I’ve never been truly depressed before. I’ve had down moments and I’ve spent some time crying in the past. But last week it occurred to me that this is what it feels like to be truly clinically depressed. No motivation, no energy, wanting to sleep all the time, crying at the drop of a hat alternating with moments of complete lack of emotion of any kind, snapping at people because you’re just plain cranky and when you realize you’re treating them poorly you start crying all over again, feeling in a misty haze as you wander around pretending to be normal. Anger alternating with extreme sorrow. Then just not caring at all.
Or maybe that’s not depression. Maybe this is just grief.
I want to talk about this, share it, post about it on Facebook…but I feel so selfish being this anguished about an 8-week-old fetus when I know people who have lost babies and children they felt, knew, loved. It’s hard not to feel inferior. Like I’m being ridiculous to grieve like this and dwell on something so common.
Then there’s the jealousy. Every baby picture hurts my heart because I simultaneously want to squeeze and hug and kiss all over them…and want to cry and scream at the cosmos for taking that reality away from me this time.
And after that I feel guilty because I have two amazingly smart and beautiful and sweet girls who are my world. I should be focusing on them, not the baby we’ll never know. And I can get pregnant again. We will have that third child. Some people had not only the reality of a child they loved reversed, but the dreams of any future children dashed in one fell swoop. So I feel guilt for not being grateful for what I have and spending so much time mourning what I’ve lost.
This isn’t my first bout of guilt since that awful grey Thursday. The first round came a day or two after finding out there was no heartbeat and it came in the form of, “What did I do?” Did I drink too much coffee? Did I work too hard while visiting a pregnant friend to help her prep the house for her baby? What about that one Sunday when I spent an hour or two raking and bending and picking up debris and squatting and kneeling? Did I overdo it on the carbs this early? Was it because I forgot to start taking my prenatal vitamins until I was six weeks along? What did I do to hurt my baby when I should have been protecting it? How did I kill my baby?
And now we’re at 11 days since we found out we lost our baby. And I’m smiling. And laughing. And feeling joyful again. The sun came out on Saturday and it was the first really sunny sky since The Day had happened. I hadn’t realized what an effect the rainy grey and dreary days had on my psyche until I saw the sun in all its glory. Sunday was a happy day–I did an on-the-job interview, worked in my yard, went grocery shopping, got coffee, watched my kids play outside, read a book, and went to a graduation party. I laughed and joked and talked and smiled. It was a pretty normal spring Sunday. The first day I didn’t feel numb or close to tears.
It’s strange…there’s a little feeling of guilt in me over that, too. I feel like I should be sadder for longer than I have been. Not that I’m “over” what has happened, nor am I any less affected by the reality of what it all means. But the fact that I once again feel genuinely happy in my life is both hugely relieving and a little guilt-inducing, like I’m not honoring the baby like I should. Like I put on a “woe is me” show to garner sympathy and then jumped right back into being me. Like it was all an act. Or like I dreamed it all. A horrible, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking nightmare of a dream.
There’s no perfect answer to how I “should” be feeling. The only truth is that I’m feeling how I feel and that’s just part of the journey. A journey that has changed my life.