Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Why I don’t believe in God anymore

First, I want to preface this by saying what I’m about to write are my own personal feelings and are reflective of what I’m feeling right now. I realize that I might alienate some people, but mile + my shoes should = no judgment. I respect the opinions of others so please respect mine.

Ever since Dave and I lost our little girl, we’ve heard everything one can hear when they are grieving. Some have been helpful while others infuriate us. What pisses me off to no end is when people say what happened was God’s will and that God has a plan. I used to believe this when confronting setbacks in my own life and learning about the suffering of people I love. But like everything else in my world, that belief has been shot to hell. What kind of God kills little babies? Or for that matter, sits by while millions die and suffer through war, famine, pestilence, natural catastrophes? Or watches from above while people get raped, abused, shanked, tortured, waste away? I’ve believed in something greater than all of us for all my life, even when I eschewed religion for personal spirituality. I’ve meditated, prayed and was faithful. When I saw that + pregnancy test, I talked to God every day, thanking Him for the gift He gave me. I prayed with David (he is SO not into that) and went out of my way to light candles in churches. I even believed that if I were to miscarry in the first trimester, it would have been his will.

But then I went into labour. For no apparent reason. I was in agony where I leaked and writhed and bled and sobbed for naught. I prayed and prayed. Dave prayed and prayed. They obviously weren’t answered.

Since that day, I’ve felt abandoned. I couldn’t pray anymore. When family members spoke of God or prayer, I snorted and told them I couldn’t abide by such dogmatic mores. It was a confusing time for me. When I break down, I sometimes want to call out to Him, begging Him for strength to continue and to diminish my pain. Then I stop myself. I steady myself. I tell myself that I am strong and that I can continue and that I can lessen my pain. He wasn’t there for me when I most needed Him so from now on it’s just Me, Myself and I.

I’ve been speaking to a friend of a friend who suffered terribly when her baby boy was born stillborn. She lives on a farm and told me “You know, not every baby makes it.” And it hit me like a lightening bolt: we’re just animals, surviving in nature and we have no control over anything. Babies die, every day. For some reason or another, those little creatures so many of us want to have to teach, love and watch grow, are fragile. Pregnancy is a delicate process, one that is fraught with disasters waiting to happen at every corner. What happened to me wasn’t karma or the will of God. I now believe that our baby, and millions of babies around the world, died because of Nature. And that comforts me greatly. I can now walk down the street and step on cracks without fear of my mother’s back being broken. I can walk under a ladder, while breaking a mirror with a black cat under my arm on Friday the 13th.*

We’ve found out that Isla’ cause of death was simply prematurity while the cause of my premature labour will never be known. We also learned that I had contracted something called chorioamnionitis that threatened my life and would have led to me being induced in a nightmarish me vs. the baby scenario had I not gone into labour naturally. There was nothing wrong with me and there was nothing wrong with Isla. As the doctor said, there is nothing wrong with our ability to make life – we made a good baby.

So here I am. Thinking about the next time. Dealing with the fact that not only was I one of the 1% of pregnancies that end in the second trimester, but I was part of the 2% the catches that infection. Trying to wrap my head around the fact that my chances of going into pre-term labour again is increased. Believing in the power and mystery of nature – a phenomenon that is real and has no altar to beg on. It’s rather freeing, actually.

These days I feel stronger. I feel this way thanks in part to people who I’d previously been friendly with and had known about my pregnancy going out of their way not to meet my eye or change directions when I walk towards them. It makes me realize that they don’t matter and are not helpful in my life anyway. I’m finding that I take immense pleasure in that unexpected phone call or text or hug. I’m in love with the way my basil and mint plants are growing. I adore the taste of champagne and the feel of lingerie on my skin when I’m in bed. I believe in love, family, laughing, movies, sex, books, blogs, good food, good friends, the sun, the moon and the stars. I believe in me.

*Such superstitions are steeped in Christian ideology.

Monday, 19 July 2010


I've never been a smile-in-pictures kind of gal.  I have photos of myself when I was a young girl positively glowering down the lens.  It's actually kind of funny.  As I grew older, I became more adept at smiling for the camera and even "smizing" when the mood would strike.  These days, I'm finding it very difficult to stand in front of the camera and fake smile like everything is hunky dory.  I try anyway, as this picture taken the day after our anniversary can attest (we were at the Castlerigg Stone Circle in the Lake District).  That doesn't mean that I don't smile right now or feel moments of lightness.  It happens, even in the pit of grief, and I'm grateful for them.  I'm also very grateful that I married such a funny guy.  I've mentioned this several times on this blog - Dave is a very funny man.  He's a master of quipping, remembering jokes, doing impressions and doing silly things to make me laugh.  Even in the thick of our shit, he's made me guffaw.  I'll be feeling like absolute shit and he'll bust out an impression of Dave Chappelle doing Rick James.  Or he'll tickle me until I can't breathe.  Or hug me until I stop being irritated (which is an unfortunate manifestation of grief).  I couldn't do anything without him.  He knows exactly what I'm going through and he needs me to be well again so that we can have the future we fantasize about.

There are times when I forget about what happened.  This usually makes me feel guilty but it also brings relief.  On Friday night, we watched Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes and for two solid hours, I was fixated on a plot and set design and costumes and I felt good and light.  I cut out a pattern for a dress and concentrated on that.  I even manage to concentrate on work for 10-15 minutes at a time, which I consider promising.  I forget and I feel relief.  That's not to say that I want to forget what happened - I just sometimes need a break.

