Baby, I Got You on My Mind
When you experience a loss, there are key date’s that can be difficult to overcome. When it is someone who you were close to, there’s the Birthday’s, the date they pass, and special holiday’s or occasions you would have once spent with them that can be difficult to get through without them.
You can’t help but think about the person that would have been there, what they would be doing, wearing, saying, how old they would be… the thoughts that go through your mind are endless.
As someone who experiences recurrent pregnancy loss, there can be so many dates that are challenging to deal with.
There is every single due date you didn’t have, and every holiday or special occasion where you almost can’t help but think “this would have been her first Christmas” or “I should have been going on maternity leave around now”.
I’ve just passed my 3rd “due date” and I hadn’t been convinced prior to this that there was any real way to deal with the thoughts and emotions that go through your mind.
I suspect it works differently for everyone, and from my personal experience, I have found that I felt differently about each due date too. I guess we don’t ever really know how we will think or feel until we find ourselves in certain situations.
For my first due date (13th March 2017), I tried to just forget about it. Then I realised I couldn’t. I tried to reason with myself that there is no such thing as “meant to be” there just “is”.
I didn’t allow myself to think about might “might have been” or “could have been” or “should have been” and focussed on what “was”.
By that stage, I knew about the balanced translocation and felt fairly confident that even though our odds of having a healthy baby were low, that it would happen for us eventually. I resolved myself to the fact that we would have to be patient and persistent and focus on the hope that there was the possibility that everything might work out next time.
Then my second due date with no baby rolled around and I didn’t even actually know it was coming.
I hadn’t bothered too much about remembering it, and I had no inclination of wanting to either.
That was until I saw a post on Instagram where a lady was asking those of us who had experienced recurrent loss ladies to share our “due dates” as part of a collective memorial.
I really like to see ladies supporting each other in ways like this and thought her idea was really lovely, so went to send my dates in to her… and realised that my second due date was going to be 3 days later, and then immediately wished I had just left myself floating around in my blissful bubble of due date ignorance.
Do you ever think things like this happen for a reason? Did I stumble across that post in my Instagram feed because someone wanted me to remember… or was it just a random coincidence?
I’m not even sure where I fit in when it comes to “signs” or “messages from another realm”. Half of my brain, the rational side, tells me that its just a coincidence. The other side of my brain likes to romanticise about another realm where those we’ve lost get to exist and send us signs or messages from time to time so we don’t forget about them…
…but enough day dreaming aside, funnily enough, I made it through that second due date without too much hassle, and now I still can’t remember when it was anyway (June or July 2017 sometime…)
Then there’s my 3rd due date, which just passed this Saturday, the 9th of December. It wasn’t really one I could forget easily. It is a significant day of loss for our family and not likely one I will be able to put to the back of my mind and forget about.
So, I couldn’t help but think a fair bit about my 3rd due date a fair bit over the past few weeks.
I tried hard not to think about it, but it kept creeping into my mind, and I knew full well it was coming up.
I couldn’t avoid it, even though I tried not to think about it, and I decided that I didn’t really want to talk about it either.
I had this theory that it might be easier for me to get through if I didn’t mention it to anyone.
I am all for being open and honest about loss and talking it out when you need to, but I also think it’s important to recognise when you’re not feeling up to talking or don’t really want to acknowledge what’s going on.
We all have different ways of coping with things, and I have even recognised within myself that my coping mechanisms change all the time. I have realised that you can’t predict how you will feel at any given moment and it’s better to keep your options open, so you can do what ever you feel you need to do at the time.
So, this time around, I made plans to spend time with family. We planned a delicious dinner full of foods one should probably avoid when pregnant (natural oysters, prawn cocktails, espresso martini trifles and a nice array of cocktails!) and we played some board games and generally had a great time with lots of laughs.
I didn’t feel the need to bring up the significance of the date, but I knew I could if I wanted to and that would be OK too.
I’ve learnt this time around that it doesn’t really matter what you do, you can’t avoid these dates, or the significance you feel when they arrive, but you can make plans to enjoy yourself despite what you might be feeling and make sure you surround yourself with people who will “get it” if you suddenly decide you can’t be part of the party for a while.
I got through it, and I was fine, and I actually had a really good time, despite the lingering date in the back of my mind.
I think I even managed to forget about the dreaded “due date” a few times over the course of the day and evening.
There’s at least 1 more due date for me to get through (April 8, 2018) and I suspect the lead up will be just as difficult and there will be just as many thoughts going through my mind as every other time, but each time you get through one of these difficult times, you get to remind yourself that you are stronger than you think, you can do it and things can get better.
It’s so much more important to focus on the things you have now and the hope you could have for the future, than falling in to the trap of “what could have been”.
I know this is different for everyone and I’d really like to hear how others get through difficult times when it comes to loss and dates of significance. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.