NPFP Guest Post: After The World Stopped Turning

Welcome to RMB’s Naked Pictures of Faceless People, a series of guest posts from diverse anonymous bloggers. (Read more about NPFP’s origins.) These are the posts that are jumping to get out of us, but for whatever reason — safety, embarrassment, conflict of interest, protection of loved ones’ reputations or feelings, or so on — we don’t or won’t or can’t post at our own blogs. Anyone, whether blogger or reader only, is welcome to submit or discuss a potential post by emailing me at arwyn at raisingmyboychick dot com.

Trigger Warning: There is a trigger warning on this post for stillbirth and suicide ideation.

After The World Stopped Turning

We had been sequestered in our home for days. I was so fragile that I could crack and crumble to the floor if I began thinking about anything more than breathing in and out. I had my husband, but he didn’t understand. I had my 14 month old, but he didn’t understand. I had friends who might understand, but I wouldn’t let them help me.

I ventured out of the house because the fall weather was calling to my 14 month old and I couldn’t keep him from life even though I was no longer with the living. I strapped him into his carseat tightly and took him to the playground.

He couldn’t wait to be free of me as I lowered him to the grass at the side of the car. He ran toward the slide and I panicked. I slammed the car door shut and quickly caught up his hand in mind. He smiled his sunlit smile and I tried to respond like I used to.

I climbed to the heights above the smallest slide, placed my son carefully on my lap and slowly slid down, cradling him tightly against me to protect him. I made certain not to allow any of his limbs to extend outward because a broken joint could happen so quickly on a slide.

When my feet touched the ground, he squirmed away from me and ran back to the steps. I struggled to catch him up, but he was already climbing up and there were children between us. He was at the top of the towering play structure, a full three feet off the ground, and I knew I was about to watch my child die.

I watched from my trapped mind as he fell those three feet onto the padded, recycled tire covering around the play structure. I saw with my horror-filled imagination as his head hit the padding and crushed his life away. In my imagination, I couldn’t get to him in time to save him.

As he slid down the slide and ran up behind me giggling, I was frozen in my horrible panicked fantasy. My 14 month old son would die within my imagination just as surely as my daughter had died within my body a few days earlier. She was twenty-three weeks when her heart failed. I knew she was already dead when I gave birth to her body unassisted at home.

If I was going to let my son live, then I needed to stop hovering. Walking 10 feet away from the play structure to sit on the bench was hard. I wasn’t sure I would make it without crumbling apart, but I did it. I could do that for my son, if not for myself.

I did crumble when a playgroup arrived shortly after with three heavily pregnant mothers, smiling and unknowing how painful it was to see them. I cried silently behind my Jackie O sunglasses and watched my son play. I still believed that he would fall to his death at any moment.

Once I had myself together enough to gather up my son and get back to the car, we returned to our house and I began my new plan. I was staying alive to give my son breastmilk, but if I pumped and built up a large enough freezer stash, I felt I could be free to end my life.

Unfortunately, my husband was warned by my midwife to watch me for such a plan. He told me to get some professional help. I fought against it, but agreed to do it as long as I could continue unhindered in my milk-stash plan.

I saw a therapist who specialized in birth PTSD. She helped me a little, but my body had other therapy planned for me. I discovered I was pregnant for a third time. I knew it was a boy and I knew my body can nurture and birth boys well. I may still not have been be sure whether I’m meant to stay here, but I knew this growing healthy boy was.

*******

I look back on this time after having birthed two more thriving baby boys. If my daughter had survived, I would not have my second and third sons. I have not reconciled my desire for all four of my children to be alive with me. But, I have found a sort of peace in the exercise of letting my children run and play without a hovering mom. It is getting easier, even though it is not getting better. I no longer keep any milk stashed in my freezer.

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11 Responses to NPFP Guest Post: After The World Stopped Turning

  1. This is a beautiful story even as it’s so painful to read. Your suffering and solitude come through so clearly. Thank you so much for sharing this story. While I don’t share your specific experience, I’ve shared some of the thoughts you describe. I hope the sharing helps you to feel…not better, but maybe less alone.

  2. Thank you for sharing your story and may you find peace within your family. Love and light, mama.

  3. this hurts to read as i just lost a child as well. i know your pain and i know your despondence. i also have a 14 month for whom I must carry on.

  4. To the OP: *hugs* I’m so, so sorry.

    Mother’s Day will forever have a shadow over it for me because my first as a mother was marked by miscarriage.

  5. I keep expecting my seven-week-old daughter to die at any time, just like her brother died inside me last year. I do the exact thing in this story, playing the situation out before anything even happens. Last week I even drove to my husband’s workplace from wherever I’d been just because I “knew” she’d died in the backseat and didn’t want to find her body by myself… I was genuinely surprised when she was awake and looking at me when I got her out.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your story–especially for sharing its raw honesty, and the brutality of pregnancy/infant loss.

    There are parts of me that wish that no one ever had to experience this loss, ever. And then there are other parts of me that are thankful for people who are willing to share their experiences and thereby make those of us who have experienced such a loss feel not so isolated and alone.

  7. Oh, dear. I miscarried my 2nd pregnancy fairly early, and suffered a lot of this pain. I can only imagine (and thank you for your vivid description) the pain of losing a child so late in a pregnancy. Good thoughts are coming your way.

  8. I’m so sorry for your loss. But I’m glad you found some help. I hope that it continues to get easier.

  9. Thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry for your loss, but I’m so glad that you managed to carry on.

  10. My son was stillborn at 23 weeks as well. That was seven years ago–on the day before Mother’s Day. I still vividly remember the pain of seeing pregnant women–and feeling like it made me a “bad person” to have the pain, or the jealousy. Each voice that speaks out, that shares our stories, reduces the isolation for all of us. Thank you for your courage, then and now.

  11. I share similar memories. When my daughter was born, I spent the first few weeks just waiting for her to die. While I was pregnant I spent a lot of time certain she had died, even as I felt her move. I lost my 33month son to genetic complications which she could share 1/2 months before she was concieved… right before Mother’s day and my birthday… I am glad at least that it was her newborn period that was marked by such detachment (I didn’t want to love her only to see her die) rather than at 14months now where she needs me at the top of my emotional game, and especially needs me to let her run and play… though I still anticipate her death

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