“Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.” ― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
It’s said there are 5 stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I’ve questioned this theory recently, because no matter how much time passes, a parent can never fully accept that their baby is gone.
Denial is what makes your experience feel like a nightmare. You wonder if it really happened, or did you just imagine it? Of course this didn’t happen to you, it only happens to other people. When you lose a baby, it’s easy to feel denial because there’s a lack of physical evidence that they ever existed. Often times there are no photos, no clothing or toys to serve as sweet reminders, and there are no memories to reflect on. How you you grieve someone you had to say goodbye to before you ever had the chance to say hello?
Anger is what makes the experience begin to feel real. You feel angry that your baby is gone and that a part of your heart and soul is gone, too. You feel angry that there is nothing that could have been done to change the outcome. Angry that you never saw this coming. Angry that your body betrayed you and your baby. Angry that no one can make you feel better. Angry that you were robbed of memories with your child.
Bargaining is your desperate and failed attempt to regain control of the situation. Wishing that you could trade in your life so that your baby would have one. I begged God to undo the nightmare. I said “I want my baby back” so many times I sounded like a Chili’s commercial.
Depression becomes a constant. Your new normal. It’s what makes you feel impossibly empty. Depression makes you dread the night, and dread the dawn. I cried every night when I got into bed because I wasn’t ready for the day to end and for all my thoughts to catch up with me. I woke up in the middle of the night crying and reaching for my belly. I woke up the next morning crying because I wasn’t ready for the start of another day, knowing that a new day took me further and further from the day when my baby was growing inside me.
I’m starting to think that the possible 5th stage of grief is patience. You won’t ever fully accept the reality that your baby is gone because it’s too heartbreaking, but you will learn what patience means. Patience is learning that the only thing that can make you feel better is time. It’s learning that you are not in control and that holding anger in your heart serves no purpose. Patience is learning that you can overcome the most unimaginable heartache one day at a time.