Thursday, 7 March 2013

Looking for the part of me I've lost

My fabulous friend Angela emailed me today wanting to catch up for lunch. She told me she’d been thinking about me, and talking to other people to get some ideas on how she could help me. I felt very honoured that she was thinking of me and had gone to so much effort to help. It made me appreciate having great friends like her. But, interestingly, our email conversation revealed I have lost confidence in my ability to relate to people. I never realised it and it saddens me to know this is just another way in which the miscarriage has changed me.

For some time now, I haven’t felt comfortable communicating with people but I didn’t know why. As a natural-born communicator, I’ve found this enormously upsetting and frustrating. I never had this problem before, but for some reason, I’ve started questioning everything I say or write to someone.

As a subscriber to the philosophy of “fake it til you make it,” no one would have any idea of the internal struggles I’ve been having. I’m excellent at hiding things! If I think really hard about it, I think the reasons for this struggle are:
1 – There are times when I find it difficult to express what I’m feeling so I don’t feel understood. It’s easier just to sit in silence and not be frustrated.
2 – The degree of pain I’m in sometimes clouds my judgement so I’m scared of saying the wrong thing to someone.
3 – The degree of pain I’m in sometimes means I don’t want to converse about what I deem to be “meaningless crap.” In those moments, all that fills my brain is how I’m going to organise my week around daily blood tests,  what day of my cycle I need to take my next round of drugs, and of course, the fact I don’t have a baby anymore. With all that in my brain, there’s very little room for the rest. 

I now see that this internal battle has created a chain reaction of results. Because I don’t feel confident talking to people, I’ve started to retreat into my shell. This weekend my friends are going out for our monthly dinner. Originally, I decided not to go because I had a bad experience at the restaurant and didn’t want to return. I tried to tell myself that I could get over it to spend time with my friends. But, I realised the dinner is on the same day as the 5 month anniversary of the miscarriage. I have no faith in my ability to be ok with that, and sit at a table and converse with 15 people. That is simply not going to happen.

I do feel that I’ve lost some of my spark. Actually, I feel like I’ve lost a lot of my spark. Before the miscarriage, I was bright, bubbly, full of energy, happy and always up for a good time and a great laugh. I was the life of the party that kept everyone entertained. Now, that person seems like a version of me I use to know and haven’t seen for a long time. That version has been replaced with someone that is occasionally bright and bubbly, very low on energy, relatively happy and trying really hard to have good times and laugh without the twinge of guilt that tells me I shouldn’t. 

On many levels, the miscarriage made me a better person – I’m more compassionate and understanding, a better listener and less judgemental. I hold onto those things as something good that came from something bad. But, it’s the ways I’ve changed for the worst that impact me the most. 

When you have a miscarriage, all you want to do is work on getting your life back to normal, but when you’ve become a different person as a result, that normal doesn’t exist anymore. It’s bad enough that you’ve lost a baby, but it’s even worse to think you’ve lost a part of yourself in the process. Instead of showing myself compassion and understanding, I’m showing myself harsh criticism and judgement.   Instead of telling myself how well I’m doing, I’m berating myself for my “perceived” failings. Instead of giving myself time and room to grow, I’m enclosing myself with timeframes and anger. It seems I can be compassionate, understanding and non-judgemetal about everyone except me. This is not the person I want to be. This is not the kind of mother I want to be. This is not the kind of wife I want to be.

I just want to be me. The old me. The happy go lucky me. The smiling, laughing, jovial me that people wanted to be around. I wonder where she’s gone? Hopefully, she’s taking a holiday and she’ll come back soon. I hope for my sake she does. I’m lost without her.

Image by Stuart Miles
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