Sunday, September 27, 2009

Grief

WHY I TOOK A BREAK.
(part 2)
and fair warning:
THIS POST REALLY IS LONG THIS TIME!!!

I am a birthmom.
Other birthmoms may read this blog.
I feel almost an obligation to tell of the pain I have experienced so that they can see both the good AND the bad of placing.

It would not be fair to only tell of the good.
So here I go:

It took a few months for me to really get through the difficult grieving process after placing Avery.

Until around the time that I started this blog,
I was really struggling.

This blog helped me to heal.
Writing my feeling and emotions down has been SO incredibely theraputic
and
Since creating this blog,
I have (all in all) been doing very well.

The sad, hard days came less and less and I really felt as if I could live my life.
I felt like even though I still felt that loss,(which I always will)
I could live my life.

However,
The past few weeks have not been so easy.

It has been really hard for me to understand why I have all of the sudden felt like I am back at square one.

After realizing that Averys first birthday and the One Year Anniversary of Keltsons death are approaching,

I came to the conclusion that that's why I am having such a difficult time.

I met with a case worker at LDSFS last week.
This is the first time I have needed to do this in literally months.

I was there for TWO hours
and when I was getting ready to leave,
she gave me a packet that went into detail about GRIEF.

I am going to break this post up into seperate posts.
(hopefully this will be the longer of the two.)
I will talk about one thing in each post.

This time, I am going to focus on Grief and Loss.

I really hope this doesn't just turn into a bunch of
words..if nothing else, read the myths about grief and the quote at the end.
Those two are the best.

I really think sharing this packet will help me explain the feelings I have felt.
It will help get my point across and I think it will help others understand it a little better as well.

Grief is:
- A normal, natural response to any loss
- A complex emotion
- Individual
-A process

Grief Involves:
- A wide variety of emotions

Grief affects all parts of us
- emotionally
- physically
- socially
- spiritually
- intellectually

Part One of Grief:
GRIEF AND LOSS

First I will talk about the 6 stages of Grief.
For me, I feel like I go through every stage like 10 times before I finally reach acceptance.
I did this before and now I feel like I'm doing it all over again, 1 year later.

This is for the people that see me and deal with me and my emotions.

  1. Denial and shock
    The first phase of grief is described as unreal feeling: like being "spacy or in a "a fog," like there is a dream going on and you are watching. You usually feel numb, managing to do what you must do, but acting by rote or instinct. You're not really "into" anything at first; you're emotionally flat or tearful. You may have no appetite, there are knots in your stomach, and you are tired. This is the stage where people facing a loss are described as, "It hasn't really hit her yet."

    (This is the shortest stage for me. I mostly just feel like I am in a dream and I am super tired. But the tiredness lasts throughout the whole thing.)

  2. Sadness and Depression
    Intellectually you know what has happened, but on a deeper level you don't want to believe it. It is hard to imagine you had a baby and now your child is with someone else. You may wander around from place to place searching for your baby in a crowd. You may have requested lots of pictures, or, the opposite - you may refuse all pictures, keepsakes, and avoid baby departments in stores or being around other infants. For most birth mothers, keeping a few treasured photos and keepsakes is an affirmation of love, not denial. A flurry of activity, overworking, or constant socializing may be an attempt to keep so busy that you don't have time to think about your baby. Denial can seem to cover up the pain, and become addictive if denial persists.

    (This is usually the time when I keep to myself. I try not to let anyone know what I'm feeling and I just want to be by myself. I want to deal with it alone, because this isn't anyone else's problem but mine. The bolded parts are the biggest parts for me personally during this time.)

  3. Anger
    When you're angry, you usually focus on somebody else - your boyfriend/the birthfather, your mom, your doctor, God, your baby's adoptive parents, and/or your counselor. It is important to recognize that most of your anger is part of your grief, though some of those people may deserve some of the anger. Minor, insensitive comments by others may cause an over reactive emotional outburst on your part. Anger needs to be expressed: talking, private yelling, exercising, punching pillows, etc. can be helpful. Some women have trouble expressing anger, feeling it's unlady-like. Nonesense, get it out. However, prolonged or destructive anger needs professional attention, as in the beginning of criminal, delinquent, or physically abusive behavior from bottled-up anger and frustration

    (This is the time that I outwardly express my grief. It was at this point this time that I decided to take a break from blogland. I had just gotten in a horrible fight with my parents (due to over reaction as explained above) and I needed a time out. This is probably one that lasts the longest for me and can sometimes remain throughout the rest of the steps until I FINALLY reach Acceptance. As far as blaming the adoptive family, I have not had any reason too so even if I tried to find a reason, there would be none. If anything, they were helpful. This time Andrea made me feel so much better. After visiting with her and Avery a couple of weeks ago, I felt SO much better than I had before.)

  4. Fear and Bargaining with God
    You may torture yourself for a while with "if only's." feelings of guilt and regret over your decision are common. Whenever we make a major life decision of an kind (leaving home, quittng school, getting or changing jobs, deciding on major surgery, putting an elderly parent in a nursing home, buying a major purchase, etc.) we usually wonder, "what if" and question our decision and/or feel some guilt. You might try to bargin with the Lord to help you win the lottery, so you can kep your baby, donate money to a good cause, or promise to go to church every Sunday. Some birth mothers feel guilty because other people think that they should feel worse than they do, when actually they feel mostly at peace with their decision. This could cause a birth mother to feel guilty,thinking there is somehing wrong with her. Sometimes there is bargaining to try to get your baby back when it is too late.

