Thursday, May 26, 2011

unfair AKA: Right Where I Am: 6 weeks and one day

My Mom has called me every day since Holden was born/died.  Yesterday, like many other days, she started to choke up when she tried to say something.  Then she said, "Nevermind."  She does this a lot.  She doesn't want to cry.  She feels guilty for crying to me when I am the one who had to give birth to a dead baby. I tell her she loves Holden too and she has to grieve too and it's okay to cry.  She says she doesn't want to.  But then she continues with what she was going to say.  "I've been thinking about Holden a lot and it just seems so unfair!  I mean, you take care of yourself, and you do everything right and then you still don't get to take your baby home."

And she's right.  It is unfair.  I've thought this a lot since we lost Holden.  It's NOT FAIR!!  And every time I say it or think it, it makes me feel like a small child.  I actually sound just like Lennon to my own ears.  Lennon, who is her very own person at seven years old.  She makes her own rules and when she finds out that not everyone else will follow them, this is what you hear: IT'S! NOT! FAIR!!!  Well I had my own rules.  I don't know who broke them, but I'd like to do some very violent things to them.  My rules were 1. take care of myself because I'm taking care of my baby too.  2. Give birth to said baby.  3. Take said baby home and love and care for him forever.  I guess when I made my rules I forgot to say I wanted my baby to live.  I wish I had known that I needed to specify.  Again, it's not fair.  Nobody told me.

I guess the reason this bothers me so much is that, for anyone who knows me, they know I hate it when adults act childish.  (Child-like is completely different)  I absolutely abhor petty behavior.  And I know A LOT of people like this.  People who will use any means to get what they want, including the facade of friendship or (the worst) their own children.  I loathe people who act like they are entitled to certain luxuries in life, like playing the Nintendo everyday or having your birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's or standing around BSing at work all day and expecting a raise.  You know what I mean?  Childish.  And saying "It's not fair" just makes me think of that.  It sounds whiny.  But is expecting your child to be born breathing something we are not all entitled too?   I don't know.  I've thought plenty of times that some people don't deserve to be parents.  Am I one of them?

I expressed this to Lee the other day.  I told him that I don't know what makes me think I could do it.  Between the two of us we already had six kids and Holden is number seven.  What makes me think I can handle taking care of that many young people?  And now I wonder what makes me think I deserve to?  Of course I'm wrong to think all that and that's not how things really are, but hey, that's where I'm at.

And speaking of children, I talk to my daughter's all the time about Holden.  In fact we had another good talk last night.  Lennon says things sometimes that make me take a step back and really look at her.  She told me last night that she wished dreams really did come true because Meadow always dreamed she'd have a baby brother.  Meadow said, "Well we do, we just can't HAVE him."  And to that Lennon replied, " That's what I meant."  A lot of times Lennon seems to go about her day in Lennon-land.  She does what Lennon wants to do and if you don't like it there is Hell to pay (screaming, crying, fits, nasty looks, attitude.)  So when she says something like this, I think, Wow, this little person is growing up and she actually does have an understanding of things outside of Lennon-land.  She's not always childish... and that scares me.

What a paradox we BLMs with living children live in.  Before I wanted my daughter's to stay the perfect little people they are now because I would miss it when they are older.  Yet I absolutely know now that I don't want that.  Having a child who can never become anything other than a newborn is the worst kind of parenting imaginable.  With Meadow and Lennon, I look forward to who they can and will become.  With Holden I will never have that.  And that is SO unfair.


  1. That is so so unfair. This post reminds me of six week out. Anger really really set in for me then. I just wanted to smash things.

    I love this line: "I guess the reason this bothers me so much is that, for anyone who knows me, they know I hate it when adults act childish. (Child-like is completely different"

    I would get really mad at myself for being so petty about who called, and who said what when, and holding grudges. That is not the kind of person I am, or the kind of person I saw myself as. For me that is part of my grief--self-pity, which I only realized recently is really self-compassion run riot. Self-compassion is good. What happened is horrifying and heartbreaking and worthy of compassion. Anyway, that is where I am with that. Trying to find the line between pity and compassion in me. Early grief made that difficult. Anyway, thank you for participating in this. I love the range of experiences in this project. xo

  2. I actually bookmarked your Beady Eyed Grudge Holder post... haha

  3. Your blog really struck me. I had two living children and Nora was to be our last. I was very naive and knew I would have her. It was that simple. I only asked that she be healthy and happy. After I lost her and the ability to have anymore children, I screamed to the universe... I meant healthy and happy here with me... didn't realize I needed disclosures.
    This is so very unfair. Thank you for sharing your blog, your children, Holden. Thinking and remembering always.

  4. I like both what you had to say, and Angie's comment about it. I think I still give myself (too much) liberty for self pity. I don't know that I externally or socially ever act childish, but in my brain I begrudge people and things done or undone. I still tell my husband it's unfair. Maybe I'm stunted in my grief.
    You are still so fresh in your journey, and I hope you find many encouragements and supports in this BLM community. I'm thankful you shared and are a part of this project.

  5. Yes, to both what you said, and to what Angie added, about being childish and being angry. I have boxes of old dishes in my basement that were given to me with the sole purpose of being there so that I had something to smash when I needed to. Most often, though, I just banged my fists against the tile in the shower while I yelled and sobbed and moaned.

    Your pain is still so new, so raw, your heart so fragile. Sending much love, and remembering Holden always.


  6. Yes, unfair. Those last lines of your post went straight to my heart and stuck there, because that's still where I am, even now that my grief is older and less difficult to carry.

