years ago our middle son was stillborn at 5months. It was a terrible period in our life and changed us forever. I still think about him everyday but now it is more like a passing song on the radio than in the first year when it was like the radio was on full and I couldn’t hear anything else.

    I wish you all the kindness in the world as you heal from this tragedy.

    • I’m so so sorry for your loss, Julie. I know how you feel. I know this is something that will live with me forever and sometimes that’s difficult to reconcile!

      Thank you for the note. x

  • I am so sorry that you are having to endure this and that this time of year is so painful. Your reflections are so helpful though–you include many of the things I told myself (and continue to tell myself) after losing my daughter at 41 weeks pregnant. I ended up having another baby and am pregnant again, but, even now, I can’t look at other pregnant people–all I can think about is that their baby will live and mine could die (even though there is no reason for this). When it comes to another pregnancy, I would encourage you to listen to your brain, not your mind when trying to come to a decision whether to pursue that path. The mind makes everything scary and has been so affected by the trauma, it’s trying to protect you. The brain is much more reasoned. Can you tell I’ve also been in therapy? Going off of social media completely pretty much also really helped me…and I found I don’t miss it at all! We are thinking of you guys–you are so strong (even though it SUCKS to be strong!)

    • Oh, I am so sorry, Elly. That is incredibly tragic what you went through. I find myself having a similar mindset to yours. Trying to listen to my heart and brain is extremely difficult as the trauma and grief is so REAL, you know?

      Thank you for the note. x

  • I wish that I had anything to say. I can only imagine the pain, I have miscarried before too but earlier on. I am praying for your comfort and healing.

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