    (As far a dealing with this right now, I have mostly only felt guilt. I haven't dealt with this one as much this time,(probably because I'm still on this step maybe?) but as far as LAST YEAR, the bolded sentences are PERFECT as to how I felt. But, even through all of this pain and grief, I have never ACTUALLY regret my decision. I have wished I could be her mom and wished that I had her now for selfish reasons, but I have never regret my decision. Not once.)

  5. Resistance and Depression
    When the numbness wears off, and you can longer deny your loss, your raging has quieted down, and you've anguished through all of your "if only's" and "what if's" depression hits quietly. It is like thumping against a wall of reality - - experiencing the pain and tears. You may feel listless, tired, not hungry, have sleep disturbnces, feel uninterested, and hopeless. Depression, however isn't all bad. It gives you a second wind. After you've spent a lot of energy denying, bargaining, raging, and feeling guily about being angry you're not tired. You're at the bottom. There is nowhere to go except up, to acceptance.

    (I think that I tend to go back and fort between this and anger the most. I experience each of these many times before I reach acceptance but I think that this and anger are the longest and hardest for me to get through and also the two that I go back and forth between the most. I think though, that this one is the most depressing and most definitely the hardest one for me to get through.)

  6. Acceptance
    During this stage of grief, you will gain energy and interest. You will remember your baby, but it will be less painful and there will often be warm memories that bring a smile. You can find ways for those memories to enrich your life. Sorrow doesn't last forever, but love does.

    (Although this stage takes the absolte longest to get to, once I get here I don't go back for a very long time. Once I make it to this stage I can live my life. I was at this stage for MONTHS last time and hopefully next time, it will be even longer.)

I know this is long and I am sorry,
but I just wanted to talk about a couple more things that may help others understand the grieving process of us birthmoms.

-- Intense grieving, with many ups and downs, may be expect to last 18 months to two years.
-- Crying is an acceptable and healthy expresson of grief which releases build up tensions; cry as you feel the need.
-- Consider whatever you do to be NORMAL for you. Don't be afriad of bizarre delusions (such as phatom crying or aching arms.) All of this is part of normal grief.
-- Whenever possible, put off major decisions for at least one year.
-- Learn to let others know how you feel and how you are working out your grief so they can be supportive (Something I should probably work on)
-- The anniversary of the baby's birth can be a stressful time. Be good to yourself and allow yourself some emotional space and special time for grieving.

Lastly,

Myths about grief
* All losses are the same.
* It takes two months to get over your grief.
* All bereaved people grieve in the same way.
* Grief always declines over time and in a steadily decreasing way.
* When grief is resolved it never comes up again.
* Family members will always help those in grief
* Children grieve like adults
* Feeling sorry for yourself is not allowed
* It is better to put painful things out of your mind.
* You should not think about your child at the holidays because it will make you feel sad.
* Those in grief only need to express their feelings to resolve their grief.
* Expressing feelings that are intense is the same as losing control
* Only sick individuals have physical problems in grief.
* If you feel crazy, you are going crazy
* Adoption shouldn't be too dificult to resolve because you didn't know the child well.

ALL of these myths have caused me frustration at one point or another.
none of that is true and needs to be taken into account by all that are dealing with adoption.

I just want to end with this:

Will Grief End?
Grief work will someday be completed. It
really will go away, but sadness will always remain. You will know the grief is
over when you don't feel any strong intense anguish or pain, when you are
reminded of the person, and when you can turn the investment of emotional energy
toward someone or something else. Healing usually occurs more rapidly after the
first anniversary of the loss. When you can look with tenderness, with memories
of pleasure, you will be turning loose, but the empty places where that person
stood in your life will always be a part of your
history

I just love every part of that saying.
Every. Single. Part.

10 comments:

Mae AJ and Conner said...

Your Amazing Andee!!! We miss you and hope you are doing great! :)

Mandy Jo said...

Andee you are in my prayers girly! I can't not even begin to understand how you feel.

Chelsey Cutler said...

Andee, thanks for writing about grief. Writing is very therapeutic, and I'm glad that you do write. Your posts always seem to help me, and I'm sure they help others. Thank you.

Queen Mama said...

I am thinking about you ;)

Ashley Bennion said...

Love you and admire you! Just wanted you to know that!!! If you ever just need a listening ear - Remember I am only a phone call away - Love ya!!!

birthMOM said...

aw, sorry you're having such a rough time with the anniversaries, hope you are feeling better so you can celebrate Avery and her wonderful life on her special day of birth! hope to see you soon! =)

Nicole said...

Um Seriously Andee...You are Amazing! I swear you know just what to say to make me feel a little better about myself! Grieving is such a LONG process but I know we will both make it! I love you soo dang much and hope your doing okay!

Jamie said...

I love you Andee! You are amazing! Thank you for having the courage to share ALL that you have gone through and are going through, you are such an inspiration to others! My thoughts and prayers are with you!

Hema said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hema and Becky said...

Thank you for this post. One of my sweet birthmothers recently had a similar experience 4 years after placement. She suddenly was feeling such raw emotions again. I think she will really appreciate these posts. Thanks you for putting your heart out there for others to use in healing! You really are amazing!
(Sorry to have deleted from above - after I left the comment, I realized that someone else was actually logged in on my computer)