Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Double-Edged Guilt

One of the strongest emotions (irrational as it is) that I've encountered through this ordeal of losing my baby is guilt. I continue to struggle with "What If" thoughts... and those particular thoughts really have a way of making you feel bad. What if I had found out I was pregnant sooner... maybe I could've made healthier changes to my lifestyle to be a better "incubator" for my baby? What if I had dealt better with the stresses of my life in January (losing my Nanny, unpredictable job situation)? What if I ate or drank something that was on the "No-No" list for pregnancy before I knew that I was pregnant? What if I had been at a healthier weight before I got pregnant?

Believe it or not, the last "What If" question that I listed about my weight has been one of the heaviest questions on my mind - no pun intended. When I was in the prep area for my surgery (D&C), my doctor came in to meet me and see if I had any questions before I was wheeled down the hall to the operating room. Although I was feeling numb for the most part, I still wanted to know, "What did I do or what didn't I do? How did I cause this to happen?" ...And his response to me was that it's difficult to say why it happened and we'll never know why it happened... but he went on to tell me that I do have a risk factor for miscarriage: I am overweight. Of course, I think my heart skipped a beat when he made that statement (not because it's a shocker to me; I've never been "little" and the word "skinny" doesn't describe anything in my wardrobe)... because I immediately began to think, "Oh my God. My weight could have been a precipitating factor in my baby's death." The doctor went on to explain to me that I should view the miscarriage as a "blessing" or "motivator" to lose weight and get back into shape... And one day when I'm thin and healthy, I can be thankful for this event in my life that caused me to get my act together. Now I have made several changes to my eating and exercise habits... but honestly, I'd give anything to have my baby back. I would even be content with carrying around 30 extra pounds of baby weight if it meant I would get to have and hold my baby in this lifetime. But instead... I'm down 15 pounds and the pants that I've kept in the back of my closet because they haven't fit in two years are starting to make a reappearnce... my face is thinning out a little bit, and that double chin is more like a 1.5 chin now... and I know that all of this should make me happy, but I just keep thinking, "None of this matters. No amount of weight loss is going to bring my baby back."  So yes, to sum it all up, I'm feeling incredibly guilty about my weight and how it could've had a possible impact on the loss of my baby.

I will assure you all, though, that the changes that I've made to my lifestyle are healthy. I've cut out all fast food, junk food, and I'm avoiding salty foods like the plague. Instead, I'm eating lean meats (lots of chicken and fish), nuts/seeds, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products (yogurt & milk), and fewer carbs. I'm exercising at least 4 times a week for approximately 30 minutes. Honestly, I don't miss the "junk". I still allow myself dark chocolate in moments of crisis (2 Hershey Miniatures, to be exact... nothing over the top) and still enjoy going out to eat on the weekend with my Hubby... but just being more conscious about what I order and how to balance it all out. My goal is to lose 30 lbs, so I'm half-way there. I think that a lot of what I've lost so far has been sheer water weight because of the rediculous amount of salt that I had in my diet. At the hospital almost 3 weeks ago, I barely could get my wedding rings off my finger before surgery (they HAD to come off... that was all there was to it). I was so swollen with extra fluid... and now, they slide right off without ease. All I can do at this point is try my best to get into better shape for the next pregnancy (whenever that may be). I guess I'm trying to improve my health in an effort to honor my angel baby, but also in respect for my future children. They deserve a healthy mother.

...Which brings me to my next topic of post: The dreaded question. When are you going to start trying again??? First of all, my friends, we weren't trying to get pregnant in the first place. It just happened. It was God's timing; not necessarily my/our timing. And to be quite honest with you, I had a lot of major stressors at the beginning of the pregnancy due to financial worries - no health insurance, a temporary job, etc. I would really like to continue improving upon my health by losing more weight and I would really like to get a teaching job for next year, complete with a nice salary and premium benefits before we start "trying". Those would be the ideal circumstances. ...But we have faith that God will provide children for us someday, somehow when He feels the time is right. I guess it's just a matter of "wait and see."

I talked earlier in the post about my guilt surrounding the miscarriage of our baby. While that guilt is awful to contend with on a daily basis, I've found that another form of guilt is beginning to emerge: I feel guilty for going on with my life. I feel so guilty when I go about my work day and become so engrossed in what I'm doing (because I love what I'm doing) that I totally forget about the fact that I've lost a baby. I feel guilty when someone tells a joke that normally would've made me roll on the ground in fits of giggles... and now, I try to stifle that laughter because HELLO, I'M A GRIEVING MOTHER! I almost catch myself covering my mouth when I begin to smile or laugh because I have lost my baby, and no joke or beautiful thing should make me want to smile and laugh right now... but I can't help it. And I feel so guilty about the fact that I'm moving on with my life. I'm pretty sure that my angel baby is in heaven right now hearing stories about Jason growing up from Grandma Caudill... and I'm sure that Nanny and Pappy have told the baby about me and what I'm like... and I feel confident that the baby would probably want me to go on with my life and stop all of this grieving... but I just feel so guilty for even believing in the least that I can actually get over losing my baby.

Through all of this... I have to say that my husband has proven to be more supportive and understanding than I would've ever imagined. When I found out I was pregnant, we instantly grew closer to one another... our relationship went to another level. And when I lost the baby, I was afraid that we would take a step backward in our relationship... however the opposite has happened. In fact, I feel like we've bounded through two new levels in our relationship through all of this. Granted, we've grieved in two totally different ways... but God has still brought us closer to each other through this. There have been days when I come home from work and just tell him "I need a hug," and he'll hold me till I'm alright. There have been nights where I listen to music and cry thinking about everything, and he'll speak Truth into my heart and remind me to turn to God during this time and not away from Him. He's been my rock through it all... and I'm so thankful to have him as my husband. He's going to make a great Daddy someday, he really is.

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