I also feel a lot of empathy towards others.  When a mate at work told me about his break up, I very nearly cried all over his nice shirt.  He felt bad about that, thinking he was complaining about his problems when I had major issues.  But I told him, everybody hurts.  Just because our baby died doesn't make me immune to feeling for others.  Someone close to me is going through a depression right now and I ache for her.  Rather than feeling like "girl, you don't know what depression is until your baby dies", I feel sad for her.  I know there are people who have been through what I have and their sympathy for others is completely gone and they actually wish terrible things on others.  I don't want to be like that.  I know that I am immeasurably changed and I can be totally self-centered and bitter right now, but if I lose that love I feel for others, I know I would be dead inside.  Without that love, hope would go and what be the point in living?

That being said, I can feel happiness for others while feeling misery for myself.  When a close friend told me she was pregnant, I felt an explosion of joy then I started crying and could not stop.  She had been trying for several months so I know this is a much desired baby.  And according to FB, my BFF had her baby and I want to call and leave a message on her answering machine, but I have to wait until my throat is less thick with tears.  Despite the sadness, I feel happiness in my heart and that comforts me.

I think another facet of my grieving process is taking care of myself physically.  It helps me feel like I'm healing physically which will in turn help me heal emotionally and mentally.  I''m running again as well as doing pilates.  I'm looking into acupuncture and I'm eating well.  It gives me something positive to focus on.

I'm currently reading "Empty Cradle, Broken Heart:  Surviving the Death of Your Baby" and it helps me to understand that it's hard and terrible and draining but that it's also normal.  There are several things that I'm taking away from this book, but the one I keep remembering is that I will never get over this.  Rather, I will come to terms with it and that realistic assessment gives me hope.  I never saw how you could get over the death of a child, but one day, you accept it and it's just a part of your life.  I'm working patiently towards that "one day".

Sunday, 18 July 2010


It is very important to me to be as authentic and as honest as possible in all facets of my life.  I very rarely tell fibs, even to protect people's feelings because I believe in the power of truth.  I guess it's for this reason why I'm so honest on this blog, particularly now when I'm in so much pain.  It's a process, one that thankfully few people have to go through, but one that is not talked about enough. In helping myself work through this maze, I hope I speak to others to help them understand what it's like, or to assure them that they're not alone.

With that said, grieving is hard work.  It's physically and emotionally draining and you can feel like you're going crazy.  You can make positive progress then regress in a blink of the eye.  Last week was particularly bad.  I didn't go to work on Tuesday, just sat at home and cried. I know this is normal but I couldn't help but feel out of control in a very, very quiet way.  I cried a lot last week then I got my period which made it seem a lot worse (mind you, I haven't stopped bleeding for 8 weeks).  I thought a lot about death and dying and wondered if I'd ever feel the same again.  I know for sure that I'll never be like I was before.  My innocence is gone and I view the world with different lenses.  It sucks for sure.

My boss said a funny thing to me the other day during one of our now regular lengthy chats.  He said it appeared to him that my confidence was gone and I may want to consider a change of job where I'm not on the front line.  It was like he was in my head.  I have lost my confidence and I know I don't want to work with the public any longer, but in a way, it's a positive thing.  I know I'm ready for a career change and him saying that was like confirmation that I'm ready for something new.  I'm grateful for that.

I've been thinking about what I've learned over the last 2 months since my pregnancy was interrupted.  I think I'll write about that tomorrow.

Friday, 9 July 2010

365 Days

365 days ago, we said "I do" for the second time.  Today is our anniversary and there is no doubt I love David more now than when I did when I walked down the aisle.  We've been through so much in a year, more than what some people experience in a lifetime.  Our sincerest wish on this day is that our next year of matrimony will be far and away MUCH better than this last year.  Here's hoping.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Hot Mess

Today was a hard day.  I should have listened to my body and stayed in bed, but like the stubborn mule I am, I got up, showered and caught the train to work, telling myself it would be good to be out on a sunny day and have lunch with my friend/co-worker.

I'm not sure what exactly set me off, but I started crying after lunch and I could not stop.  I decided to go home and was walked out by my friend.  I tried to explain my feelings to her and I started crying as hard as I had when I realized the future we dreamed of was gone.  She held on to me and I held on to her, using her as my buoy.

I guess right now I'm feeling like I'm an absolute failure.  I feel real anxiety when my phone rings at work or someone mentions the programme I administer.  I'm fearful of running into certain people, much less talking to them about every day things like classes and induction.  I can't make decisions.  And I believe my feeling of inadequacy stems from the fact that I could not carry my baby to term and she died.  Rational?  No.  Normal?  From what I've been reading, yes, very.  I think about the last 7 months and I get flashbacks.  I see those grainy ultrasound images in my head and recall her perfect heart, kidneys, stomach, brain.  All wasted.  And I want fold into myself and stop being for a very long time.

It really is one day at a time.  On Monday, a co-worker of my mother-in-law came to talk to me about having gone through a similar situation and how she coped.  I hardly cried during our talk and she said she thought we were doing everything right during our process.  On Tuesday, I found out a friend of mine is pregnant and while I burst into red, hot tears I was and am genuinely happy for her.  No jealousy, just hope for her.  But today.  Ah.  Today was a hot, tranny mess.

I cannot articulate how difficult this is.  I'm looking for anything that will tell me how long it will take for this soul crushing sadness to subside.  I feel like such a pariah.  I make other people uncomfortable.  Hell, I make myself uncomfortable.  This week was supposed to be 30 weeks.  I cannot believe I'm part of 1%.  I will never, ever look at statistics the same way again.