I have never experienced grief. I have seen death. I have felt loss. But never grief. This is a feeling hard for me to describe. I feel heavy. My arms are hard to lift. Every step I take feels like I'm walking in quicksand; not sure if I'll get out of it or fall deeper. Here are some of the ways grief is changing me.

I'm quiet.
My husband comes from a boisterous family. They are constantly talking at the same time, getting louder and louder and the person who doesn't give up, wins. I have always been an expressive woman with strong opinions and love to give my input. Now I'm quiet. I listen to what people are saying with no intention of responding. I keep my opinion to myself unless directly asked. I don't have the drive inside of me anymore. I don't feel the need to win, or even to play the game. I don't know if this is a result of feeling disconnected from everyone else, or if the fire inside of me is now only the small flicker of a pilot light.

I fear everything.
I feel panic when I hear an ambulance. I get anxious when I need to run errands. I struggle returning to places familiar to me. When I am in line at the bank and I see the teller who always took a moment to chat and ask me about my pregnancy, I beg she won't call me over. I start to panic at the thought of her asking me about the baby. I practice what I might say. "She passed." "She lived for 8 days." I work myself up to the point I practically break down right there in line. People can't see the mess I am on the inside.

The guilt isn't what I thought it would be.
I did everything right. I loved and cherished every moment I had with Eloise. I was getting the hang of motherhood and looking forward to all the great (and not-so-great) moments ahead. When she was struggling to breathe on that Friday night, we called an ambulance right away. She was still breathing when we arrived at the hospital. We acted quickly, we did everything right. I don't feel guilt in that respect. It's the days that I feel OK. The times I know I'll move forward and heal. Those feelings of being alright, make me feel major guilt. As though I'm abandoning her. Is moving on healthy or will that just hurt me? Is it "moving on" or learning to cope?

I resent my body.
I have never really loved my body. I imagine most women feel this way. We have our insecurities and the particular areas that we feel draw attention in a negative way. Even though I have never had a bombshell bod, I have never hated my body as much as I do now. I'm angry at it. I feel as though my body has failed me, and now it's big and bulky and a constant reminder of what I don't have; my baby.

Some of these changes will likely stay for a while. I do hope that in time I can learn to work through some of these feelings. I also hope this loss is the hardest thing I'll need to work through....


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