The day after

I feel like I am going insane.  This didn’t really happen, did it?  Did I dream it – that I was pregnant, that is? This whole experience, how do I make sense of it?  I can’t sleep when I lie down to go to bed. And I can’t bear my thoughts — over and over I write emails or have conversations about what has occurred.  This lack of sleep makes one mad.  I know this.  I need to sleep.  But just now, I get up to go to the bathroom and then into the kitchen for a few bits of banana and it hits me, this feel of unreality, of now knowing if this is true, of doubting I had ever been pregnant.  I feel crazy, unmoored.  The experience in the bathroom at work, bleeding while I held my baby in my hands.  A baby.  My baby?

I need to stop this and sleep.  I have lost reason.  And with that, I lose hope.

I will get through this. With time and care, this sorrow will lesson.  It hurts. It hurts terribly.  I did not think it would hurt so much.  I did not think it would happen.  Oh, I worried about it happening, but as time went on, I let myself settle into believing it was going to be okay.  And it was not.

Why does this feel like humiliation? Why do I want to hide? Do I blame myself, my body? Is it because the experience is not the one heralded as the true experience of motherhood — a joyful pregnancy followed by an adoring and contented postpartum-hood and a lifetime of caring and commitment for one’s child? This experience deviates so severely from that narrative, I am left breathless, shamed, unseen, abhorrent. The bleeding, the pain, the silent birthing of a still baby, the placenta which followed, the milk which beaded on my nipples in the bath tonight, milk intended for a tiny, eager mouth.

I feel so foolish grieving over a baby I didn’t know. I feel so selfish and foolish wanting another one, when I have one already: so perfect, so whole.

How can it hurt so much?


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