I haven’t been having a good week. Being back at work doesn’t help. It’s every bit as stressful as I feared. Not to mention the energy required to pretend, to smile, to act normal, when I just want to stay in bed.
The worst about trying to work while grieving is how I get all worked up over nothing in an instant. I feel as if I’m not in control of my emotions and I end up overreacting all the time. It’s not that I’m disrespectful or call people names, far from it, but I do tend to says things too bluntly and too loudly. And I hate it. I hate this person I’ve become. Seems like a shred of the bubbly, outgoing girl everybody enjoyed working with. Am I becoming the image of the bitter old barren woman of our society’s collective consciousness? That’s certainly not who I want to be.
I talked to my mom a few days ago as it was her birthday. She then told me that my cousin, whom I love deeply as if she was my little sister (she’s 28), has just found out she has a tumour in her pancreas and surgery has been scheduled to next month. Of course this broke my heart. My mom said the doctors are feeling confident it’s benign but they won’t know for sure until it’s operated. They believe there’s only about 10% chance of being cancerous. As soon as I hear this, my reaction is: that’s a huge chance (being in the below 1% side of statistics a few too many times – ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous ovulation during IVF, recurrent miscarriages -, I have a different idea of what a small percentage is)!
My mom immediately proceeded to calm me down and say I should not project my fears into my cousin’s condition and finishes off by saying: after all, if the worse happens in her situation, it’s way more serious than your issues; pancreas cancer has very high mortality rates.
My mom is right. My cousin’s situation is a lot worse than mine, but hearing those words I felt my grief and pain being minimised and dismissed, as if my suffering is not valid. If I’m not allowed to feel pain because someone else is in a worse situation, then basically no one will ever be allowed to feel pain. We can always find a worse case than ours. Is that even realistic? I don’t know if this make me selfish, but if I can’t be sad over the death of my babies, when will I ever be allowed to feel sorrow? Why make such terrible comparisons to begin with? It probably wouldn’t make my cousin feel better and it doesn’t take my pain away to see her suffer…
I’m so sorry for my cousin and I know she must be so worried and anxious, but I should also be entitled to feel what I feel. Of course that’s not how it goes, so now I add layers of guilt to my grief and feel forced to be grateful for being alive and ‘healthy’. I’m grateful. I’m also grateful for the possibility of trying, the possibility of maybe in the future having a living child. Unfortunately the gratitude feelings don’t erase the grief. I can and do feel both things at the same time. I feel all of it, sorrow, shame, guilt, hope, gratitude. Pretending the feelings are not there doesn’t help, I’ve tried that before.
I wrote to my cousin and told her how sorry I felt for her, how much I love her and that I’m here if she needs someone to talk to. We are all trying to stay positive and optimistic for her. Hopefully the surgery will go fine, she will recover fast and that’ll be all. I really wish so.
I’m starting to get tired of giving in to grief and want to enjoy my life again. In an attempt to do just that, I’ve booked a romantic getaway weekend for my husband and I for next month. It will be our wedding anniversary and the last two have been marked by loss and anxiety, so I really want us to reconnect and have a good time this year.
The other good news I got this week was my beta result. It’s very low, at 230, so I’m pretty confident there’s no more retained pregnancy tissue (or whatever horrible medical term is used to describe my dead baby).
I’m glad to have booked that getaway, it gives me something to look forward too. In the meantime, I’ll try to find activities that bring me joy. I want to be happy again, despite everything. I will find a way to be happy…