    Thank you for sharing this here.

  7. Thanks for sharing.

    So sorry that you are in a position to comment and that you have stupid people around you.

    Life is not fair. All of this sucks.

    I am here if you want someone to listen or share.

  8. You're so right, it's not fair. Like you, I put my order in for a happy and healthy baby, and never thought to specify that the baby arrived alive. I didn't think in this day and age I had to. I mean, who knew? No one tells you about stuff like this. And generally once you find out, it's too late.
    I know we shouldn't say things like "it's not fair" or "why me?" but sometimes, I just can't help it, and sometimes, that's what I still wail about it.
    It isn't fair. Why me? Why you? Why our babies?
    All I know is, while you work your way through this early weeks, we'll be here for you, to hold you up.

  9. Heck, yeah, it's unfair! Like most of the folks commenting here I went through the stage where I tried to stifle the petty and embrace the wisdom and grace that is the expected road of the babylost (from the outside perspective that is). But there's just no way to hold it back without devouring a part of yourself.

    For the record, I did specify that I wanted a live baby--but that didn't really turn out as expected either. I guess there's no way to outmaneuver bad luck.

    Thinking of you and sending you peace and strength.

  10. It is very unfair especially what your mother said. You did everything right, when there are people who obviously do everything wrong. I wish I had an answer for you. I don't, but I'll remember Holden with you~

  11. I can't agree more. It is unfair! It sucks! It shouldn't be happening to any of us.

  12. It is unfair, bloody unfair, and sometimes I want to stamp my feet and scream at the world.
    I know what you mean about wanting our children to grow. I cringe now when I hear people say they want to keep their baby's tiny forever. I know they don't mean it, but it still makes me cringe, because our babies will never grow. x

  13. Jeanette, I used to say that all the time. Wish I could keep them little forever. Now I wish desperately that I didn't have to.

  14. It IS unfair. You have reminded me of the times when I felt like stamping my feet and howling at the stupid unfairness of it all.


  15. It's terribly, terribly unfair. And at 6 weeks out... oh Nerissa, the horrible unfairness clings to everything. I'm sorry to meet you. I'm sorry that Holden died. It shouldn't happen, and it IS unfair.

  16. It's odd to me how you can say "I'm sorry to meet you" and I love you for it.

  17. Oh I'm so sorry. It IS so horribly, horribly unfair. Your mom is right. I think there is something about grief, perhaps particularly grieving for the loss of a baby, that seems to call for tantrums and screaming. Because it is just too unfair. I still feel as though I have been robbed. As thought we have all been robbed. And our children too.

    And I have to say that I remember the 'Beady Eyed Grudge Holder' post too :)

    I used to irritate myself sometimes, with these tantrums over the unfairness of it all. But I think there is a world of difference between wanting to play Nintendo everyday or going to Chuck E. Cheese (this venue sounds terribly exotic to my British ears) and wanting and expecting your child to live. I don't think it's childish, perhaps it is one of the few situations where an adult 'tantrum' is an entitlement.

    Whenever I catch myself with even the whisper of a thought of 'never grow up' starting to venture into my mind, I slam that door pretty darn sharpish. Because having a child that never grows up isn't what anybody wants if they stopped to think about it.

    I'm so very sorry for the loss of your son, Holden.

  18. I find myself uttering the 'its not fair' under my breath a lot still, because it plainly isn't; we may have done everything right and there are certainly those who don't and they get their babies to take home?
    And I too specified that I wanted a healthy, full-term, happy and alive baby to bring home. As TracyOC says, there is no way to outmaneuvre bad luck.

    Thank you for sharing in Angie's project, I hope you've gained valuable insight as I know I have. Thinking of your Holden with you

  19. Nerissa, six weeks is so very, very new. All I could think about in the first few months after my son's death was just how unfair it all was. I still think that from time to time but those moments are now fewer and farther between. Now I have just come to the conclusion that nothing in life is fair or unfair, just lucky or unlucky.

    We are the unlucky ones and also the lucky ones. Both, at the same time. It is how we exist.

    I am so very sorry for the loss of your sweet baby. I hope these times are as gentle as they can be for you.

  20. Hold onto those beliefs that you did everything you could for your little guy...don't lose that, especially as early on in the grief journey as you are. Make sure you know and believe that you did the best you could. That will help you. (I hope). I'm so sorry for your loss and the hurt you feel. It doesn't make sense and is not fair...I completely agree. Hang in there, hun, and know we are all here for you. ((Hugs))

  21. I still, 2 and some years later, think it's unfair - and I still have such rage in me that it's like bile in my throat. I don't feel like that always now but it's a part of who I am. I am sorry that you have joined this corner of the blogiverse. I wish Holden was keeping you busy and you reminec blissfully oblivious to our existance.

  22. "Having a child who can never become anything other than a newborn is the worst kind of parenting imaginable." Yes - this is so true. I have a two year old, and I gave birth to my dead daughter 3 months ago at 38 weeks. I can't believe my second can only ever be a baby in our memory.
    - Kari

  23. I agree it is unfair. I don't know else to say. At this stage you are just becoming familiar with being a BLM. Your writing has strength, and that strength will see you through until the days are better. ((HUGS)) D.

  24. Stopping by from Angie's project to send some love your way. You are so very right--it's not fair. I remember saying to anyone who'd listen, 'I know life isn't fair, but it still isn't fair.' I am so very sorry for your loss of your beautiful Holden.