“Deep down here by the dark water lived old Gollum, a small slimy creature. I don’t know where he came from, nor who or what he was. He was Gollum — as dark as darkness, except for two big round pale eyes in his thin face.”J.R.R.Tolkein Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring.
Today was supposed to be Ponyo’s due date.
Sometimes, there are days on this journey when you just feel… well… shit. To put it mildly. These days can have no rhyme or reason, no trigger or causative factor, but they hit hard emotionally. These days usually involve me forcing myself to be ok with sitting on the couch, playing video games or something quiet and letting myself accept that this is part of grief and time to myself to allow it to happen is all part of healing.
I was talking to someone the other day who was telling their story of their miscarriage. She said that she didn’t have a ‘trigger’ for what had happened to her until 2 years after the fact whilst watching a TV show where the character was going through a miscarriage themselves. It’s honestly the strangest of things that can ‘set you off’ or trigger an emotional response. Often, I find that it’s usually things I would never expect to cause me grief. Such as a close friend announcing a pregnancy on Facebook – I should be happy right? And when you realise you aren’t happy because you wish that was you, it makes you feel awful and like you’re a bad person. It’s a bit of a double edged sword really… you either put on a face and feel exhausted for doing so and internalize all your emotions so you don’t project your feelings onto another innocent person, or you be honest and feel like a bad person for being a wet blanket and for making the person feel bad for announcing their happy news.
Even lunches out with friends where they talk about their kids can be a random trigger, but sometimes they aren’t. I have been on many a lunch date or social occasion where friends of mine have their kids there and the topic is usually about that and I have been fine. So is it a build up? Or is it just where your mind is on that particular day.
Makes me feel a bit like Gollum and Smeagol to be honest sometimes. This crazy little creature hiding in the darkness with a split personality. One part telling me how worthless I am and the other trying to ignore it.
Gollum kind of works for so many of the emotional aspects of our journey. For example:
- I feel like I have two personalities, one Smeagol who is kind, introverted, anxious and who tries to do the right thing, and one Gollum who talks so horribly to Smeagol and is dark, grouchy and generally a pest.
- Gollum follows Frodo and Sam like a shadow and tries to stray them from their path to get what he wants. I feel like there is a little dark creature following me around telling me bad things about myself and my path as well as generally just being an ominous cloud in the background.
- Gollum also reminds me of pregnancy forums which can sometimes be helpful and sometimes feel obsessive and very anxiety causing. I say this with love, but for me, these forums are easy to fall into as you frantically google things to try and find something to cling to. The problem is, a lot of the discussion involves counting… counting everything from days before ovulation, days past ovulation, to cycles, to body temperatures, pregnancy hormones, blood test results… I could go on. They even have a their own online language for things (DH, SO, DPO, BFP, BFN, CM, EWCM, HPT, POAS…. the list goes on). Now, bear in mind that most people accessing forums are anxious and concerned and looking for reassurance, so there is a lot of emotions and anxiety in reading responses. For some people, this is super helpful – that is completely understandable and fine. For me… it felt a little like “my precioussssssssss..” and made me feel more anxious, more desperate and generally not great. Each to their own, but this is just my journey.
- Gollum also becomes who he is through repeated trauma, ignorance and loss of will power to be able to take an alternative pathway, removal from his ability to be social and in social situations and generally a shell of himself through this never-ending quest to obtain his ‘precious’ or the ring. Sometimes, I feel like if I let it.. I would be like him. Desperate and consumed by the emotion and the pull of having a baby. So much so that it destroys who I am and creates this monster that no one wants to be around. You see glimpses of this in Frodo when the ring takes over… signs of the potential for him to turn just as Smeagol did. I refuse to let that be me.
The last sentence there:
“I refuse to let that be me”
Is why my Samwise and I have decided to take a much needed (and deserved) break from our journey. Time to ourselves to be able to heal emotionally, and physically and prepare for the journey again in time. Our specialist has confirmed that this would be a good idea and has also taken me off my thyroid medication (YES!) as things look normal now that I am not in hormonal chaos! Even after a week or so, we are already feeling the weight lifted and enjoying our space and time together without pressure or anxiety.
