I don't know how to start this post but I really feel I need to. Maybe it'll help someone else. And me.
Last November we were excitedly anticipating adding a baby boy to our family. He was due in March and we were so excited! My heart had so much joy as I got to know his mom and planned his nursery. Finally our dreams for a second child were coming true!
Two days before Christmas our hopes were shattered as we learned she had decided to parent with the father. Immediately I felt peace and respect for her decision.
At the same time I had never felt so much pain.
Waves of pain hit me for the next 2 days. It brought me to the floor in a ball as I sobbed and felt like everything inside me was breaking. I hadn't known your heart could literally break. It can.
I couldn't even go into the baby room and just shut the door.
Christmas morning was beautiful. Despite the tragedy of losing our would-be son, it was a very happy day! I thought to myself, "Great! I'm going to be OK!"
After the Christmas magic died down though I wasn't OK. I was still in pain. I couldn't even pack up the baby clothes. My brave sweet Nathan put the clothes into boxes for me as I sat and cried. I felt horrible that he was the strong one taking care of me, instead of the other way around. It made me cry even more.
I have no idea when I was able to genuinely smile again but I know it was weeks later. During the weeks after Christmas I was exhausted. I couldn't seem to get back into the swing of things. I'd lay on my bed in the afternoon wondering if I'd ever feel happy inside again. And I remember really hoping that I would. I remember thinking how silly I was. How I was being ridiculous grieving for someone who had never really been mine. I wanted to shake it off and I really wanted his due date to pass. I kept pushing myself off my bed to do normal things hoping that would help.
Luckily February brought the Olympics. A GREAT distraction from my pain. During that month I felt I had "healed" enough to text the mom with words of friendship and joy for her. She immediately texted me back grateful and happy for my friendship. Days later she texted me when he was born and his stats. I was so grateful to know he was finally here and hoped that would help me move on with my own life.
In March I continued to try and throw myself back into my life and get back to normal. I thought I was making excellent progress. I was still doing preschool with Nathan and his friends. I was going to church, studying the scriptures, trying to socialize with friends. But what I didn't see was plain to those closest to me. Something was wrong. I was off. For the first time ever I didn't do anything to celebrate St Patrick's Day. One of my favorite holidays. Getting together with friends felt like a chore. Being there for others felt like work and a burden.
At the end of April I visited the mom and the baby. I had some things I wanted them to have. The visit went well and I felt like it brought closure for both of us. I went on my way, continuing in May to do fun things with my family and rocking preschool.
I honestly felt everything was OK.
After preschool got out though I started spiraling down. I didn't even see it until July. Gavin saw it and was concerned but didn't say anything because every now and then I'd have a good day and so he'd hope I was climbing out of it.
By the middle of July I felt like I was losing control of myself. I was lashing out in anger at those I loved most. I broke down to Gavin saying I felt sick inside. I didn't know how else to describe it.
Finally, this week I looked up the stages of grief. And finally the past 8 months made sense.
I had never thought before that I could still be grieving. I hadn't felt the grief to be justified. After all he was never "mine".
I'm still not OK but I can honestly say that for the first time in 8 months I feel like I'm climbing up instead of sliding down. I feel progress inside every day. And every time I talk about it to someone I feel a little bit better. I still have bad days or bad moments.
For the record, no I'd never thought of suicide or wanting to quit or give up. Even in January I had optimism that I would heal and get better. This is grief and depression from loss, not clinical lifelong depression. Although now my heart is more sympathetic to those that do suffer from that kind of depression.
Gavin has been the biggest support and so helpful. He counseled me to grow close to my Savior. As I have, I feel like that's made the biggest difference. As I've drawn closer to Him I've felt the pieces of my heart fall back into place. I've felt things in my life click back into place. I finally feel like my smiles are starting to radiate real happiness.
I hope that as I've bared my soul that you'll be gentle to it. We could all use kindness when life gets hard.
I'm so grateful for my Savior. I'm actually grateful our next child hasn't arrived yet and that God has given me this quiet time to heal. I'm so grateful for the support of my family. Gavin and Nathan's love and patience with me have been the best thing I could have asked for. This has taught me so many things, some that I'm still learning. It's humbled me. It's taught me to be kind to myself, to be conscious about my health and things I'm doing to contribute to that. It's taught me what grief feels like and how I can be a better friend to anyone that goes through it.
I know this is a risk with adoption and I know a lot of people this has happened to. For all I know it could happen again to us. I hope not, but if it does I trust there's a reason and a lesson to be learned.