Life, Revisited.

Every time I’ve sat down in front of a blank screen this week I’ve been at a loss for words. With Before-Rhonda that would be shocking. With After-Rhonda, not so much.

My words are lost somewhere between my heart and my fingers. I rarely write here with my head. When I started this blog I knew it wouldn’t mean anything if I wasn’t completely honest and raw as a writer. I write first and think after most of the time. It gives me some catharsis then. A release that, no matter how hard I try, I can’t find anywhere else.

After my last entry, Darcy looked at me and said “You know, your blog entries are incredibly self loathing”.

And he’s not wrong.

I see that when I write, but more and more, I see that when I look in the mirror. And I know that’s what I need to change now more than anything. I can’t bring my daughter back. No amount of hoping and praying nor well wishes from others will ever give me what I need most. I used to love myself, every little bit of me. I loved who I was and I loved what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I wasn’t ashamed of who I had become. But that was Before, and After-Rhonda needs to fight her way back to that spot, if that sacred piece of ground still exists. Maybe it’s somewhere in a new place.

When I started this blog, I started it from the very depths of my own hell. A hell I have barely begun to inch my way out of. I’ve lost track of the stages of grief. I’m not sure I’ve ever really gone through any of them fully. I’ve always been the type to do things my own way, anyhow. Why should this be any different? At least that part of me hasn’t changed. But Darcy is right, that fun-loving side of me is gone, those shiny blue eyes that could look in the mirror and love what they saw are dull, and weary and tired. At least for the moment. Maybe forever. Who knows? But I’m working so hard to get that spark back; To try to find a little bit of joy. Right now I would settle for being able to face the world without being medicated half the time.

Every now and then I get a glimpse at what my life was like Before. It’s so alien. I’ll see my own photo and I’ll not recognize myself. I want that feeling back. I want to feel like tomorrow is promised again. I don’t want to face my own mortality like this. I don’t want to feel death so close anymore. I don’t want to be heavy with grief. But I am. And I look at those pictures it’s like life, revisited.

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Ive started beating the crap out of my body with exercise. Eating right wasn’t working fast enough. I have just over 15lbs gone in the last 5 weeks. It hurts to move, but at the same time the ache reminds me that I’m still alive and that I’m still breathing even though most days I feel like I’m merely existing in my own little world. I’m trying to learn to love it. I’m not there yet, but I know it will make me healthier and stronger for Everlee’s brother or sister.

It’s easy sometimes for me to hide behind my screen and interact with people this way. No one has to see the sadness in my eyes or hear the cracks in my voices. No one has to watch my eyes well up and my body recoil as I learn to live with discomforts of being this new me. It’s easy to type “:)” or “haha” to fool other people. I do it every day. That’s why I love social media so much. You can create a persona and no one is any wiser. But here, in this space where everyone sees me as who I really am, I don’t have to hide. And although my blogs are honest, and real and sometimes painful and self loathing they’re who I am right now. But readers I want you to know, that no matter how far down I am, I will always be fighting to get back to that place where I can smile and feel happy again. Because here, I’m Everlee’s mom, and I’ll always fight to make her proud of me.

Still Loved.

It seems every time I open my facebook lately I’m faced with pictures of pregnancy and newborns. I’ve gotten beyond trying to block them from my newsfeed. There’s too many. They hurt. If someone had asked me last summer how I would cope if my baby died I would have said “I wouldn’t”.

I’m not unhappy for anyone else. 

I’m just jealous that it’s not me. 

I love my pictures of Everlee. I love looking at her little lips, and her cabbage patch nose. I love looking at her little fingers. Her big eyes. And it hurts me that I can’t put those on facebook. It hurts that I don’t have them hung on my wall. I won’t be able to put them on my desk at work. It hurts that I have to have her footprints as my profile picture, and not her sweet little face. I’m not ashamed of her. I would show her to the whole world if I could.

But some people can’t handle it. Sometimes just telling people about her leaves me feeling like I’ve sucker punched them. Dead babies make people sad and uncomfortable. Stillbirth is still such a taboo. I accept that, and I’m ok with it. It’s just one more of those “mommy” experiences I don’t get to have with her. 

I’ve not just lost a baby: I’ve lost a toddler, a school girl, a teenager and an adult daughter. A whole potential life has gone. The only tangible reminders I have left are pictures, as well as her footprints and hospital bracelet. I don’t even have a birth certificate.  These are – and always will be – my most treasured possessions.

If someone had asked me last summer how I would cope if my baby died I would have been wrong. Even now I can’t believe I’m still standing after giving birth to death.