normal feelings

To the commenter who says I’m “in need of some serious therapy” because I sometimes deal with overwhelming feelings of resentment towards other moms who had live babies:

These feelings are normal. Baby loss moms (and dads) have very irrational feelings sometimes. Otherwise perfectly normal conversations happening around us cause us a lot of pain. Just *seeing* a pregnant woman can cause sudden flashes of extreme anxiety, grief, and pain. There is nothing wrong with feeling this way. We know that it is NOT these other women’s fault for having normal pregnancies and births. In fact, we really don’t want anyone else to experience what we have. This is a miserable club to join and we all wish it never had another member.

In need of serious therapy? Yes indeed, most parents who lose a child ARE in need of therapy. That’s also normal and healthy. Keep in mind that people who are going through the extreme emotions of grief often blog or write to express these feelings. We don’t have to put a disclaimer up that our feelings are not always rational. I don’t need to even explain that because the community I’m blogging for right now is a community of baby loss moms who understand and have posted similar sentiments.

So when I say that sometimes seeing a happily pregnant woman makes me want to shove her off a cliff? Yeah, I actually have no intention or desire to literally shove her off a cliff. I actually hope that she never, ever feels what I’m feeling. I hope she has a completely normal pregnancy and birth, and can talk about the birth of her baby for the rest of her life without feeling like it’s a punch in the gut. But I have every right to feel what I’m feeling and to write about it in my blog. If it doesn’t make sense to you, well… you’ve probably never lost a baby. Or you deal with grief differently. Either way, put aside your judgments of my feelings, or at least keep them to yourself.

Rant over.

Author: Mother of All Things

Mother by fostering, adoption, and marriage... wife to my best friend... Bay area critical care nurse... travel in my blood, reading in my bones, clean food on my mind!

15 thoughts on “normal feelings”

  1. Mmm. I preface all that I am going to say here by saying I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter. I was heartbroken to read what you went through.

    I’ve lurked here for a long time and I’ve had two friends in my life who have lost babies; both after birth in their cases after term pregnancies.

    What I’ve learned from them is that you never stop talking about it or feeling like a piece of you is missing, and the unfair feeling that your baby should be here, currently experiencing this or that, never ebbs either. You never stop longing for your baby, no matter how many babies you have afterwards.

    But your anger at other mothers, while understandable in your fresh grief, needs to turn to something constructive and less resentful soon, or it’s going to get bad for you, and you need to stop letting those feelings out, either in relatively harmless blog format, or elsewhere, and learn instead to cultivate a willingness and wish that pregnant woman you see well. Because, while it may seem relatively harmless on the page, and just a way of venting your anger, it is disturbing as a clinical sign of being dangerous, and even though I don’t THINK you are dangerous, I think you are letting your anger run amok in dangerous ways in saying this. I think the more you let this kind of nastiness to other mothers out, the more you make it impossible for yourself to heal. You won’t ever heal all the way, but eventually there will come a point you can look at other mothers and children without hating and loathing them for being happy, and the longer you hate every pregnant mom you see, the longer you harm yourself, the longer you do yourself a disservice, and the longer you do your future relationships and potential future children, foster or otherwise, a disservice. You’ve mentioned drinking yourself to sleep and taking medication, and this, combined with your grief and your anger, really concerns me.

    I am not saying don’t grieve your baby and feel your feelings. I am not saying your emotions are not valid. I am not saying I don’t understand. I AM saying, get a grip on your angry emotions before they permanently get a grip on you, and you are left wondering why you are made of nothing but anger and venom towards anyone who has ever had a child.

    This is kind of why I hate blogging sometimes; because I think without this public outlet to lash out at other mothers, perhaps mothers who lost their babies like you wouldn’t cement in their hatred of other mothers, and would heal faster.

    I don’t think you like me saying any of this much, and I apologize, but I am not the sort of person to just say that everything you say and do is okay. I have typed out and deleted about 50 comments to you, about how I am sad for you but also want you to do something about this before it eats you alive. Go to a mindfulness class or something, okay? Do something other than be made of anger. Find something else to think of, to care about, to take care of. Avalon will always be a part of whatever you do, but she also wouldn’t want you to sink like this, into your pit of grief.

