It's OK

Monday, May 21, 2018

Six months. Six months have passed since my ectopic pregnancy ruptured and we lost our baby at almost 12 weeks.

I felt weirdly disconnected from my emotions for a long time after it happened. It's like my brain shut off all emotional responses. In the weeks that followed my operation I felt so normal. It felt wrong to feel so normal, to be able to carry on as if nothing had happened, to laugh, to work. But that's what I did.

But it didn't last. And I'm glad it didn't because it was just putting off the inevitable. Grief finds you, one way or another, sooner or later.

In those first weeks I read a lot about grief. I was relieved and comforted to discover that feeling removed from it was normal. I was most likely in shock, it was after all the most traumatic thing that had ever happened to me.

Depression is the 4th stage. 'I think I've skipped that stage' I thought to myself. But I just hadn't got there. And then I felt it - feeling low, tired, unenthusiastic. I have a creative job, and this suffered as a result, not only did I find it hard to summon up the enthusiasm to sit at my desk, I also found it hard to be creative, I hated everything I did, often deleting files in anger to start all over again.

It wasn't until I realised that the depression part of grief had arrived, that I allowed myself some time. I didn't put myself under any pressure, and slowly, I begun to feel better.

Remember how I didn't bother to take any photos for my Winter Capsule Round-up? It's so glaringly obvious to me now that that was part of the depression. The enjoyment I found in so many different everyday things had left me.

I was left feeling low, confused, tearful, and alone. I felt so alone.

A few months had passed since my operation by this time, and everyone had stopped asking if I was OK. It was old news, I should be moving on by now. But I wasn't. And that was something I read when I was Googling 'The Seven Stages of Grief' on a daily basis.

Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. Source

Well meaning friends told me to 'look to the future', to 'look at the positives'. But what I needed was to be allowed to not be OK for a while. Not being OK was part of the process, a shitty part, but a necessary one.

I didn't want to be told to 'try not to think about it', I wanted to explore it. I needed to explore it in order to move on, to heal.

The best piece of advice I received was to "stare your grief right in the face and stare that fucker down. Name your feelings, recognise and own them and you will start to feel in control of them a little". I remembered these words months later, when I was feeling at my lowest, and they helped so much. Everyone wanted me to feel better, to be happy, and that's absolutely understandable but it's not what I needed.

I wanted someone to say 'it's OK not to be OK'.

The kindest words I received were from a friend's Mum, she said "life is never quite the same again after something like that happens". And with that I knew she understood. I knew she wouldn't try to make me feel better, we just stood in silence, no words were necessary.

I think about the baby I lost everyday. Some days I linger with those thoughts for a while before moving on, sometimes it's a fleeting thought, gone in seconds. Some days the thoughts don't make me sad, and that's how I know I'm healing.

I used to go to see our Remembrance Tree almost everyday, I waited as the buds grew fatter and eventually burst open and bloomed. It looked beautiful. The blossoms coincided with a turning point, nothing I can put my finger on, but a general acceptance that I was feeling lighter, less scared and more positive.

I'm left with memories, hopes, and a feeling that I'll never be quite the same again. But it's OK, life makes us who we are. And what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger.

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14 comments

  1. I'm glad you got the advice to stare grief right in the face. Hiding your feelings away, even unintentionally, will only make matters worse. It actually takes courage to give into your feelings, but in my book that's the only way to deal with it and come out stronger at the other end. Of course things will never be the same again, but you're a survivor and at some point you will be able to give what has happened a place. I love that you've found solace in that lovely Remembrance Tree. xxx

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    1. Thanks Ann. It was certainly good advice, I don't tend to hide away from things but to have someone say it was really helpful.
      xx

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  2. It must particularly difficult right now, around the time you would have been bringing a baby home had things not gone the way they did.

    Somehow, I saw something online over the weekend, an ectopic pregnancy charity and the had pin badges and the like for sale - I thought of you.

    I'm glad your tree has helped in your grieving process a little.

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    1. It true, there are a lot of thoughts about how different life would've been...
      x

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  3. I was thinking about you and your ectopic pregnancy at the weekend and wondering how you were. Of course it's ok not to be ok, grief is a profound thing that is long-seated,it always remains a part of us. Sending you hugs. xx

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    1. Thank you for thinking of me Kezzie. I do feel that something has shifted, a weight lifted recently, but yes, grief never leaves us.
      I understand that when someone sees someone else hurting they want to make it better, to take away the pain, but feeling and dealing with the pain is such an important part of the grieving process
      xx

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  4. People who haven't encountered loss really struggle with those of us that have, after Mum died people would often cross the road or look the other way. It's not that they don't care, it's just that that they don't know what to say and worry that the mere mention will bring on floods of tears.
    We Brits don't deal well with grief - we do need to stare it in the face, confront and finally accept it.
    Loss, like love, shouldn't define us but instead make us stronger. xxx

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    1. Loss is difficult, it's impossible to know what to say, and nothing will make it better, but ignoring it won't help. Everything needs to be confronted and dealt with.
      You're right, grief should make us stronger, and I do feel it, I feel changed, and that's fine, you can't through something like this and remain unchanged.
      xx

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  5. Oh Hazel. I think grief can be a funny thing - sometimes it doesn't rear up and other times it does. We are all here for you - and if you ever want to talk, just let us know!

    https://lizziedailyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Thanks Lizzie, I always know that there is a huge amount of support out there in blogland :)

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  6. I guess there's not much to say (in person, I would give you a hug and bring you a giant mug of tea and a cookie), but I admire you for being so strong (even if it doesn't feel like it) by acknowledging what you're going through. I have thought of you often these past few months and am glad that the journey of grief has started to shift for you. x

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    1. And I'd love that! Tea makes everything better. I think it's so important to really feel all the feels, ignoring them achieves nothing.
      Thank you for thinking of me, reading that made me smile
      xx

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  7. So good to see your positive post and how you are moving through this difficult time.

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  8. So very sorry for your loss. I know things will never quite be the same but you are very strong to stare your grief right in the face. Your remembrance tree sounds very beautiful and a wonderful way to honor and remember.

    Rebecca

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Thank you for taking the time to comment x

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