This is the first time I've blogged about the Under the Tree project. You can go to Under the Tree via the button on the sidebar. It's a great way to connect with other mamas. I hope to participate as often as I remember and make some new friends too!
So here are the questions for April.
How long has it been since you lost your child/ren? Has your grief changed at all? Is your life becoming any easier or is it just harder as time passes?
It has been six and a half months since we last held our daughter in our arms. That long since the last time I would kiss her soft cheek, smell her sweet hair and touch her chubby little hands. I think the first few months are filled with shock. I was very ill after our daughter was born, so it was touch and go most of the time. I was living minute by minute just trying to survive. So in reality I didn't have an opportunity to grieve or even acknowledge what was happening around me. It wasn't until now that I really started the grieving process, whatever that may be. So when the shock of leaving your child and saying goodbye subsides you are left with something powerful and raw. You look at the world with different eyes. I swing between different emotions. I have learnt that there is no right or wrong way to live through this. Carly from names in the sand wrote in her story that there are two paths. It will either break you or shape and mould you into who you are. I switch between these two paths on a daily basis. Sometimes I feel like it's going to break me and how on Earth do I keep going. I just do. Some days I think it's harder as the time passes but as I said earlier for me I'm only just beginning my journey. I've learnt the pain that can accompany love. I've learnt compassion and entered into a sacred circle where so many mothers are standing and sharing stories of loss. Somedays I carry the heaviest of weights upon my shoulders, other days it's lighter. It goes in cycles and eventually you let it pour out of your heart and soul. You pick yourself up and continue walking until you fall down again. Over and over again.
How do you feel when you see pregnant women when you are out and about?
For me as a doula and my whole life being passionate about pregnancy and birth I was left feeling like I had been crushed and shattered. How on Earth could I support women now? What can I offer? But it's a reality that death is also a part of life. It's the cycle we all endure, most of the time we just don't acknowledge it until we are face to face with it. At first I wanted to go up to pregnant women and scream at them how easily it could all be taken away, of course I didn't! I still have a deep longing when I see pregnant women. I want to be them. I so desperately want to go back to that time when it was all okay. It's almost like a double edged sword because I'm grieving the loss of my womb too. So seeing and being surrounded by pregnant women is like a slap in the face reminding me that I'll never be pregnant again. I no longer have that choice, that's gone too, along with my daughter. There were three babies all born around the same as Yuna was and that is a constant reminder of how old she would have been and the things she would have been doing. Every time I see them I wonder what she would have looked like and that she should be on the floor playing with them. There are so many layers of feelings. I'm slowly working through how to turn what I feel into something useful. I do hope that one day I can share my story and continue to support and offer childbirth education to women and families to birth with love and passion.
Whats your therapy in the aftermath of losing your child/ren? Do you go to counseling? Do you do artwork or some kind of exercise or do you simply just let yourself be? What helps you?
I am lucky to have very caring friends that offer an endless supply of support, I just wish they were closer and I didn't find it so difficult to express myself. It's easier to blog because you can get it out and still be alone, no one sees you crying. I went to a counsellor who specialises in PTSD and that was helpful for the time being but I haven't been again. I didn't feel that talking about it with a counsellor was helping.There are only so many times you can say it over and over. I journal/blog as often as I can. I seem to surround myself in a million tasks in order to escape reality a lot of the time. I was sewing, scrap booking, painting and writing. I think it's good to do that for a little while but ultimately you have to come back into the real world! I do those things every now and then and it feels good to let go for a while. On a day to day basis I use bush flower essences for PTSD and anxiety, grief and loss which I cannot live without. They get me through the days and allow me to cope better. I go to the gym a couple of times a week and try to do the Yoga classes. I love the feeling of putting headphones in and running it out on the treadmill. It's what I want to do sometimes, just run and run and run and never look back.
I look at her photo's a lot and found great comfort in making slide shows and making our pregnancy and birth DVD, even if i haven't shared it with anyone.
That being said, some days I just be. I do nothing. The washing stays in the laundry, the dishes in the sink and I just go inside my own head and try to breathe. Try to live through another day without Yuna.