What is ‘coping’?

The past few days, we’ve mostly been okay. Or what I would describe as okay, given the situation. I haven’t really cried. We’ve even gone to the cinema, out for lunch, into town. On appearances I guess, this week compared to all the others since Leo was born – so far, we are doing better. We have got dressed. We haven’t binged on hobnobs. We haven’t clutched our childhood teddy bears, whilst staring at the floor. Does that mean we are coping?

Ultimately, I doubt it matters. I set two rules early on for us both. Don’t apologise for getting upset (this gets broken quite a bit, we are Brits after all) and ‘paint our own picture of grief’. The second rule we made because we kept doubting that we were doing it right. Are we allowed to laugh? Are we allowed to watch reality tv? Is it okay to listen to music? Tell me who wrote the ‘how to grieve your unborn child rule book‘ and I’ll send them an email and ask. So, instincts prevailed. Just do as your mind and body tell you. For what else is there to do?

What I’ve realised though, despite the outward appearances of ‘doing okay’, Leo is like a heavy thought in my mind constantly. Sometimes as a warm, fuzzy feeling of love, and other times a deep sadness. More recently, I’m getting the acceptance and reality of what death is. Death is forever. Death is gone. Death is no laughter, no smiles, no idea what colour his eyes are. Ever. Death is a grave to visit.

Below, is the first two paragraphs of my rambling grief and confusion that I wrote, maybe a fortnight ago.

“I don’t really understand why Leo had to go, maybe we will never know. And the results of the post mortem aren’t really going to explain why, more just how. It won’t tell us why. Getting the results will be scary, but I guess we will then have some form of answers, whatever they will are. Sharing those answers with people who also have questions might be quite hard depending on what they are. All the little things right now that we and people keep speculating on point to something that me, or at least my body, failed on. Should we have paid more attention, should we have left the hospital on Tuesday satisfied with their answers? It’s too late now though. We may never know, we will never be able to change the outcome that’s for sure. And what do we learn from all of it? That happiness doesn’t come easy, not to us that’s for sure. I don’t know why, we are good people, we work hard, we don’t want anything more than to be a little family. We don’t crave money and success, greed etc – we just want to be mummies. 

Five cycles. Three years. A roller coaster of emotions. Appointments after appointments, secrets, and lies. And we have got closer, and only three short weeks short of our dreams. I think deep down I always knew something like this was going to happen. I just couldn’t see it, the happy outcome. I guess that’s why every little step forward seemed surreal, like just going through the motions. The closer we got, I figured, maybe I am just cynical, maybe our happy ever after is actually going to happen. I let myself believe it, and buy into it, and then it all just came crashing down around us, reality. Bang. Someone just saying no. I just don’t understand why he didn’t just come early if he was struggling – everything you learn is how your body adapts to the needs of the baby, during pregnancy and afterwards too. It communicates and the baby will make the body do what it needs to happen. So why not just come early, ask for help, tell us you were struggling. I am not angry, I just need you to know that you could have done this, you could have just asked for help and we would have looked after you. Just like we are looking after you in death. Or at least trying to, to do our best by you. We would have done everything for you. I just hope we didn’t miss something, you trying to tell us something.

Those thoughts haven’t changed. At all. I just keep thinking them without crying (at least today anyway) because it’s clearly now become a well rehearsed thought pattern. 

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