Challenging Grief.

We are just under a month shy of our the first anniversary of our triplet pregnancy loss. It’s funny because I thought I’d come to terms with things a lot sooner. As it turns out, perhaps I’m only just beginning to overcome my grief. I truly have little idea where I am on this grief cycle, but I’d like to think that I am now in control of Grief – as Dr. A put it.

Accepting our loss is one thing. Quite early on, I believe, I accepted that our babies returned back to heaven. I still miss them, but that missing no longer takes up days of my week, or even hours of my day. At the most random of times, I’ll suddenly feel a wave of sadness and tears will well up. After a short cry, I’m able to regroup and be okay, often with Florian by my side. These episodes occur fewer and farther apart these days. Never a day goes by when I don’t think of them, but those thoughts are fleeting ones.

When my BFF shared with me that she was pregnant less than a half year after our miscarriage, I went through a mixture of happiness and envy; anger and hopefulness. I was prayerful that her pregnancy would go on without a hitch, but I seethed at God. I wanted to share in her joy without feeling resentment. Initially, I thought I did. I thought I could. We met up for day activities in her first trimester when her belly was not showing, and I increasingly found it more difficult to talk to her about her pregnancy.

The circuit breaker that was imposed around April meant that we were not able to meet up, which was just as well because she was entering her second trimester and I dreaded seeing her baby belly once it ‘popped’. I also didn’t do a very good job keeping in touch via text because it hurt too much. I asked God time and again, why she was blessed with a smooth pregnancy, and why I miscarried. I wondered constantly what I had done wrong. It goes a bit further than this but I prefer not to elaborate yet about the ‘what’ that is ‘further than this’.

I felt awful for sure, not being there for her the way she has been for most of our lives. I hated myself for not being able to cast my emotions to one side and open my heart to the unfolding chapter of her life just around the corner.

Just after the circuit breaker lifter, she texted me just to ask how I was. I replied, apologising and telling her I wish I were a better friend. I told her I was sorry that I couldn’t be there for her. It was at that moment that this thought hit me: One day, if and when Florian and I have our own children, perhaps it would be easier to see her little family. BUT I KNOW that should that day come, I would not be able to face BFF. And even if she did accept my apology, I would struggle to forgive myself. I would regret not being there for her. More than that, I would regret not being there for baby S – not seeing him as a newborn, not fussing over him, not trying to make him call me before ‘mama’.

Another text to BFF was my promise to be here for her for the rest of her pregnancy. I want to be at her home to welcome her and baby S back when BFF’s hubs brings them back from hospital. If hospital allows it, we’ll be there celebrating. Understandably, she might be tired from labour and delivering but I’ve already assured her that there is no need to entertain, she can go ahead and sleep while we gawk and fuss over baby S.

After months of not seeing each other, Florian and I arranged with her hubs to surprise BFF on a Sunday, two days before her birthday. It was an emotional meeting, seeing how her belly has grown and how she’s now so close to being a mama. It was also liberating. It made me see just how much more our hearts can expand if we allow for it too. I felt myself break away from the bondage of grief and suddenly fill with love that overflowed. It enabled me to see that I could experience pure, untainted joy for friends I truly love.

As we drove away, I suddenly burst into tears. Those tears felt more like pain leaving my heart than sadness. Sure, there was also an element of loss, knowing that my belly may never again swell up and contain precious life. It was from that visit to BFF’s home, that I started to get a sense of healing. I have no regrets at facing up to the fear of seeing her revel in the excitement and joy of her impending baby. In fact, it was Florian who gave me the gentle prod in the right direction – a prod that made me start opening my eyes to see the future further ahead, rather than take on a view so myopic that it only involved myself and my own feelings.

I can now say with confidence that I am at peace. I accept that happened to Florian and I. I accept the situation we are in now. And I accept and am excitement for the soon-to-come frenzy in BFF’s home! We have no way of controlling our lives – plans can go awry and life’s twists and turns will have us experiencing highs and lows. We can only hold on and make the most of our ride.

Now, I cannot say for sure that my joy and acceptance will extend beyond BFF’s, to every pregnant friend to come. Perhaps it will, or perhaps each situation will be a challenge in expanding my heart a little bit more. With pain, comes growth. However, the anticipation of that ache, may not nearly be as strong as the reality. And the personal emotional growth that comes from it, surely makes it worth it!

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