Thursday, October 1, 2009

5:00 a.m. Rantings of a Crazy Woman

It's 5:00 a.m. I think I fell asleep briefly sometime after 3:38 a.m., only to wake up again about 45 minutes ago.

Earlier tonight Tim and I somehow randomly discovered that my sister-in-law, Tim's eldest brother's wife, had deleted us both from Facebook. In my bereaved mother craziness, I jumped straight to the conclusion that her reason for doing so must be that she was pregnant. So hoping to put my worried mind at ease, Tim called his middle brother to ask about whether he knew anything. He didn't, but Tim's call prompted his middle brother to call his eldest brother, and within the hour, Tim's eldest brother was on the phone confirming, yes indeed, his wife is pregnant.

Not like just pregnant, but 12 weeks pregnant. His brother swore they were not keeping it a secret just from us, and that they had not told anyone in the family yet. Leaves me curious as to why his wife would have already deleted us from Facebook, but whatever, that's all irrelevant.

Isla was born 13 weeks ago yesterday, which by my calculations means this baby was conceived sometime approximately 2-3 weeks following her death. I would never expect anyone else to put their family planning on hold, and I don't know the circumstances surrounding this little one's conception, but since this is my place to be honest, it fucking hurts that they would allow themselves to become knocked up so soon after their niece died. Not sure when it wouldn't hurt, but somehow I feel that if they conceived in August and not July, I would feel a bit better about this.

News of a pregnancy in the family was going to feel like fucking searing hot metal stakes being driven through my heart no matter when it was delivered, and who was pregnant, but I'm having a particularly hard time with this SIL and BIL being pregnant because they have yet to call, send a card, do anything to acknowledge Isla's death.

We had one email exchange that I initiated when I asked for copies of Tim's baby photos which were in her possession, but literally, that is the only communication I have had with this SIL in 13 weeks. They live half-way across the country, so I understood when they did not attend Isla's funeral, and okay, its hard to pick up the phone to call not knowing what to say after someone's baby has died, but come on, your fucking niece is dead and you can't even send a card, some flowers, something, anything!!

I have been trying very hard to gain perspective on my grief anger, to recognize I'm just angry because my baby died, and to not unknowingly place that anger on friends and family members. But I have to tell you, tonight I lost my shit. Like screaming, banging my head against the mattress, smashing my hands against the wall, pacing for hours, lost my shit. And I'm still just so fucking angry. Yes, much of it is jealousy and just general anger at the universe that they will in all likelihood go on to have a healthy baby and my sweet perfect baby is dead.

But I'm also genuinely angry at these people for doing fuck-all to acknowledge my baby who died, and then calling us tonight expecting us to share in their good news. Apparently they do know our phone numbers and how to dial after all.

I mean come on, they so obviously don't give a rats ass about my baby, so why should I care about theirs, right? But part of the problem is I do. Rational, sane (and I like to think kind, compassionate and loving) Melissa cares. I actually love this little niece or nephew quite a lot already. I'm actually terrified that my SIL who is a teacher does not know the dangers of Parvovirus, and that it will kill another baby in our clan. I would be devastated for everyone if another such loss was to occur. But perhaps much more than that, I'm am terrified that nothing will harm this baby, and he or she will be born alive and then what?!

I never cared much about having the first born grandchild. Our decision to have a baby when we did, had nothing to do with that, and in many ways I wished that one of Tim's brothers would hurry up and have a baby to pave the way for us. But since we did have the first born, and she died, I am now terrified that she is going to be forgotten. That all of the love and affection and attention that was rightfully hers is going to be poured into this new little one, and once that baby is born, alive, and can be held and cooed over, Isla will be nothing more than a distant memory to the rest of the family.

What do I do when someone congratulates my MIL and FIL in front of me on the birth of their "first grandchild"? What do I say when this little once grows up stakes his/her claim to that place in the family? It's not that I care that my SIL and BIL will have a child before we do, its that I wanted to go first again so I could make sure that "first" spot was always held for Isla. It's rightfully hers. If the next baby born into the family was also born to us, I could tell my child all about Isla, and how she was first born, and Grandma and Grandpa's first grandchild. But now, now what do I do!!!

Just knowing these things will be said and done even when we are not present is upsetting. I want the whole entire family to recognize Isla, and I fear, for good reason, that they can't and they won't.

I wish it were as simple as telling my in-laws how I feel, and asking them to acknowledge her place in the family, but its not. Especially when its my MIL who has so forcefully insisted that we "get over" Isla already, and who said, with anger, "Isla was just a late miscarriage". These aren't people who want to understand. These aren't people who I can turn to for support and acknowledgment. In fact, I've tried. I've reached out. I've sent emails explaining my hurts, and flat out begging for support and recognition for Isla. My emails have gone unanswered.

