Right Where I Am: 8 months 1 day

Still Life With Circles has started an amazing project for baby lost moms – it is the Right Where I Am Project.  http://stilllifewithcircles.blogspot.com/2011/05/right-where-i-am-project-two-years-five.html

So, here is my “right where I am” today:

It has been 8 months and 1 day since my twin boys were born, Quinn died the same day, Trace followed him 4 days later.

A lot has happened since then, we adopted a 9 month old baby girl in early April – but although it makes me mommy, it does nothing to take away my grief.

Today, Memorial Day, I stood in the shower and cried.  I feel like the world wants me to be back to normal – I have a child now, but that doesn’t take away what I lost with my boys.  And that doesn’t make it all better.  I love her dearly -AND I miss my boys – all at the same time. They are separate, independent things.

About two weeks ago my MIL watched my daughter for 2 hours while I was on a business call.  Afterwards she said to me “I’m so glad you don’t have the twins” – apparently she was trying to express that she was overwhelmed taking care of just one.  But I was so angry with her – I stammered and shook my head and told her not to say it – never to say it again.  I still cannot fathom why someone would feel it is okay to say that.  We would never say “I’m so glad your mother died, she would have been such a burden on you”.  So, why is it okay to say you are glad that my children aren’t here?

After discussing it with my DH, he wants me to “fix it” so there isn’t tension between us.  Yet, he knows if I bring it up to her, she will just justify what she said as me being too sensitive or that it wasn’t what she meant.  Yet, the truth is that her motives really weren’t relevant in the moment- knowing that she didn’t mean to hurt me (assuming the best case scenario) did nothing to lessen the stabbing pain that took my breath away when she said such a terrible, horrible thing.  And frankly, trying to discuss it with her and hearing her being defensive would almost be worse than the original offense.  How is it that she gets to be mad at me for stopping her and telling her not to say that?  How does this make sense? I honestly don’t know how this issue gets resolved – or maybe I just don’t care to resolve it.  A line has been crossed that can never be un-crossed.

I don’t want to be the bitter woman whose children died…but some things are just sacred. Some things that should just go unsaid – even if they are in your head.  I can’t and won’t apologize for feeling this strongly about it.

Somehow this whole thing threw me right back to the angry stage of grief.  Not surprisingly, shortly after this incident, I got a sore throat – the kind that comes when your body needs to speak out and you feel that you can’t say what you feel.  I can’t make it go away.  Perhaps it is telling me that I need a way to express how mad and sad I still am.  Maybe this post will help.

And that, my friends, is the ugly truth about “right where I am” today.

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23 Responses to Right Where I Am: 8 months 1 day

  1. I should introduce her to my MIL. Neither of them know how to think before they speak. I don’t think it’s your job to educate her on what to say and not to say. That’s her son’s job. She isn’t going to react well if confronted by you. But he’s her son and the best chance of getting a positive reaction. If he chooses not to then so be it.

    My hubby mostly defends me when his Mom lashes out at me and says mean stupid stuff. I never address it with her directly because there’s no winning in that scenario. My MIL recently told me that I was “too old” to keep trying for a baby and “maybe nature is trying to tell me something.” I’m not sure if she was referring to my son dying at 36 weeks or trying again with that. Nice, huh?

    • Sue says:

      Ugh, your MIL sounds downright mean. That is a rude and awful thing to say to you. BTW – I’m so excited about your new plans!!! I think sometimes it is just easier to leave In Laws in the dark until much later in the process.

      I haven’t had a lot of time so I meant to comment on your dentist post, but was reading on my phone and haven’t figured out how to comment easily on the phone. I swear, we have so much in common! I had my own dentist – post loss issues and kept putting it off. Finally had a cavity filled about a week ago – less painful than I had anticipated. One down, one to go. Now it is your turn! 🙂

      Yes, my husband planned to talk to his mother, but when he went to do it she sprung some other family sad news on him – so he decided it wasn’t the right time. I think if he had been here when it happened, it might have been different – but he also knows that she will just be defensive with him too. I told him I didn’t care what her response was, he just needed to make sure that she hears that we feel what she said was awful and hurtful – no excuses. Sadly, I’m not sure that will ever happen because the retribution to him would be long and painful – he’s been down that road with her before. Sigh.

  2. Sally says:

    Crying in the shower – that was always my place to cry as well.
    And as for being the bitter woman whose child died – sometimes it is hard not to be that woman, especially when you have such thoughtless things said to you.
    I am so sorry for the loss of your precious Quinn and Trace. Glad you took part in Angie’s project.

