“Hello, I am Jessica and I am the mother of a stillborn baby.”
I know that sounds terrible, and totally callous, but the wonderful thing about having a blog like mine, is that it’s personal and it’s emotional and it’s about what I feel, whether wrong, or right feelings are individual and honest. I desperately want this blog to be the real me, not just some sugar-coated version that people feel comfortable reading. This process has been messy, and ugly and incredibly beautiful all at the same time. Funny how time and perspective can make “beauty from ashes.”
I was blessed with an enormous amount of resources in the hospital after having Ireland. I never really thought about the fact that the hospital would have kits for mamas who go home with empty arms. I was one of them, and I was thankful for the information. Along with the packet of information, there was a card about a support group for parents of babies who had died in the womb or just after. The nurse told me about the group and encouraged me to go. She also asked if I was ok with the hospital giving the facilitators my information, so that they could make contact with me. I said that was fine, mostly to pacify the nursing staff. When I got home I ignored that card. I didn’t want to go to a group, where I would have to sit and face people who like me were broken and bereft. I didn’t want to know about anyone elses pain, I just wanted to wallow in mine.
A couple of weeks after Ireland’s birth, I was sitting in my car on my lunch break, and my phone rang. I had been expecting several calls, and so without thinking I answered it. It was the facilitator of the support group. Immediately I bristled, I wasn’t ready to admit that Ireland was really gone, and that I needed the support of other women who understood. She introduced herself, and started asking me questions about my baby. Immediately I felt at ease, she wasn’t selling her group, she was getting to know ME. The broken, bruised and battered shell of a person, who was just sort of floating along and trying to make it from point A to point B.
We talked for most of my lunch hour, and finally she asked me if I wanted to come to her group, I said that I would appreciate her sending me the information, but I wasn’t sure. So she sent me the next meeting time, and also sent my information on to her co-facilitator. I have emailed back and forth with both of them, talked to them both on the phone, and have become their facebook friends, but until today I have never been brave enough to go to a meeting.
The group had a Family BBQ today at the group leaders house, and I decided (somewhat cowardly) that it was a perfect way to go and actually meet the ladies face-to-face, and not have the pressure of being at a meeting. Kids are a natural diffuser of situations and they require attention, so I decided if things got to be too much to handle, I could always use “nap time” as an excuse. I shouldn’t have worried, it was a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours, not only were their other husbands for Kev to talk to, there were kids all over, and my boys had a great time.
I spent two hours talking to mamas who understood me completely, ones who have had their hopes and dreams crushed and have survived. It was reassuring to talk to them, and to know that the feelings that I have with our loss, as well as the feelings that I have as I progress through this pregnancy are normal, and that I am NOT crazy. I feel crazy sometimes, and sometimes my thoughts and behaviors start to make me wonder if there is something wrong with me. I had those doubts reaffirmed by a friend of mine the other day, I was telling her about some anxiety triggers that I have, and her response was, “You have problems.” That really made me wonder if I was a little out to lunch. I thought I was doing ok, but after her comment I wasn’t so sure. So when I finally told these gals our story, I didn’t get the common, deer in the head lights look, I got a hug and a smile, and someone to share with me how they figured out how to keep moving forward.
I know that to some of you , the thoughts of a group of women talking about our dead children is morbid, but I feel quite the opposite. It is hopeful, it is healing and it reaffirms the fact that we are all walking this path together, and that others may forget our experiences. But we as a small group, of broken mama’s will never forget the impact that these small lives had on our hearts. I thank God for those small blessings.
So, “Hi my name is Jessica, and I am the mother of a stillborn baby. From now on I’ll say those words gladly, and Thank you Molly and Traci, for not giving up on me. I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.
PS, look at the fish I caught this weekend…..if you look closely you can see it…………..I love my brother-in-law, he takes the hooks out, that part makes me gag a little. But then he makes me kiss them, and squirts fish goo on me. So maybe next-time I’ll take the hook out myself.