Grief Without Faith

I spent some time reading pregnancy loss stories tonight. I have a lot to say about facing this kind of loss. But I’m going to leave it with these thoughts for tonight, because otherwise we’ll end up with a long angry ranty piece of work that I don’t really want any of us to have to read right now.  

 

I am thankful for all the stories my fellow empty armed mothers have shared. Despite the horrible reminder of what we’ve all been through, these stories also remind me that I’m not alone, and that the horrible cyclone of grief I experience daily is not abnormal. 

 

I have two issues with all these blogs and articles and stories…. 

 

1. It seems like all these women got to see their baby. I feel like a fraud. There was no fetus. He never made it that far. I can’t even frame a little picture of my alien strongbad looking baby in my womb. Because he never made it that far. All I got was emptiness. They didn’t even let me keep the picture of that hollow darkness. 

 

2. All these stories seem to be from the perspective of Christian women. I need to know how to cope and this view point does not help me. I can’t pretend to believe in a God I don’t believe in just so I can have some comfort. I need to know how to cope as a non religious, non christian, part time earth worshiping tree hugger, with atheistic tendencies. I need to know how to cope from a Non Religious standpoint. Where are the articles for people like me??

 

It’s hard enough dealing with pregnancy and child loss without feeling even further separated from the rest of ‘our kind.’

Where are the articles on Grief without Faith? 

Seriously, please, someone tell me. I’m losing my fucking mind.

 

Unholy Days

A lot of holidays have lost most of their meaning for me in adulthood. I am not religious, but I always celebrated a mix of secular-religious days as a kid, including Christian, Jewish, and Pagan traditions. I’ve had Jewish Seder and Easter egg hunts all in the same weekend. We had a Christmas tree in the living room next to the menorah. I used to drag a fallen branch out of the forest and tie ribbons to it, making a May Pole in the meadow behind our house.

In college, however, my separation grew. We worked through every weekend in the theatre and had class on every bank holiday, so I almost never even remember what day is which and when. The ones I tend to remember (and the ones that never change) are holidays like New Year’s and Christmas.

Even so, holidays have gotten to be progressively harder for me over the past four months. 

Just three weeks after our early November wedding, my husband and I found out we were expecting. The excitement and wonder didn’t last more than a month when at our first prenatal exam we found out that I had a condition called a blighted ovum – which you can read about here. The conclusive pronouncement happened two days before Christmas, crushing any hope I’d had of celebrating my favourite holiday with joy. 

We had told our families on Thanksgiving, the loss came at Christmas, and now at every Holiday I have to muster all my strength not to hide in the bedroom with the door locked when it’s time to go celebrate.

Yesterday was Easter, and we arrived at my in-laws at about 12:00 noon, and sat there at the end of the driveway for at least ten minutes. I could not even open my car door. Nic sat with me holding my hand reminding me that everyone inside loves me and that no one is judging me for what happened – for what I cannot stop myself thinking is my greatest failure, despite my absolute knowledge that there was nothing to be done to change the outcome of that pregnancy and its inevitable loss. I still feel like I lied to them. That I should have waited. That I should have known better than to spread a secret without knowing how much of it was true.

I keep going over every moment from the time we found out until the agonizing final physical loss and on into a future of uncertainty and fear.

A future of should-be-bright holidays.

So many of those days are kid-centric. Like Easter. There were all the cousins’ little ones running around the yard picking up colored eggs filled with chocolate in the bright hot April sunshine, and there was I on the deck, laughing at the antics of these kids that I adore, trying to suppress the ache in knowing that their expected playmate won’t be coming for at least another year, assuming all goes well next time around.

What little connection I had to these myriad holidays has been replaced by sadness and shame, all excitement for these events replaced with anxiety and fear.

Everyone kept wishing me a Happy Easter, and I tried to make it one. But honestly, it was really hard, and as for mainstream holidays, I don’t think I really care anymore.

I think perhaps we’ll just have to make our own holidays from now on. Ones that only my household will celebrate. The days we triumphed personally.  

Our anniversary. The day we met. Our next vacation. Our next adventure.

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