Friday, 7 December 2012

A step backwards

It was only yesterday that I thought how well I was doing with everything. I should know that thought is the indication something is about to hit. I didn’t realise it at the time but every meltdown I have begins with that thought.
As I do every Thursday night, I tuned into One born every minute which is a tv show about women giving birth. I’ve become a fan since deciding to try to have a baby. I had to stop watching it after the miscarriage as it bought me to tears everytime but I’d done so well over the past few weeks I felt ready to re-engage with it.
I did really well until the last moment of the show when the father started crying seeing his newborn baby. I got a little teary but it wasn’t anything too dramatic. I brushed my teeth, went to bed and everything was fine. Then I said to my husband “I hope we get to have a baby” and he said “Me too.” The flood gates opened.
Ever since the miscarriage, I’ve learnt my crying fits come in degrees. They range from a few tears/eyes welling up to the wrung out sobbing that leads to a blocked nose and inability to breathe. This was more on the eyes welling up side and only lasted about 10 minutes so it was a relatively minor event. However, I’ve also learnt that despite the degree, I always feel like a wrung out rag the next morning.
So after sleeping through our alarm, I finally managed to drag myself out of bed and come to work. I felt exhausted, like I had been hit by a train and hungover, despite not having a sip of alcohol to drink. I was not in an emotional state to cope with the announcement that one of the other girls at work is pregnant and due the same time I was. I certainly wasn’t ready for her and the other pregnant woman to stand at the end of my desk talking about whose belly was bigger, how far along they were and name choices. I sat at my desk and held back the tears.
I texted my husband to tell him I wasn’t coping with it. He said be happy for them. I said I am happy for them but sad for us. He said be happier for them then you are sad for us. I said easier said then done.
It’s nearly 9 weeks now and I’ve realised I’ve exhausted people’s support capacity. I am enormously thankful for all the support I’ve been given to date and am fully aware that I would not be as far along as I am without it. But I understand the drain that supporting someone you love puts on you. We’ve all been in a situation where a friend is going through something that we cannot understand. We provide advice and support with our rational mind because the way forward seems so clear to us. We forget that our dear friend is constantly swaying between the rational and irrational and using all their spare energy to try as hard as they can to stay in the rational.
As the supporter, our lives would be so much easier if the person could just get over it and be ok. If only we all had the power to just decide to be ok and voila, everything just magically disappeared and our smile returned. Alas, life just doesn’t work like that.  
This experience has bought me a whole new understanding of how to be a more supportive friend. I don’t want to explain my emotions. I don’t want to justify my actions. I don’t want to be judged for where I am in my recovery process. All of that just makes the process of surviving so much harder. It’s a good reminder that as a friend, sometimes the best thing we can do is listen and offer no opinions, thoughts or interpretations unless asked.
At the start of this post, I thought I was moving backwards but now I realise I’m actually taking a step forward. I’ve realised I’m actually strong enough not to rely on people anymore. I can stand on my own two feet and provide my own support, empathy and encouragement. It makes sense really – if I want someone to just nod their head in understanding, know where I’m coming from and say it’s all going to be ok, that person should be me. Afterall, I’m actually the only one in the world that has any idea what I am going through. I should be the one to get me through it.

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