And my SIL and BIL have pretty much made it clear, they really don't care. Maybe now that they are pregnant they will gain some perspective on exactly what it is we lost, but I'm not holding my breath for any additional compassion and understanding from them. I mean seriously, the first time you call me after my baby dies is to call me and tell me you are pregnant?!! And deleting me from Facebook with no explanation, that's not cool, that hurts.

I already feel like Isla matters so little to anyone other than Tim and I, and my mom, that with this new pregnancy she really won't matter to her paternal relatives at all. And that, that makes me soooo angry. Like screaming, banging my head against the mattress, smashing my hands against the wall, angry. I want to stand up and scream, and not just scream in general, scream at these people for what they have already done and for what I fear they will continue to do to the sacred memory of my sweet perfect baby. She deserves so much more than this. She deserves for her aunts and uncles and grandma and grandpa to love her, to honour her, to remember her always.

I don't know what to do with all this anger. Poor Tim. This is his family and so I cannot just rant and rave to him anymore about just how fucking angry I am.

I'm so fucking angry I don't recognize myself. Things have come out of my mouth that rational, sane me would never normally think, let alone say. I'm like an out of control crazy woman. I'm feeling vengeful. I feel like calling up my SIL and telling her that I don't give two fucking cents about their baby because they so obviously didn't give two cents about mine. I feel like refusing to ever acknowledge this child when he or she is born, just to prove how hurtful it is to have a baby and have it go unnoticed by immediate family members. I feel like telling my MIL that she should not be happy about this pregnancy yet, because according to her own logic, at this stage this baby is "nothing more than a ball of cells", so what the fuck is there to celebrate! I feel like calling my FIL and telling him its a good thing he did not waste his airmiles flying here for Isla's funeral because that would have been such a waste when he can now use them to attend the birth of his other first grandchild.

Obviously, I can't and won't do any of the above. I feel sick just thinking that way, it is so far from who I really am and how I really feel. But as soon as I stop thinking like that, I feel hurt again that these people have failed to support us and acknowledge our loss, their own loss, my baby, and that hurt just cycles right back into this blind rage kinda anger. I feel helplessly caught in this cycle of thoughts right now and I don't how to help myself out.

Like seriously. This is toxic. Really toxic. I don't like it. Not one bit. I would much rather be sitting here thinking happy or even just neutral thoughts about this baby. Only I don't know how to keep my thoughts positive and not so dark, and mean, I'm really not a mean person.

It's hurt and fear. I can acknowledge it as such, but I can't turn it off. I feel so helpless because I know I cannot control the actions of others, and the only thing in the world I really have control over are my thoughts and feelings, and the way I react to them. I'm not reacting well and I feel like my feelings have control over me at the moment and not the other way around. I just wish there could be even one outward sign from these relatives that this baby, once born alive, is not more important than poor little dead Isla. That she mattered and still matters just as much. I wish I could make them do the little things it is I want (need?) them to do. But I can't, and without some acknowledgment from them, I can't figure out how to not be so bloody angry.

At this very moment, it feels like someone is taking a spoon to my insides, scraping and scooping them out like you do pumpkin guts before carving. I literally feel gutted. The thoughts im my head are also swirling around wildly. It's now after 7:00 a.m. I have an important professional meeting this afternoon. I need some sleep!!


  1. Your loss is so fresh and raw. I had so many of the same desperate emotions when I was where you are now. You are not alone and you are understood. And for the record (even though I deleted MYSELF from Facebook when Hope died) my cousin recently deleted my brother and sister (and doesn't talk to us anymore, not even at my Grandpa's funeral a few months back) as she's preg with identical twin boys! She had a baby girl just a few months before Hope, now she's due just after me with not one, but TWO little boys! It seems anything I can do, she can do better. I have a dead baby girl, she has a live one. I get pregnant with a boy, she gets preg with TWO! And at 13 months out, not 13 weeks, I'm still enraged with jealousy and anger.
    Don't ever feel bad for how you're feeling. You're exactly where you need to be right now. There is only one way to deal with this and that is to go through it. Head on.

  2. The family is wrong. Oh how I would love to send them all letters. Will they read what you have written? Isla is definately the first born child in the family. (Not an late miscarriage) You will never get "over it" and I hate when people say that. Why is it so difficult for people to talk about this with you. How can they just turn away. I am so sorry for what you are going through. My heart break when I read your words. ((HUGS)) I do care.

  3. My family was initially very loving and supportive but after a couple months they did not want to talk about Akul any more. The only two people whose life has changed forever are my husband and myself. Almost everyone we know wants us to forget this ever happened and move on....but we are paralysed.

  4. I can feel your anger and your hurt which has become a giant ball in the back of my throat remembering my own family's lack of acknowledgement of my son's life and death. I completely understand how much you are hurting, eleven months after my own family's disregard of my son's death or the pain I was in, I'm still devastated. I don't know what to tell you other than that this kind of pain and rage can be harmful. I hope you can find an outlet for it so that you don't end up hurting anymore than you already do. Wish I could hug you...

