For some reason, I just have to talk about this dark period in my life. I'll blog about the whole sorry tale at another time (yes, it's almost 3 am again and I have to be up at 8.30 to take L. to her circus class, God help me). But I came across a fabulous "baby loss" website this evening (http://www.glowinthewoods.com/) and feel honour-bound to answer these terribly tough questions:
1 In a word, how would you characterize yourself before your loss, and then after?
Before: never thought such bad sh*t would happen to me; After: unswervingly pessimistic
2 How do you feel around pregnant women?
Now, there's no problem. But after my daughter died in 2000, anything pregnancy/baby/child related was a form of torture.
3 How do you answer the 'how many children' question?
I try to avoid it. Even now, explaining what happened to my first daughter is liable to make me cry (which can be embarrassing and very inappropriate), yet saying I have 2 children breaks my heart because to me, I know it's not the truth. I have 3 daughters, but one wasn't able to live. Period.
4 How did you explain what happened to your lost baby to your living children? Or, if this was your first pregnancy, will you tell future children about your first?
My daughters are still young (6 and 4) and I haven't told them about their "big sister" yet. Partly because I would cry, and I'm not sure they're ready for that, partly because I don't want them to be traumatised in any way. But I will tell them, there's no doubt about that.
5 What would another pregnancy mean to you, and how would you get through it—or are you done with babymaking?
When I was pregnant with C. (in 2001), I was a wreck of nerves, worry, pessimism and anxiety throughout, even once I'd got past the "equivalent date", which unfortunately happened to be 9/11, so I was freaked out, started having contractions, freaked out even more and ended up spending a week in hospital. But C. was fine and was born in December, 4 weeks early. For my third pregnancy, the stress was still there, but lesser. And L. was born 4.5 weeks early.
6 Imagine being able to step back in time and whisper into the ear of your past self the day after your baby died. What would you say?
Hang in there. Fight for the right to bury your daughter - they can't just take her away and incinerate her. Fight for her right to have a name, be buried. And be strong. This baby was NOT your only chance at motherhood, there will be other chances and they will be successful, and you will have two beautiful little girls who will make you so proud.