    1. I would actually agree with you in every respect… except that I think perhaps I’ve come across a lot angrier at other moms than I actually am. Some days I am really, really angry, that’s true. I accept that, especially in the beginning, these feelings are going to be there. My anger is really just at how things worked out, and it’s no one’s fault. A lot of moms turn these feelings in on themselves (blaming your own body for not doing what it’s supposed to, or something like that), and I’ve done that as well. Coming into month 3, it has really been prominent to me that hearing other moms talk about their healthy babies, or seeing other healthy very pregnant women, has brought up big feelings for me. A lot of those feelings are anger, at my situation, but NOT AT THAT OTHER INDIVIDUAL.

      I am not a person made of anger. I do not wish anything bad to happen to those women or their children. They are lucky and I don’t want to take that from them. Afterall, I don’t want THEIR babies or THEIR pregnancies, I just want mine back, and can’t have it. I read a very good blogger is 3 years out from the loss of her baby, has another healthy baby, and STILL feels this way sometimes when she sees pregnant women! Does it eat her up and make her a cruel horrible person? No. Does she talk about it to most people she meets? No. She blogs about it, though, for the baby loss community. And through her and other bloggers like her, I’ve come to see that these periodic moments of anger and resentment are actually very normal. My therapist agrees with that.

      That being said, what you DO with anger can become destructive. I have not ‘cemented’ in hatred of other mothers, not at all. These feelings will get better with time, and will occur less frequently as my healing evolves. I am not using my anger as fuel to lash out verbally or physically at other undeserving people. Nor do I sit around all day stewing that they have what I don’t. I recognize the feeling of anger as normal, the resentment is normal, and then I try to let it go. They did nothing wrong and I don’t blame them or truly hate them. I hate what happened to me. I can recognize the difference. Can you?

      I think it’s funny also that you say “before I sink into my pit of grief”. I am in a pit of grief, honey. I’m not sure what kind of loss you’ve ever gone through, but this IS the pit of grief. I live here right now and I allow myself room to feel what I feel, in my most desperate moments, and then I do what I’m able to do to crawl out of it, when I can, if I can. I play piano, I go to work, I read, I visit my friends and family, I’m making a beautiful memorial garden and working a lot to pay for it and for her gravestone. I go about my day doing what I can to become a little bit happier, a little healthier, and a little bit further along in this grief. My loss is very fresh and with me. My loss is a painful slashing throbbing wound right now. Time will make it better. Someday it will be a softer sadness, and not poignant rage. And you what? That is ok. It IS ok.

    2. Suzanne, I agree completely. You are just saying it more eloquently than I did. No one is minimizing the pain. The hurtful remarks from women who have miscarried and lost their child (I HAVE LIVED THROUGH HEARING THEM) need to stop. I started reading this blog through Fosterhood as it was a foster care blog, but I’m done. I hope you find peace, healing and comfort.

      P.S. Yes, Kaela, people can be assholes – in every piece of the pregnancy picture.

      1. I would hope that in real life people would limit their comments to you as a luckier pregnant mom or new mom. I would never say anything outloud to someone just because I’m jealous. That’s just rude. But if you visit a babyloss community, expect to find resentments toward you that really aren’t personal. I recommend you count your blessings (since it’s really a great thing that you can’t relate) and stop reading baby loss blogs.

      2. Never commented before, but I need to now. I’m kind of surprised that you would have the audacity to say you’ve “lived through” comments about baby loss. Wow. I don’t think that’s the kind of thing you “live through”. I think losing a child is the kind of thing you “live through”. Everyone has HEARD about baby loss or the loss of a child in general – I too have friends who have lost children. But having never experienced it, I can’t say how I would react – although I’m not sure I would react sanely AT ALL. This is the blog of someone who is trying to make sense of her grief, and I believe doing so through written word is a healthy way to do so. If you don’t like what you’re reading, I believe it would be best to leave quietly or at least respectfully.

  2. I know exactly how you feel because I have been there. It is so extremely and totally normal, but I know it is really hard for people to understand if they have not gone through the pain of losing a child that they never got to meet. You obviously don’t wish harm on anyone. It is just so hard to deal with the jealousy and pain. This is your blog space and you have the right to say what you want and how you feel. Blogging is a sort of therapy! Sometimes I read your posts and at first I am a little shocked and saddened, but then I remember where I was exactly a year ago. Not in a good place and in the depths of despair. Time is an amazing thing though. It doesn’t heal all wounds but makes them so much easier to deal with. I think you are dealing with everything is a very healthy fashion. I continue to read and follow you silently and hope and pray that the rest of this year brings healing and good things for you. xoxo

    1. It’s surprising to me that anyone finds my posts shocking! I read so many babyloss blogs and assumed these were pretty universal feelings in the beginning… I forgot that not everyone has exposure to the raw, fresh anger that comes along with the first few months or year of grief. What they read may indeed be shocking, or worrisome. I hope, for their sake, they never truly understand what it’s like to live with such shockingly strong feelings, either. I look to other baby loss moms who are farther along than I am and I do see hope. I know that things do get a little better. Never all the way better, but less sharp and less poignant. Thank you for being a beacon of hope to me 🙂

  3. Yes, you do have every right to have those feelings. Any parent who has lost a child would tell you that is completely normal. People can be such assholes.

