She said, he said

August 7, 2009

Talking to my mom on the phone last night, it becomes clear that she is aching, positively aching, for me to be okay again.  She doesn’t want me to be afraid and she hopes that I can find peace in this new pregnancy.  She’s found peace with it, she says.

And even though I know all of this comes from love, deep love, love for her own child, I nearly snap.  I nearly say, “How nice for you,” in my most sarcastic tone.  I nearly say “Well, of course it’s easier for you.  Your baby didn’t die in your arms.”  Instead I tell her that I’m trying, that I’m trying to accept the fact that I will be living with a lot of fear for a while now, that I know she loves me and sympathizes but that I don’t think she quite understands, and that really, I’m glad she doesn’t fully understand.  I hurt her, but I don’t mean to.  And I don’t hurt her as much as I could.

I feel guilty after talking to her, for hurting her feelings, for not being able to make her feel better by feeling more at peace myself.  And I feel a bit angry with her about this, which, of course, makes me feel guilty again.

I’m glad Mom’s found peace.  At this point in my life, I’d be glad for anyone who has.  But her peace isn’t mine.  She may never quite understand or accept why this has to be.  And, knowing how much I’d have given to make Teddy safe and happy, I can imagine how it hurts her to see me struggle.  But I can’t feel something I can’t feel just to make her happy, and I deeply believe that peace and acceptance will find me (or not) in their own good time; I won’t try to force them in case they run away from me like spooked wild horses.


Since we are staying in a hotel room until this weekend, phone privacy isn’t really something we do right now.  N caught a lot of that phone conversation, making worried faces at me as I spoke to Mom (and probably as he watched my face while she was speaking to me).  After I said goodbye to Mom, we talked about it, about new pregnancy fears, and about how much we miss Teddy.

He voiced his fear about what would happen to him and to us if something goes wrong again, about how he does’t think he’d be able to do anything – work, family events, socializing – for a long time afterward if we lose another child.   Hearing him speak aloud the worst thing that could happen made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and my gut clench into a tight, unhappy ball, but it also clarified my feelings about the immensity of the gamble we are taking.  It made me realize how real my fears are; they aren’t foolish or flighty or falsely inflated, or things that can be pushed away by force of will.  They’re reasonable, experience-based, and they’re going to be with me for a while.

And we miss Teddy so very much, both of us.  We know this.  I know this.  But it’s sometimes good to hear N talk about how grief can overwhelm him at any place and any time, about how he’s decided not to fight it.  It was good to hear him say, He was so beautiful, and, I’m glad we were able to take him out into the garden. We don’t cry much around each other any more, but we cried together a little last night, and it was sad and sweet and healing.

It’s a relief, an absolute relief, after talking to someone who doesn’t – quite – understand, to talk to the person who does, absolutely.  It makes me want to write, I’m so lucky, in spite of everything.



  1. We’re the luckiest unlucky girls going around, Erica.
    Holding on to fear and hope with you through these months.

  2. Erica, sometimes I struggle for words when I read a post but I hate to say nothing. This moved me, perhaps because I know your kind of lucky.

  3. Finding peace is elusive, but I know just the kind of luck of which you write

  4. It’s so difficult when others are at peace and we’re not. When we still ache for our lost children every day. When fear threatens to overwhelm us as we worry about the new life inside us. ((hugs))

  5. I hear you, and i hold you in my thoughts and send you peace and strength. *hugs*

  6. Erica – Perhaps literal hibernation is the only way to fend off those well-meaning family and friends who are “at peace” while you continue in turmoil. I remember this well and feeling very angry that it was so easy for others to fully embrace the potential and block out the fear. As Teddy’s mommy, the same kind of peace is not easily obtained – in fact it was impossible for me. I’m here with you, no matter how you are feeling — and so very hopefuly on your behalf for the health of this new baby.

  7. If your mom has found so much peace, i guess you don’t have to worry so much about hurting her feelings…

    It’ what you and N do that really counts, really gets you threw it, together.

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