Friday, February 21, 2014

Letting Go

I almost titled this post, Let it Go, mostly because Briz sings it ALL of the time and it gets stuck in my head.  And she has added a nice new verbrato every time she sings a song.  I have to hide and laugh, because she is so serious when she sings.

 But this post is a bit more serious.  I have had some insights into my grief lately that I wanted to try to share as concisely as possible.  Since I've been pregnant, my grief has manifested itself differently.  One thing that I have found is that for the most part, I haven't felt anything towards this baby I'm carrying.  I could care less about anything baby related, and I almost dread thinking about her arrival.  Not exactly how you would hope to feel and certainly not how I have felt with my other kids (although I did have my own worries).  This has concerned me, but not enough to push me to figure it out.

I still see a therapist every few months just kind of as a check in, to keep an eye on my grief and help me manage life and take care of myself.  My last appointment came just a few days before I had my 20 week ultrasound.  I shared my apathy with him.  And I shared that I am nervous about this baby taking the place of my forever baby, Holland.  And what I discovered was that in my own way, I am trying to keep Holland alive.  I don't feel like I am generally, because I don't talk about her a lot, I will mention her, but I don't feel like I have been over the top.  But internally I feel this huge obligation to still take care of her in the ways I can, now that she is dead.  Whether that's by visiting her grave, letting people know that I had a daughter that died, or making sure we involve her in family things.  I feel an immense amount of guilt if I fail with one of these things, because I am her Mom and she's my baby and I have to take care of her right?

(the freaky one eye open while she's snoozing).

I had to remind myself that Holland doesn't need me anymore.  She is doing great.  I am her mother, but she doesn't need me and it is impossible to maintain the same kind of relationship with someone that is not physically present.  I have my memories, and I have my sweet experiences with her every now and then.  But that's it.  And by trying to maintain this close relationship, I am trying to keep her alive in a way.  I have been afraid what having another baby would mean to that relationship, and so I think I have just dreaded it.  It's scary to think of letting her go because what does that mean for me?

So often I engage in these behaviors, particularly as a Mom, because Holland died.  Example: I check on Briz in the middle of the night every night.  She doesn't need me to and I certainly never did that before Holland died.  It's not by any means some extreme behavior, but I do it simply as an obligation to Holland, to try to hold on to her and the meaning of her death.  Letting go means that I don't define my behaviors as a mother from her death, that I simply parent as me.  And it means that this baby girl inside of me has nothing to do with Holland.

It will be a process to really let this sink in, but I already feel a bit like the "old Lexie."  And I already feel more open to connecting with this baby girl.  I have a lot of stubborn moments, where I think "No, I can't completely let her go.  It's too hard."  But I am now finally starting to understand what the final phase of acceptance is.  I thought I had already accepted, but being pregnant, and starting a new stage has helped me realize that like always, there is more work to do! :)


Cristi Benedict said...

This post is inspiring. Your strength is an amazing example to me. Thank you for sharing. Hugs!

Amander N said...

I have so many thoughts and things I want to talk to you about this post. But I can't really sum them up in a blog comment. I love you and I'm thinking about you. And I love the pics of Holland.

Maggie said...

Any way you think about it, your girls are so lucky to have you as their mom. I mean that. I kinda wish you could adopt me and teach me your ways of emotional strength. I'm always so appreciative of your honesty and how you show your vulnerability and courage at the same time. Love you Lex.

Nancy Zundel said...

Wow. You amaze me. Truly. We all learn so much from your honest posts. Thank you for sharing even when it's probably hard. There is always more to learn in this life.