I felt something different yesterday. Of course, nothing was different. I woke up with my daughter, had breakfast, played with her, talked to friends on the phone, ran errands, cleaned, hated the rude neighbor kids. But sometime around 5pm, I realized that for the first time since Carpenter died, I wasn't counting down the minutes until my husband got home from work. Liv and I were playing on the bed, laughing our butts off, and it hit me. I was happy. And that immediately made me feel guilty.
When I first came home from the hospital, my niece was the first person to greet me. She demanded I show her all the pictures of Carpenter again and we sat together talking about how cute he was. I spent most of the next week crying. When Liv came home, I tried to keep a stiff upper lip but faltered, having crying jags that lead to tearful calls to Mike, begging him to come home. 6 weeks post-stillbirth, I would choke back tears whenever I had to go to Target in the middle of the day. (That place is ripe with triggers.) I took meds for a while, determined to shake the pain that encompassed everyday life. Now, four months post-stillbirth, I am scared to death to be happy.
I know that sounds insane. Which is why I haven't had the guts to say it out loud to anyone--even myself. You might ask why I'm so concerned about this, when it's what I've been wanting for so long. And I'll just come right out and say it. I'm scared that if I'm getting happy, I'm losing my connection with my son. Now I know (hope?) that you're thinking to yourself how crazy I am--that I could never lose him--but if you told me that today I'd have none of it.
When someone told me about the "new normal" aspect of babyloss, I was relieved. I didn't want everything to be the same. I didn't want to feel like I did before Carpenter's death because so much had been taken from me. Something had to change to reflect that. So I embraced a new normal in which I spoke up to anyone around, telling people of my son's little life. I wore my "1 in 4" t-shirts to the gym every day. And I felt relief when I cried, knowing that Carpenter could see my tears and know I missed him.
But this week, something is different. I bought new gym clothes, and sewed new skirts so I didn't have to wear yoga pants and pregnancy loss t-shirts every day. I mention Carpenter only to those who actually know about him (and I feel like most of them are ready for me to move on). And I can't remember the last time I had a good cry. This week, I've been pretty close to what I used to be like before I lost Carpenter. This week, I've not been overcome with grief, and I couldn't be more upset about it.