• Emma

#6 The Complexities of Grief

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

It’s late and I can’t sleep, I’ve just cried for a good solid 20 minutes, proper, ugly, snotty, can’t breathe, cry!

I’ve been in the worst mood these past couple of days and I can’t really explain why. I have been really emotional, struggling to get through the day, snapping at everyone, and just generally not being very nice. I’ve been going through the motions of my life with no real oomph; my get up and go has got up and left. I find myself looking at things around the house and almost hating them because they shouldn’t be there, or they were put there because we were expecting another baby. The blinds in our bedroom for example - my mum and I put them in a week or two before we lost Ellis because our room has the sunlight first thing and I didn’t want the early morning sun to wake our baby up. Now, when I close them at night I get so angry because the job they were supposed to do isn’t there anymore; it makes me want to rip them down and throw them away. I also hate the way Ruby’s room just feels 100 times bigger than it ever used to; every time I go in there and see how full her side of the room is and how “empty” the other side is, it breaks my heart over and over again. It’s not physically empty as she has a mountain of toys in there, but it’s not what is supposed to be there. We should have been tripping over both their toys, their clothes, stressing about storage space, drawer space.

Instead I find myself stuck, trapped, unable to change anything in that room, because by changing it are we saying yet another goodbye to what should have been, are we putting a full stop in our future plans? I feel like all of the baby bits and bobs in the loft are weighing me down; the cot, the highchair, the baby bath all lay heavy on my shoulders. Do I carry that weight in the hope that we will once again need them, or do I pull the plug and get rid of them?

I took a pregnancy test today… it was negative.

I’m only a few days late, which for me is no biggy in my cycle as I’ve never been Miss Regular. But it’s the not knowing, my head can’t cope with the not knowing anymore. We have decided to “try” again, but I’ll be honest, I’m not 100% there; the fear I have of falling pregnant again is bashing heads with the longing in my heart to hold another baby - so much so that I can’t think straight. There are many complex and unstoppable thoughts that come with thinking about pregnancy after loss. Right now, I can’t get past the feeling of betraying Ellis, or the thought of having to tell anyone that I’m pregnant again, and of course, I can’t cope with the possible outcomes:

- Outcome one: we fall pregnant, good pregnancy, baby born alive = guilt

- Outcome two: we fall pregnant, good pregnancy, baby born dead = guilt

- Outcome three: we don’t fall pregnant ever again = guilt

3 different types of guilt, all just as shitty.

Guilt for wanting to have another baby - are we replacing or moving on from Ellis, forgetting him? I know we aren’t, but what will the world think?

Guilt for wanting to try again, and being selfish enough to try again, and then potentially disappointing everyone again by not being able to bring home a healthy happy, crying, cooing baby.


Guilt for not trying again and for not trying to give Ruby a sibling she can actually play with, would she hate me for it? Would she be OK regardless? Would she be a different person because of it? So many ifs and buts, I think my head might explode!

Seeing the negative line on the test today didn’t make me feel any better. I’m disappointed, relieved, and happy, all in one emotional wave. Now I have a bloody waiting game. Waiting for my period to arrive because once it does, I feel I can reset, I can refocus; do we keep trying this month and if so, what can I do differently this time?

So much of me wants to be done with it all - just be pregnant, hibernate for 9 months, and wake up when the baby is here - as quite honestly, pregnancy scares the living bejesus out of me now. I have been saying to my husband for a while now that we will avoid September and October because I can’t face another pregnancy that follows the same timeline as Ellis’. I know a September conception means a June birth, but also knowing that I am likely to be induced early if I do fall pregnant again also means that an October conception could also be a June birth. But then I think, I’m at the point of ‘well, f**k it! Who cares when it’s conceived or when it’s born, just bring the baby home alive and well’!

Pregnancy after any loss is shit. I’ve read so much about it and spoken to many friends who have been through it and it royally sucks, but the potential “reward” at the end… surely that’s enough to keep going? Even if there is only a small chance of bringing home a baby, you’ve got to try, right? I owe everyone that much, I owe myself that much, right? The part of me that thinks, just stop, stop the torment of “trying”, you’ve got Ruby, just count your blessings. That same part also questions me, asks me “is she not enough?”…of course, the answer is always yes. Ruby is absolutely enough, and I will always be truly thankful for her. But I think knowing we were so close to what I’d always dreamed of, what I grew up thinking I would have, what I grew up having - I just can’t quite stop yet.

I need to somehow dig a little deeper, find some more inner strength, and just try my hardest. At least then, if we aren’t fortunate to have another child I will know I did all I could. Not to replace Ellis but to grow our family, to give Ruby the chance to love and hate her sibling in a way only a sibling can. You know it’s the whole “I can slag off my brother but if anyone else does I’m going to punch your lights out”, type thing. I love my brother but god he’s annoying… (sorry Rob, if you’re reading this, but I’m annoying too, so it’s ok!) Would my life have been different if he hadn’t been around, would his life have been different? Yes, but would it have been better? Who knows? All I can say is, I was and am grateful to have had my brother, and everything that having a sibling brought me.

My brain is super busy at the moment, as you can probably tell by my ramblings above. I think I need to take charge again, start taking care of myself a bit more. I’m not very good at the self-love stuff; I like a good yoga session, I enjoy a healthy smoothie or salad, I enjoy exercise, but sometimes I get too into myself that I forget that these things aren’t wants they are actual needs - my mind and my body need time to recharge. Deep down I know self-care is essential, not just for me, but for my whole family – much like if I don’t put my self-care oxygen mask on first, I won’t be able to help my family with their own oxygen masks – it’s about being physically and emotionally full of “oxygen” in order to take care and prepare for the future, to be able to stop and actually breathe, and to hopefully improve my mood going forwards, for me and my family…

…and I guess on that note, I really should get some sleep as my battery is nearly at 1%!

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PARENTING THROUGH LOSS