Thursday, June 18, 2009


I feel like I am in some kind of black hole, a void of sorts.  I am a horse walking along a dark road with blinders on and cotton in my ears.  It is a road I have walked on before, so I'm not falling in any  holes or crashing into trees, but I'm not giving into anything around me, either. 
I am here in a rainy, cool June, muddling along with my two little children by my side, going through the motions of my life and actually enjoying the ride as well, but with blinders on both sides so that I can't see into my past or my future. Really. At all. 
I cannot specifically say what is at the root of this, although it is not difficult for me to hypothesize. My past holds loss, sadness, and despair as the beginning of my mothering journey. As those experiences become more and more part of my history with the passage of time, so also does the optionality of considering those experiences on a daily basis. I can remember Charlotte as a part of my life, at this point, without choosing to remember the associated pain and agony of her loss. I can just think of her. While there is something about this that makes my heart sing at the liberation of it all, I also bemoan the ordinariness of being able to just ponder such a great loss on a rather mundane level. Still, at the crux of this is my facility with dissociating myself completely from the painful memories at will, and this spring I find myself much more likely to do this than I ever have in the past. 
This is unusual only because I like the pain sometimes, I crave the recall of the rawness of the loss because somehow the deep sadness represents my love and commitment to Charlotte. To choose not to recall those painful moments on such a regular basis sometimes means I am remembering the actual time around her birth and death less, and this is not a choice I like to make. 
But clearly there is a source to this, and the source is as we speak squirming around inside my belly and causing me a great deal of confusion. This is because I still have not accepted the truth of this pregnancy, I still quiver at the concept of believing it to be true. The risk of speaking of this baby as real, as fact, as there seems too great a risk for me to take, and so I resist looking into the future in much the same way as I am currently avoiding glances towards my past. I cannot go there. I want it to be real, but I cannot believe that it will be. I feel squiggles and blips and rather than delighting in this obvious sign of vitality and well-being, I find myself listing off the other bodily functions that could be causing such sensations. I am doing more than knocking on wood when I speak of my future, I speak with downcast eyes as if I am telling a lie, as if I am misleading myself and others on a mythical journey that will never materialize. I don't like this, either. 
Where is my relationship with this baby, when I can't even admit that it's there? I know that by the 18th week with both Liam and Aoife I was not in such a state of denial. So why now? I just write notes of apology in the baby's book, over and over, trying to explain that I don't know why it's so difficult this time, but it is. 
So I am here, in the here and now, working not to look back, or forward, but wanting to do both. May the warmth of the summer sun bring the energy I need to go to the places I need to go. 


Hope's Mama said...

Right there with you Carol. Hold on xoxo

Taking Heart said...

I suffered a loss in my early adulthood. It was not a loss as complex as yours, but a loss nonetheless. I don't speak of it often. I secretly went to a counselor years ago to work through the pain I carried. She told me as the years go by, the pain will get smaller and smaller... but the markings it left in me would never fade.
I was very angry when she told me that. I feel something was stolen from me... something I can never have back. And, for the pain to be smaller, meant to me that the profoundness of the experience was smaller.
15 years later... I am different. I am numb when I think of it, yet I don't feel the stab anylonger.
My life would not be the same without that horrible experience. I would not be where I am, or have who I have in my life without it.
Yet, I still "carry it" in a sense. There is no "weight" to my pain anylonger... but... numbness. I am too fearful to say "regret"... because I would never wish for a different husband or children... I do not regret them. I have to be careful how I label that pain.
It's lonely.

Praying for you comfort.

Ya Chun said...

in a few weeks those flutters will be harder and harder to ignore... and it sounds like you are doing a good job of taking it one day at a time.

kris said...

I think of you often these days, Carol. I hope these weeks go quickly for you. I can't imagine, but I understand the confusion and uncertainty--it's hard to hope for what could and will be when you know the reality of the worst. The sun is shining here in central MA...I hope you get some sunshine soon.

Dalene said...

I guess that, no matter how many living children you bear after losing your first, it doesn't get any easier. The fear and the trepidation remain.

charmedgirl said...

i am going to go out on a limb, risking being an asshole and everything.

my thought reading this post is, you have been thinking about having THREE CHILDREN for quite a few years now. the third is charlotte, and so having three children was magical and secret and forbidden. now, NOW, you may very well (and most probably) soon have three alive children...and so, your new magical number is four. for some reason, there is some untold threshold which is passed by going from two children to three. in your case, this threshold-passing is not as concrete...because you ALREADY HAVE THREE CHILDREN!! your brain is in a tizzy about it, and no friggin wonder.

just do whatever it is you need to do, carol. this baby is not charlotte, and is also not liam or aoife...and you are not the same mother to this baby as you are to your other three. allow it to be what it is...without apologies. i have learned much of this way of thinking from you, my dear happy-sad friend over the internet. just hold on.