To my 24 year old self…..(Part 1)
*****TRIGGER WARNING – MISCARRIAGE*****
There are so many things I can think of that I wish I could tell my past self. Don’t we all think that to some extent though? I know that I’m only where I am now because of everything I’ve been through, but sometimes I daydream and wonder what life would be like now if I’d known things back then that I do now. There are so many points in time I can think of, but being 24 stands out as one of those years where so much happened that I learned from, so much heartbreak and so much joy. Here’s what I would tell myself…..
“You’ve just turned 24, and I know you’re reeling from the devastating miscarriage you lived 2 months ago. Even though, rationally, you believe that you will carry another baby to term, you’re feeling like holding your baby safe in your arms is an impossible feat. Everything is incredibly raw. The world crumbled beneath your feet and although you’re desperately trying to rebuild the ground on which you stand on, it’s more like you’re struggling in quicksand. I know you’re conflicted between not wanting to feel anything, and desperately not wanting to lose the true, devastating feelings of what you’ve lost. The enormity of those feelings are enough to make you think you will drown in sorrow but at the same time you cannot comprehend ever feeling less, that doing so would mean this baby didn’t matter.
I want to tell you that this baby mattered so much. Everything you are feeling now, and will feel from now on is legitimate. Even today, more than 6 years later, I still have guilt that life moved on. I have some things that I can take from everything that happened though. I would not be the person I am today if I hadn’t lost this baby. Although I would give most things to have him/her here with me today as opposed to having that personal growth, I take comfort in knowing that there are some positive things that stemmed from such a horrendous thing. I know you are thinking I’m awful. I’m not you. I would never, ever feel this way. I’m an impostor. How could I say such things?
Well, the truth of the matter is that this baby was the catalyst to the family life you are living today. Nothing can ever take away the loss of life, and nothing should. You will wonder more times than you can possibly count, how life would be different if s/he had lived. Playing out every milestone in your head. You will realise, through a guilt like nothing you’ve ever known, that if your baby hadn’t died, you wouldn’t have your 3 youngest sons. These boys who you look at and cannot imagine a life without, and that to do so threatens to tear you to pieces. You will battle with these feelings, telling yourself that if this baby had lived then you would have had other children too, others that you could equally bear not to live without.
In the end, the only thing you can do to survive is to focus on what you have in your life now. You know that if you entertain the thoughts deep down you will be consumed with guilt, regret and misery. Knowing what you have is what gets you through each day. For example, take the day you find out you are pregnant with Logan. It’s in a month and a half’s time – Tuesday 30th March 2010. This is the date that everything starts to change for the better. The date you are begging to be told, that day in the future that will bring you a glimmer of hope. Just shy of 4 months after you knew something was wrong. You know that this is it, this cycle, yet you dare not quite believe yourself in case you have another huge blow. You will want to wait until April 1st (Niamh’s birthday and the earliest you let yourself test when you found out you were pregnant with your last baby – you knew then too), but your friend is having a planned C-section on the same day, and don’t want your happiness for her clouded by your devastation of not being pregnant.
So you test 2 days earlier (10 days past ovulation, with a 12-13 day luteal phase), once Tom’s left (so that he doesn’t have to be dealt that same blow before heading to work) and cry bitter tears in the dim light of a late winter’s morning as you stare down at that one pink line in the bathroom. You move into the bedroom, crying your heart out. You look at the test again through sobs and think “what a cruel trick, my tears are making me see things”. To prove to yourself that someone is having a laugh, you move to the blinds and let the natural light in. You stop, shocked. Squint. Can hardly believe it, but yes! There is the faintest of faint lines. There is a second line. You wonder if you are actually imagining it but you know it is real. Even when your camera can’t pick it up, you know that your eyes aren’t deceiving you and you well up with the most immense joy! Almost as quickly as it came, it passes into fear. What now, if it’s true? Then again, uncontrollable happiness and excitement! Swinging from one to the other is going to be your life for the next 8+ months.
Even as this glimmer of hope starts to shine through, you have no idea of what the coming months will hold in terms of your physical health. In just over a week you will injure yourself at work, which is the catalyst to a pregnancy full of physical pain as well as what is already there emotionally and mentally. Looking back I wonder if the physical helped distract a bit from the emotional pain. Know that every single second is worth it. Every second of every feeling is a part of the path you will walk to where you are now.”
To be continued…..