  5. As Sally said, don't feel bad for being angry. You have every right to feel this way. Anger is a huge part of loss.

    And the phrase "just a late miscarriage" fills me with anger too as it's similar to what I heard after losing George. I actually came to the conclusion that I didn't want to share him with those people, although they weren't family so it was perhaps an easier decision.

    Your beautiful daughter Isla will never be forgotten here.


  6. I am so sorry your MIL said such very, very hurtful things. A late miscarriage? Oh, my. Oh, my. I had hoped that maybe if someone mentioned this new baby born to your BIL that the grandparents would say, "Actually we have a firstborn waiting for us in heaven." How lovely would that be? Will they listen to your husband at all? It would be so much easier for you if they would honour your child as they prepare to welcome a new child.

    I think you have every right to be angry with your SIL and BIL. Why do people assume we'll freak out at news? I mean, it's going to hurt but to be deleted from FB or ignored or the last to know hurts more in my opinion. I've had some friends avoid me (and I have other children living) and it stung and stings. I appreciated friends who are expecting and my cousin who just had a baby (after a very rocky pregnancy it turns out) who emailed me privately to say that they hoped I wouldn't be hurt if they had FB updates or things about their pregnancies or babies. My cousin said she hoped our George was looking over her son in the NICU. I'm wistful for my boy and part of me is angry, but they get that and soothed my poor heart.

    I guess it's the tandem reality of people needing to know what to say and knowing that we don't want our babies forgotten.

    I had a FB meltdown yesterday and will probably blog about it. I sat and thought and walked around and thought and then I posted a very pointed and snarky comment to my uncle (and supposed godfather). He has hardly acknowledged our son - one FB message - but regularly posts about families God knows where whose children are sick and how strong they are in their faith, etc. But my child, his great-nephew, didn't even warrant a call, nor has he ever asked how I'm doing. And he should know, given his line of work, how the weeks after a death are so hard.

    I'll shut up now, but am hugging you from across the country my fellow Canuck bereaved mumma. Email me if you ever want to talk - I'm happy to give you my number and we can cry on the phone together. (((Hugs)))

  7. By the way, if it helps, if your MIL says she was just a late miscarriage again, perhaps you could respond, "Actually, she was a pre-term birth." In your face, mean MIL.

  8. ouch ouch ouch! i'm so sorry, that must suck so badly. i can't imagine how much it hurts. Leila was the first grandchild too, and i had not even thought about this situation. but everything about this is so hurtful and i'm upset that you are having to go through this. and quite frankly, i'm disgusted with your MIL for saying such things to you. i think that's heartless. you have every right to be angry about all this. i know that anger so well, though it's slowly subsiding. i hope that you know that Isla matters to me too. (((hugs)))

  9. Oh Isla's mommy. This is just all so horrible. I'm so sorry. As Sally and Barbara both said, please don't feel bad for being angry. You would be super-human if you didn't. You certainly aren't a mean person.

    I've had that thought too, that you didn't care about my baby so why should I care about your baby thought. But just because we think it doesn't mean we actually mean it. Of course we care really, of course we care about other people's babies. But sometimes it just hurts that so many people didn't say a single word when our babies died. Not even sorry.

    For obvious reasons the "just a late miscarriage" comments makes my blood boil. Isla was your daughter. How dare she say that.

    My in-laws lost their first grandchild (my nephew) and my parents obviously lost theirs as well when my daughter died. It is difficult when it is such a common question for grandparents as well as for parents. I still stumble over it myself. I hope that both yours and Tim's parents will acknowledge Isla.

    Oh my dear, I wish I could take some of this away from you. It isn't fair. Much love xo

  10. You my dear are in your own right to be angry. I'm steaming at the moment. If you saw me you could probably see it coming out of my ears. As you live far from the in-laws, thank God, you may one day meet the new baby when they are grown and tell them about Isla. And, as I and many others know, children's understanding or acceptance of angels is much more precious. And once you mention it, they may have some questions to answer.

    Hugs to you my friend.

  11. Thank you so much for your comment on my blog. Although I hate that we have to meet under such circumstances, it's wonderful to "know" you.

    I tried to downplay things when I wrote on my blog about "negative feelings" between myself and my inlaws. But I understand 100% what you're talking about. My inlaws have never once acknowledged that our children died. Oh, and they live 20 minutes away. They didn't bring food, they didn't come visit - nothing. It doesn't so much hurt me as make me so angry I can't see :) I get it. And I'm sorry.

  12. Oh, I feel that rage too. That violent, irrational, totally absorbing rage.

    I have a two BILS and two SILS who have not acknowledged two of my children's deaths. If it hadn't happened to me, I wouldn't have believed it could happen. That family can be so selfish and insensitive. Other people don't believe it. But unfortunately it does happen.

    And I want exactly what you want -- for family and friends to honour the memory of my children and my love for them. That's all I ask, and they can't even do that.

    Big ((hugs)).