when the bough breaks

Have you ever noticed what a horrible, frightening song “Rockabye Baby” is?  It’s about a baby being blown out of a tree by a violent storm that causes the branch to snap.  Why the hell have we been singing this to children for so long? Maybe there is a wikipedia answer for that.  I’ll check later.  I’m too sleep-deprived to give a complete crap right now.

I’m starting to have longer periods of feeling normal during the day, but the nightmares are still there at night… when I can sleep at all.  I reluctantly got a prescription for Ambien early on, because the first few nights after the hospital I got no rest at all.  Sometimes the medication works, but usually when it does the whole event replays itself like a horror movie in my dreams.   I see flashes of what I saw that day and hear the echoes of my own screams and it wakes me up in a panic.   Husband wants me to see a shrink about the whole deal, but I don’t think I’m ready.  I think I have every right to my fallouts and freakouts without being judged as going crazy.  I think the crazy thing would be if I was “over it” already and in a bright shiny mood all the time.  He has been my rock, he has been as patient and loving as anyone could possibly be, but sometimes I feel this pressure to “get better” that frustrates me into a whole other group of freakouts.

To be fair, I know that men can already be frightened by the intensity of women’s emotions even under ordinary circumstances,  and the emotions Husband has seen come out of me in the past 3 weeks have been beyond intense.   When I fall apart, I see fear and helplessness on his face and I wish I could shut it down sometimes… just to protect him from the tsunami.  After all, this is his heartbreak, too.   I saw him cry in a way I never wanted to have to experience.  We cried together.  We took turns holding each other.  But then it seemed that at some point he cried as much as he needed to and stopped.  He “got it out” and seems legitimately confused as to why I haven’t caught up.   Sometimes he catches me staring off into space looking sad and actually asks me “What’s wrong?”


Maybe it’s not confusion. Maybe it’s just exhaustion on his part.  It’s so important to him to see me move past this storm that sometimes I feel rushed.  I certainly don’t want to wallow forever,  I certainly want to move through this hell and get to the “happy ending”, but I certainly do not want to be rushed.

He’s an engineer by trade,  and his brain works like a computer.  I tried to give him all the realistic facts about what I’m going through to help him understand.  I described in detail for him the biological/neurological/physiological link between a mother and infant.  I described how crucial that bond is to the perpetuation of our very species.  I hypothesized that this very bond is most likely how “love” ever evolved in the first place:  from the link between mother and child;  the relentless unconditional drive to protect and nurture and feed and look after another being.  I reminded him how everywhere in nature, mothers become distraught when separated from their offspring.    The process of pregnancy itself was a sometimes painful one for me.  It was a complete transformation.  Not just my body, but my mind and all of my spirit and energy transformed into something else.  I became a Mother.  I became a whole new creature with a whole new set of drives and intentions.  My belly and breasts changed shape and size and biological composition in order to accommodate a new life, and so did everything else, including my mind and heart.   All of the systems are connected, and so when that link is severed,  it’s like taking the hard drive out of a computer and thinking it will still run the same way (I have to explain a lot of things to Husband in terms of computer functions)…  or maybe the motherboard …(my computer metaphors are usually off…)

The connection was broken, but the rest of my body didn’t get the memo.  A day or two after the delivery my breasts doubled their size and completely hardened, raging against me and punishing me for not using them.   When I would leak,  I would cry… leaking means it’s time to feed the baby… so your instinct is to go get that baby… find him and feed him.  It was a constant reminder and when there was nothing at the other end of that connection to find and feed,  I would collapse into angry helpless hysterics.  So Husband started telling me during these fallouts that I should “get some help”, a suggestion whose timing only served to make me angrier and more hysterical.

As my body has calmed down a bit so have the crying spells, and as I said before during the day I can feel normal for long enough to be functional.  But the memories are still there, haunting my dreams at night.  So then I don’t sleep well, so then I’m cranky, and now we’re at the point where we’re kind of taking it out on each other a bit.  I expected this to be part of the deal,  but it sucks.  Last night I freaked out and slept on the couch for some reason I can’t recall, which hurt both our feelings unnecessarily.  This morning he asked me why I had done that and I didn’t have an answer for him… so he gave me that look that a man gives a woman when he loves her very much but thinks she is quite insane.  I wanted to slap that look off his face but I just cried instead.. so he told me again to think about getting help.

I don’t need help.  I need to grieve.  Grieving is weird and scary and difficult and it’s making me weird and scary and difficult.  Maybe he needs help… maybe we both do… but right now I just need to grieve…and sleep… and find some ice cream… maybe with booze in it….



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. sue
    Jan 03, 2012 @ 17:55:33

    I am here from LFCA. I wanted to say how very sorry I am for the loss of your little boy. There are no words I can say, but I am so very, very sorry.

    I lost twin boys at 20+ weeks exactly four years ago today. When you’re up to it, feel free to come by and cry and curse or whatever you want to do. I’m not writing as much these days, but I am around if you need or want a shoulder. Or a brick to throw.

    Sending peace, for as long as it may take to get to you.


  2. Anna
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 21:15:18

    One very important thing that all the nurses and therapists told me is that sometimes you and your husband will grieve together and sometimes one will be grieving while the other is seemingly you ok and that you need to both be able to repsect that you’re going through things differently. As two different people. As a man and a woman. As a mother and father. You’re not going to react the same way at the same times. They said this was often the hardest thing for couples to get through but as long you both recognize it, it will make the process easier. Wishing you peace.


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