    1. I just found it a little shocking that someone thinks I’m on a hate spiral down into drugs, alcohol, and spitefulness. I don’t see myself this way at all! The blog is definitely slanted that way, I guess, because where else can I say these things to a community of people who have been there and understand that it’s normal?

  4. You do have every right to those feelings and I’m horrified that someone here – on your baby loss blog – would tell you that you need “serious therapy” knowing all you’ve gone through (and that you ARE in therapy). Obviously that person needs some sensitivity training and/or was born without empathy.

    Not only that, but this is your blog to say whatever the hell you want, without filtering.

    PS – I followed you on tumblr from the very beginning of your pregancy. I haven’t commented on any of your writing recently because I am one of *those* people and I didn’t want to be a painful reminder. But I wanted to let you know that I still read your words, I still think of you and my heart hurts with you. I’ll always remember Avalon too, weird as that might sound, since I’m just a virtual stranger. But she is a beautiful soul who has touched the lives of all who knew of her life, in one way or another.

    1. Thank you so much. I continue to love my Moose and feel very satisfied with my time as a foster mom. The commenter above seems to worry that my “angry feelings” will spill over into fostering another baby… but nah. My anger is just at the situation, the loss of my baby. I have other precious babies in my life that I love and cherish, like Moose, like my nieces, etc. I think a lot of others have followed me here from that time, and perhaps it is a shock to see the strong feelings that mother’s grief can bring out. I will always love my daughter and that love is going to shine through to my future foster or non-foster children. She showed me that I really loved being a mom.

  5. I had a miscarriage and never got to hold my baby. When I “passed” the baby the shock and loss was something I never thought would leave me. And honestly it is still there, but I like to think that there are so many layers of good on top of it now that it is buried in a way. I think your reaction is normal, what ever normal is after you loose a baby. And I think it is good you write it down. I do not like the part of our culture that hids away miscarriage and baby loss. I desperately needed someone to talk to and thankfully friends admitted they had miscarriages after they found of about mine.

    About the seeing other pregnant people. I totally get that! There is a woman my mother in law knows who was due within weeks of when I was. I could not stand to hear about her… Even after I became pregnant again! I’m nursing my seven month old right now… And love her with every ounce of my being, but seeing the other woman’s baby, it still hurts. It’s such a complicated feeling because I wouldn’t have my Bennie if the other pregnancy continued. It’s one of the reasons I think only other baby loss/miscarriage moms can understand what we go through.

    I am wishing you much peace. I thought you were so lovely with Moose. I think you’ll be brilliant fostering again and being pregnant again… It will lesson. It may never totally go away, but I think that’s ok. Like you said, Avalon is a part of you.

  6. I am so sorry you are dealing with these comments on top of the loss of you precious child. I have been there too. I have been told to, “get over it,” “get help,” etc as well.

    If someone doesn’t understand it that is fine. If you haven’t lost a child, I wouldn’t expect them to. But if you haven’t lost a child, don’t try to give advice. I don’t give my doctor advice on how to treat her other patients’ illnesses.

    I hope you can learn to ignore the as**oles. Don’t let them keep your from posting your true feelings. It is nice to know I am not alone in my grief. (Hugs)

    1. Yeah, some people do need sensitivity training. Listen, I’m pregnant right now. In fact, I know I’m the person who would hurt you to see. Each day at work I see a woman who lost her baby at 35 weeks. I KNOW it kills her to see me. One of my friends lost her baby a few weeks ago- she was due a DAY after me. I know seeing me or hearing about my pregnancy is hell for her. Here’s the difference: I am at least wise enough to know they are grieving and angry and sad. I have no damn clue what they are going through. No freaking idea. My heart aches for them and you.

      There is no guarantee in life. Your anger and grief are totally normal. As someone who is pregnant and reads your blog I understand your emotions. I never want to feel what you feel. I admire your honesty and the people who judge your emotions need a little more empathy in understanding the process of grief.

      Keep doing what you’re doing. We’ll keep reading and thinking about you.

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