  3. MyTwoLines says:

    I’m so so so sorry for the hurtful, devastating words your MIL said. There is NO EXCUSE. I have not lost babies but I cannot imagine someone ever thinking there was an OK way to say those words to you. And I totally understand you saying that having your daughter is completely separate from losing your boys. Of course.

    Back to your MIL, is there a way you can send her an email or a letter, that way you can control ahead of time exactly how you word things, read it with your husband, make sure you are HEARD and then tell her that you do not expect a response (so she can’t try to justify) but you just needed to say certain things without getting emotional in the moment or caught up in a war of words/semantics? Although email can feel impersonal, that ability to pre-form your thoughts can be very helpful.

    Thinking of you and your sweet baby boys today.

    • Sue says:

      Thanks – I had offered to write a letter and let DH “review” it, but he didn’t think that would go over well. I may re-visit the idea though – somehow I just need to know that she knows I feel what she did was not okay. She doesn’t have to agree, but I feel the need to be heard. And if I never send it, it may be cathartic for me. Clearly I still have issues and I am not successfully putting this incident behind me yet.

      So sweet of you to stop by my blog – I’m sending good thoughts your way for your babies to come home soon.

  4. Angie says:

    Oh, honey, how thoughtless of her. I have a mil who has similar kind of problem–no thinky before talky. I have no strategies to deal with her except cry in the shower too. My husband never talks on my behalf to her, and I respect that dynamic too much to confront her, but my list of resentments is a mile long. Anyway, thank you for participating and sharing right where you are. I think a lot of women can relate to it. xo

  5. Sue says:

    Thanks you to all for your supportive comments. I do feel a bit guilty now that I publicly discussed this yet haven’t spoken to her about it. I almost feel like perhaps I should edit this to protect her. We’ll see. I know she will never see it – she does not own a computer nor will she ever have email. But still….I feel a bit childish now for handling it this way.

  6. afteriris says:

    My jaw’s on the floor at you MIL’s comment. But I understand what you mean about feeling like you ought to protect her. Please don’t feel bad for writing it, though. It’s so important, I think, to say it out loud. It makes it mean something different when it’s outside of your head.

    I’m so sorry for the loss of Quinn and Thrace x

  7. patty says:

    I am glad you were able to vent somewhere. I had several incidents where family members said the wrong things, not directed to my daughter, but they still hurt. I realize how we are STILL sensitive and hurting at 8 months or a year…. people seem to minimize our healing process. No matter how far down the road of grief it’s been, those were careless words to say. I know your MIL may not be a bad person in general… It would be nice for her to NOT be defensive about herself and just listen to you with humility.

  8. Erica says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of Quinn and Trace, and I’m really grateful for your honest writing about where you are right now.

    I get this, so much, feeling like everyone expects you to be normal when you are still aching and nowhere near ready to attempt normal yet. The comment was horrible (terribly so, my jaw dropped when I read about it and all I could think for three minutes was, really?), but it sounds like it also hit you in a very vulnerable time and set of circumstances, and I’m so sorry you had to deal with that.

  9. Suzy says:

    Inexcusable doesn’t begin to cover it.

    “And frankly, trying to discuss it with her and hearing her being defensive would almost be worse than the original offense. How is it that she gets to be mad at me for stopping her and telling her not to say that? How does this make sense? I honestly don’t know how this issue gets resolved – or maybe I just don’t care to resolve it. A line has been crossed that can never be un-crossed.”

    YES ^^ THIS.

    I have experienced a few of those moments in my time too. And I end up having to defend myself to the non-thinker in question.

    Perhaps the only thing to do is nothing at all…but if she ever says it again…let loose everything you are feeling right now 😉

  10. Sara says:

    “I love her dearly -AND I miss my boys – all at the same time.”
    Understanding this would go a long way; that and understanding that the loss of a child (or children) isn’t something you “get over.”

    Wishing you many happy hours (days, years . . .) with your daughter and honoring your grief and missing of your boys.

  11. Debbie Brown says:

    Sue, I’m so sorry. That was an awful thing for her to say. Hoping it doesn’t strain your relationship with her too much.

