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after miscarriage/stillbirth - normal?

It's been 17 days since we lost Desmond. In some ways, it feels like it just happened yesterday, and in other ways these past two weeks have felt as long as a year.

People's reactions to us are varied. Some people talk to us but don't want to bring up the baby, but we can tell they are concerned for us, and it's appreciated. A few people do bring up the baby, and both David and I are always so happy to talk about him. I know some people may think that talking about him would make us sadder, but the opposite is true. Talking about him makes us feel so much better. But we understand that people don't know what to say or do because we ourselves have been those people who didn't know what to say or do. The only time it's been extremely hard for me has been the two times I've encountered people who I know, know, what has happened (one had signed a group sympathy card, and another had expressed facebook condolences), and these people said nothing to me at all. Not even hello, how are you, nothing, it was like the death of my baby had made me an approachable person, and this hurt me more than the few oddball comments (usually religious in nature) that well-meaning people have made. So, I've learned my lesson, and if I can impart anything to anyone reading this on how to help a friend who has lost her baby, it's this - TALK ABOUT THE BABY. Always. And if you can't bring yourself to talk about the baby, at least give her a hug, ask how she is holding up. Acknowledge that she is experiencing a horrific grief and that you care for her. That's really all there is to do and all that is needed. Ok, off soapbox now.

I have this crazy 10 (almost 11) month old baby to keep me busy. I can't really stay in bed all day and mope because she is busy, busy, busy and constantly into everything. Taking everything out of drawers, cabinets, laundry baskets, purses, anything she can reach! She has also suddenly decided napping is for the birds and so it's full steam ahead from 5am to 8pm most days.

Getting out of the house is really hard for me. This is new, because I've always been the type of person who enjoys - sometimes needs - to get out of the house daily, just to break up the monotony, see other humans, that kind of thing. I have found since losing Desmond that it's just so hard to be around a lot of people, mainly because I can't control when I see pregnant women or baby boys. Seeing those things really sets me off and I feel deeply sad. I have tried grocery shopping at 6am and that helps a little - just me and the shelf-stockers! But I've also forced myself out a couple of times. I took Penny out shopping and to dinner at her favorite Chinese place last weekend and got this in my fortune cookie. Being out for several hours exhausts me in a way I've never experienced before. Maybe it's like what agoraphobics go through every time they have to leave home. 

Sometimes, the sadness just overcomes me. As the days and weeks pass, the severe episodes of it become less frequent at least, but the hardest part is that it's not predictable or controllable. I took Penny to get some ice cream while the other kids were at church activities, and suddenly realized that of the five women there in Orange Leaf, three were pregnant. And I don't wish these women any ill or harm - in fact I hope for nothing but happy endings for all of them - but seeing them just reminds me of what I've lost, of how I *should* be well into the second half of my pregnancy right now. And with things like this, now at 17 days, I can hold in the tears for awhile, but they still have to find their way out later. So an hour after Orange Leaf, while bathing Jacinda in the sink, the sadness of that couples with the sadness of realizing I never got to give Desmond a bath, and the tears come. Is it weird to take sad selfies? I think people should take more of them. I'm a big fan of realistic sharing. This is realistic, no makeup because I'll just cry it off. 

So what does help? Like I said, talking about him helps. I've started a daily ritual of looking at his photographs and saying his name out loud. It helps me remember he was a real person, he is my baby. I am a mother to five children, not only the four here with me now. It helps me to write about him and the whole experience. It helps us both to visit his grave. I didn't think that would ever help, always felt that cemeteries are so sad, but we actually feel so much peace when we go. I think because, again, it reinforces his reality to us. Anything that helps us remember he was here, he was real, and he was our baby, helps us feel better. We all went out there on Sunday morning and spent a little time, took some new decorations. It's going to be a few months before his permanent gravestone is in, but we left things in the meantime. 


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