I already tagged this post, "Being German" and I don't even know where it's going yet. I just know it's going to have something to do with my steely exterior and love of non-sweet sweets. Seriously, ever try cake and coffee in Germany? It's like washing down a chalk waffle with tar and we like it that way. I am currently lifting kids into carts at CostCo while fighting contractions at 5 centimeters dilated. I mean really, what is physical pain? It's just a thing, like numbers or grape juice or joy. I don't really succomb to pain for some reason. I accept it as part of life. I recognize pain as unpleasant and deal with it like taxes or vacuuming - just things I'd rather not be doing, but that must be done. Unsurprisingly, my relationship with grief is equally nuanced.
Out of love and care for those always around me and to avoid uncomfortable feelings of those around me sometimes, I decided to move on from my grief about the twin. I don't refer to the pregnancy as "the twins" as well-meaning people have been doing lately. I changed the remaining baby's name to jibe more with her older sisters than to compliment her twin (she was going to be Ivy, but stay tuned for the final reveal!) I didn't join any grief groups. My blog posts are back to Maria Kang-style topics (is that like Gangnam style with more gifs?).
That is not to say those things aren't right for other people. You do you, Internet. I'm just trying to explain my actions and why I came across as a cold, cold lady on a HuffPost Live segment about still birth yesterday.
The other parents on the panel seemed to have it together. They had a group, jokingly referred to off-air as the dead baby club. I appreciate the macabre humor. I mean, what are you going to do? May as well laugh. The other parents seemed to embrace their circumstances. One guy made a movie about still birth with Minnie Driver. Another set of parents revealed they do not want closure and the keep the memory of their stillborn son alive with his first initial decorating the house. Their losses neared a decade ago in some cases, and yet the grief had become part of their lives as big as any other family member. They leave a figurative place at the table for the child they lost.
Here I was, having not even delivered my deceased baby yet and I'm like, "I just want to move on". I do. I did. It kind of made me feel like a shitty mom for saying I want closure at delivery and to get on with my life focused on my other children. To me, life is for the living. I mean, what happened to us was a sad thing, but I can't live in that sadness forever. I've already moved on to joy about the family I have living. I feel bad, but I'm not bringing the other baby up to people. Her mementos are stashed in a box out of view. I don't refer to her by name.
There's not a right and a wrong way to deal with grief. I have to give myself the space to do things my way. I just don't feel justified grieving my loss for an extended period of time and, this will sound terrible I guess, but it's because she wasn't born alive. I can't imagine losing a 10-year-old or a pre-teen or a toddler. I'd probably be devastated until the end of time. And yes, I'm sad and scared about coming to terms with things at the delivery. Sadness isn't comparable though. You just have to figure out how much space to give it in your life.
I love my older girls not just because they're mine, but because I've gotten to know them. We have memories of snuggling and playing Zingo and that time at Christmas when Bee rescued my scarf from around the snowman because she said I needed it more. It's indeed sad we never got that with the twin who passed, but we didn't. I hope I honored her short life with my crusade about water pollution. Beyond that, I'm not sure I can carry the weight of grief any further. It will always be a little part of my heart. Of course. However, when people ask me how many kids I have, the answer is two until it's three (God willing, may true labor kick in tonight) and that's the end of it.
We'll soon be a family of five.
Like, share this post and read more mildly amusing stuff on my Facebook page!
Also, sign my petition against the EPA for allowing a harmful herbicide, known to cause the birth defects that claimed my daughter, to continue to contaminate our public water supply. Don't get sick, get MAD!
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.