    Wanted to pass on the blog of a friend who lost her baby girl and has since adopted. I thought of her as I read your post, she has posted openly and honestly about her grief. http://godisapromisekeeper.blogspot.com/

  12. Joanie says:

    What words can be offered, except to say that I think of you and your husband, your sons and your daughter every day. I read this post when it was first published, and you know my thoughts on the whole very bad yucky thing. But, I wanted to just stop by and tell you you are in my heart today (and yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that…well, you get the idea)


    • Sue says:

      Thanks Joanie, you are so sweet and it is so kind of you to stop by and say hi – even when I’m in a funky, cranky mood. 🙂 I have to say now that a little time has gone by, I am less upset about this (seriously, I was breaking out in hives upset every time I talked about it for the first couple of weeks). Not that it is any less horrible, But now, I am trying to recognize it is not about me. I am sad that my MIL makes these choices and that her life is lonely and isolated as a result. Sad that my daughter will not have the same relationship with her grandmother that I had with mine – I was soooo lucky! I am hopeful we can find some way to help encourage them to develop a positive, relationship of their own though. Although it is not completely within my control, I think that maybe I can help create opportunities to foster a relationship between them while trying to maintain a safe, protected environment for my daughter.

  13. Catherine W says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear twin boys, Quinn and Trace.

    It is so difficult when the world fails to recognise that the love we feel for each of our children operates independently. Of course you love your little girl but that is entirely separate from the grief you feel over the loss of your sons. The world at large seems to view children (particularly babies) as interchangeable at times. Or perhaps that is just a way of side stepping an issue, the loss of a unique individual who barely had a chance to live, that is too painful to handle?

    I am sorry to read about what your MIL said. I’m sure she didn’t mean to hurt you but, you are right, some things are sacred. I have had similar comments from family members following the loss of one of my twins, as though I was lucky to have escaped the extra work of two rather than one. It never ceases to amaze me some of the comments people come out with.

  14. I’m arriving belatedly from Angie’s project so I have been able to read your updates too. You sound like such a warm and patient mama.Your MIL’s comment was dreadful and I agree with Catherine, it’s the underlying sentiment that babies are intershangeable, that makes it so, so awful. I’m glad you have been able to find some way through.

    I am sorry that your sons are not growing up with you.

  15. maura says:

    I don’t think apologizing for your response (which I felt was quite nice) is necessary. I realize she didn’t not mean the comment to be hurtful, but it was. Some people speak prior to thinking, but there is their error; not yours. You being open and upfront with her about her comment I think was the best thing that could have happened. She now knows how you feel about off comments and should realize how much losing your babies still hurts you.
    I agree that if you want to appease your HD, then writing a letter/email would allow you to have control without having to hear her get defensive and make you more upset. I still don’t think an apology is necessary.

    On a different note, it is comforting knowing that women, even after adopting (or giving birth to) a child have sadness regarding their previous losses. I do agree, they are separate issues, but so often, once an infertile ‘gets to the other side’ they make life seem so perfect, just as a fertile would. I often think how I would be or feel if/when I get there and know I will carry this sadness with me. I may not notice it daily, but moments; due dates etc would have an impact. So thank you for being honest about it.

  16. Willow says:

    What an awful thing for your MIL to say! I think you handled it very well, and I don’t think you need to be the one to smooth things over. I’m so sorry for your loss, which of course you continue to grieve. I am also so happy about your adoption. But of course your happiness doesn’t automatically cancel out your grief, nor does your loss diminish your joy over your daughter.

  17. Joanie says:

    Thinking of you…

  18. Joanie says:

    Just swinging by to just say “hi”!…so….”Hi!”

  19. Kate says:

    thirteen and a half years ago, I lost a baby. He was my first baby and he died in utero when I was 28 weeks pregnant. At that moment my entire life changed. His existence shaped everything after. The adoption of our sons, the births of our daughters. Thirteen years later we still celebrate his birthday by sending balloons off to heaven and lighting a candle. He will always be with me. But I swear to you it does get easier, each day, each month, each year that goes by, the deep wound heals and becomes a scar. A scar you will always carry with you but it won’t be a deep gaping wound. It took me years to get to that point. 8 months is not enough time. Don’t let anyone rush you through your grief.
    The hardest thing for me was feeling so alone. It seems like everyone and their uncle was having a healthy baby except me. Well meaning people would say the most awful things – “It’s okay, you’ll have another.” – one of my very favorites. It is just so hard and not something easily recovered from especially because so few people want to talk about it or listen to you talk about it.
    Please remember you are not alone.. I am so sorry for the loss of your twins. Hold onto your new baby girl and know that for her, you will fight through the pain and come out on the other side.
    My best,

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