The reality is, the emotions are still there.
Because I knew that today was the due date, I was a little more prepared to have a bit of an emotional day. So that does help a little.
I thought I would put that quote in above because it links in with my previous posts where I have discussed negative and positive emotions. I think it allows you to realise that grief comes from a place of love and is certainly nothing to push aside or try and ignore. It is what it is, healing takes time and we are all completely different.
I read this amazing article (which I did share on Facebook and will link below) which spoke to me so well. It talks about miscarriages and infertility as being ‘trauma’ and the depression and emotional aftershocks are similar to those with cancer or terminal illnesses. This is huge. I think that because miscarriages and infertility are not life threatening, we feel bad for feeling such strong emotions. After all, we are still here … right?
Please give it a read. One of the quotes that really hit home was this one:
“Somewhere along the journey, many of us stop feeling as though it is something that is happening to us, but instead begin to believe that it is a part of who we are. You become used to living in a constant state of fluctuating despair and hope. And this doesn’t turn off when and if you get pregnant. It doesn’t turn off when you hear or see the heartbeat. “
I initially thought something was wrong with me when I just couldn’t shake this feeling of impending doom and anxiety with every positive test after my first miscarriage. But it turns out that this is super common. I think your body and brain just go into default protection mode and prepare you for the worst all the time. In that case, maybe even though infertility is not fatal to the person – it has a lifelong effect on that person.
So, for today. I will remember what little time I had with our Ponyo, I will acknowledge the hurt, the anger, the frustration, the sadness and the grief that came from losing this pregnancy… our first one.
I think memories are there so we are reminded that something existed and was real, even for such a small amount of time and that is SO important.
My sadness and my sorrow today comes from a place of love. I wish that I had become a Mummy and that our little family was just a little bigger. But my heart has grown. I am thankful for so much but I am giving myself the right to feel all these emotions I feel.
For now, Samwise and Frodo (and Gollum) are resting. We are taking some time for us and to let things calm. Continuing to fight and continuing to forge ahead in desperation will only create more anxiety and difficulties, especially if it were to happen again so quickly and end with another miscarriage.
After seeing our Specialist, we were reassured that we have continued to have been dealt a bad hand with these pregnancies. No test has revealed any issue with the two of us – chance is a horrible thing. I am trying SO hard to not blame myself and find reasons for me being the problem… so when I was asked the other day:
“Do they know what is wrong with you?”
I must say, even though it came from a place of concern. That hurt. It doesn’t help. Close to 50% of infertility and recurrent miscarriages HAVE NO REASON.
It has been nearly a week, and my brain is still recovering from that comment.
This road doesn’t get any easier. I broke down the other day because of that comment and said to my Samwise:
“What do I do? I can’t tell them that their comment offended or upset me as everyone is coming from a place of love, concern and caring. So I continually internalize, laugh awkwardly and move on in the conversation rather than addressing it. I don’t want my emotions and reactions to make someone who is trying to genuinely help or think that they are helping from wanting to talk to me at all.”
This is so hard. I am NOT a fixer by any stretch. Someone like me rarely is seeking a solution, and more wanting someone to say “I’m sorry, I don’t know what to say or do but I am here for you if you need.” I acknowledge that this is hard for those people who hear and watch someone in trouble and just want to help fix it, offer solutions and be the one to help them out. Again, we are all different.
So I am still at a loss with how to handle emotions, triggers and things as they arise. Nothing in my life has prepared me for this and it is therefore why I find this Blog to be so important to write. I saw a perfect one of those inspirational memes the other day that said:
“One day you will tell your story of how you’ve overcome what you’re going through now, and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide.”
If that happens, just ONCE from this blog. If it helps someone to understand the place their partner, friend or family member is in. If it helps another couple to understand that what they are experiencing is normal and the emotions are so hard but they are necessary and to not be afraid to feel things and be honest. If someone else shares their story too.
Then this is all worth it.
Happy birthday little Ponyo.
Love Mummy and Daddy xox