Baby steps

It’s been almost two months since I lost my first pregnancy. Someone very rightly told me that the sorrow does not just go away. It seems to recede only to strike you on days when you start feeling complacent about having finally moved on. The sinking feeling that accompanies the realization of losing your baby even while he/she is still a part of your body cannot be described in linguistic terms. So many times I have tried to write about it but even as I start to poke around my feelings, the pain rises with such force that a swift abandonment of the subject becomes the only recourse.

While all this was happening, I wrote a lot. I wrote letters to my unborn child, I wrote to my husband what I could not tell him even though he was around me, taking care of me 24/7, I wrote about what was happening to my mind. And even now when I look back at all those writings, I feel a hurt so savage it makes me want to tear the world up into a million pieces.

Life moves on though. Day and night follow each other like clockwork, never pausing to check if those who experience them are experiencing them any differently than before. You want the world to mourn with you, you want people to bear appropriately somber expressions and you want to wipe the smile off of every person you see, for is someone loves company it is good old misery. Yet, once you dig yourself out of the emotional abyss you realize that somewhere this very continuity of life and nature is what probably saved you in the first place.

I thought I would never be able to look at a child again, let alone hold one, yet a mere 3 days after my miscarriage I was requesting my upstairs neighbor to get her daughter along when she insisted on coming to see me. I was able to laugh at her delightful antics, to breathe deeply her angelic baby smell… all this while my shattered heart refused to acknowledge any adult attempt at sympathy or concern.

The weeks following the miscarriage were expectedly tough but having my parents over (my wonderful mom and dad who dropped their lives and came running to me all the way from India as soon as they heard about this) helped me regain my sanity, one day at a time. I would feel strangely okay and insist on all of us going out but half an hour at a neighborhood carnival or a busy mall would turn me into a raging, seething mass of frustration as I would see women upon women cradling their swollen bellies or wheeling their infant children… how the %#@$@%$ could they be pregnant when here I was carrying nothing but a huge hole inside of me, literally and metaphorically.

Weekends were especially bad. Perhaps because it was a weekend when all hell broke loose but somehow every Saturday would find me curled up in the fetal position (ironic much?!) sobbing my guts out. Seriously, each time I cried for hours a semi-practical part of me would reason ‘okay you are done; after that there is no way your body can even produce tears for another 3 months’, but no… come the next weekend the whole drill would start again.

And then there was the bitch mode. So my marriage is still pretty young; we will complete two years this Christmas (yay!)… I love my husband to death but we have had our share of growing pains. However, what this man tolerated from me in those crazy weeks when anything and everything would set me off into shrieking, banshee mode, requires nothing short of a superhuman devotion. So nasty were my outbursts, I almost sent my parents back home to India thankfully realizing in time the enormity of my mistake and apologizing profusely to them.

Cleaning is always therapeutic for me. This time, it became a frenzied motivation. I felt that if my surroundings were clean then I could somehow manage to clean up my disheveled life too, perhaps my mind even. So I would mop and dust, wash and scour everything to an inch of its existence, oblivious to my parents and husbands worried faces. I needed to clean. On the upside, the apartment shone for a few weeks. Martha Stewart would have been proud.

It was like I could not stand to see anyone be normal around me. How could they be normal, especially they, my family? How could they be normal when here I was, a thousand pieces of me, precariously stitched together into something resembling a human being yet dangling by delicate threads, in danger of disintegrating any moment.

Yet somehow through all of this, something propelled me to keep moving forward, one day a time. First came the making peace with God. The dream box was brought out again. The first day I held it up to the spouse for us to pray together the way we used to, his eyes misted over. He hugged me so hard I could not breathe, so thankful was he for getting his wife back from the unhinged monster who had temporarily possessed her.

I started my diet again, resumed the exercising and the acupuncture. And slowly, very slowly, just like that I taught myself to hope again.