Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The new road

For the first few weeks after Quinn died, my mind and body were confused.  My body had a baby, then prepared to nurture her.  My body needed her.  My milk came in.  My chest yearned for skin to skin.  My arms needed to hold her.  However, after a while, my body came to terms that there was no baby physically here.  My milk [painfully] went away and my arms held her urn instead. 

Next, my mind had to learn there was no baby.  When I held Quinn in the hospital after birth, my mind played tricks on me and saw her eyes flutter and nose wiggle.  Over time, as my mind tried to conceptualize that Quinn was dead, I was still making decisions as if I was still pregnant or if she was born alive. 

A glass of wine?  No thanks.  Medicine for my headache?  I’ll pass.  During a long run, I still think, “I shouldn’t have time for this.”  I should be learning how to mother two living children, while also being a wife and a full-time employee.  Going on a 6+ mile run should be the furthest thing from my mind.  When Josh, R, and I are in a groove where we all have our role and things go smoothly, I miss the new energy that was supposed to join our family and shake it up.  We are supposed to have new challenges and new joys that are absent.  I guess we still have new challenges - just not the way I thought we would.

I’ll never forget my first day back to work after my leave and my instinct was to use the elevator to get up to my office [doctor’s orders while pregnant].  I had a lengthy conversation with my brain that said, “You are not pregnant, she was born still.  She is not inside you but she is not here either.  Even though you can’t see her, you gave birth to her and you are not pregnant anymore.”  These moments recur and hit me out of nowhere.  My body is neither pregnant nor nursing, but my mind still can’t understand why not. 

In the weeks and months since Quinn died, I am so grateful to be openly embraced by so many loving family members and friends.  We’ve gone on several wonderful trips to see family in other parts of the country, but sometimes I can’t help think, “We shouldn’t be here.”  We should be at home amidst sleepless nights and keeping our baby incubated from the germs of the outside world in her early weeks and months.  When on a family visit, I look around the room and think that a daughter-sister-niece-cousin is missing and I see the space where she should be. 

Reprogramming my brain to accept my new reality reminds me of two daily inspirations from Martha Whitmore Hickman’s book, “Healing After Loss”:

Daily inspirations
Daily inspiration: May 14
Daily inspirations
Daily inspiration: May 21
I do not feel like I am living in denial but I think my subconscious defaults to “how life is supposed to be,” and I am training myself to walk the new road, step by step.  Decisions like traveling to see family, having wine with dinner, or having the freedom to take any medication I wish aren’t supposed to be part of my life right now, but they are on my new road that I am very slowly learning to walk.  Even though it’s not the road I thought I would be on or want to be on, it’s the one I landed on and I can only go forward…slowly. 

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