On my anger at it being me

So I don’t know whether many of the thoughts I’m sharing are socially acceptable or logical (pretty sure they aren’t) or whether they’ll portray me in the most positive light (pretty sure they won’t), but I’ve not let any of these things stop me before, soooooo… I kind of figure, why start now? And these thoughts are kind of pervasive in my mind, so I feel like sharing them might actually be my first step in setting myself free from them. Or not. Only time will tell.

But here is my confession that, until now, I’ve only alluded to here… When I think about the friends and acquaintances who were “pregnant alongside me” when I was pregnant with Matthew, all of whom welcomed their babies into the world alive, not only am I sad, but I’m also angry. And not only am I angry at the situation, sometimes I’m even angry at them. Yes, angry AT them. Even though what happened isn’t their fault.

Of course I’m glad that their babies didn’t die. But, at the same time, I’m also devastated and furious and resentful that mine did. And these strong feelings related to my own baby dying, I think understandably, supersede any relief I have re: their good fortunes. Because the truth is, while I don’t wish this tragedy upon anyone, assuming it has to happen to some small percentage of people, I would have, of course, preferred that it didn’t happen to me. And while this admission might sound terrible, I don’t think that it’s incredibly outlandish either – for me to wish for Matthew to be here and that I didn’t have to go through this brand of immense pain and suffering.

Again, of course it’s preferable for these tragedies to happen to no one in the world, ever. But I almost consider it too logical to wish for this – like this seems too impossible and idealistic for my realist mind. So instead I just wish that this wouldn’t have happened to me, which in turn, in my mind, would have required it to happen to someone else. And of course, the next preferable circumstance is that it would have happened to some extremely terrible person (referencing adults here – of course babies can never be terrible people, so from this perspective, this tragedy would never, ever be anything less than awful), which none of my friends and acquaintances are, but this seems too illogical as well, because I’ve always acknowledged that this life can be so brutally unfair.

So instead, I look at the 150ish people in my network at the time I was pregnant with Matthew (just go with it, because approximately one in 150 babies die), and I reason that, out of these specific 150 babies, there were only ever 149 of them who could live, and I’m so mad that Matthew was the one who died – that I (and he) seem to have taken the “statistical hit” as I like to refer to it, for everyone we knew at the time. And I’m so freaking angry and about being “the one.” And due to this logic, sometimes it feels as though these other babies lived INSTEAD OF Matthew, even though the events, their live births and his death, aren’t connected in any way whatsoever – sometimes I wrongly connect the events anyway.

Because I’ve always been a statistics person and a worrier, I can remember a time, long before Matthew died, when I’d use this type of reasoning to comfort myself. If I heard of a tragedy, I’d feel heartbroken for the sufferer, but then, if I ever experienced fear about something similar happening to me, (I know this seems selfish – but humans will do this, think, “I worry this will happen to me too, and I hope it doesn’t.”) as a coping mechanism of sorts, I’d sometimes reassure myself with, “Well – that’s statistically very unlikely, so if you know someone going through it, it’s unlikely to happen to you also…”

I even remember doing this in my pregnancy with Matthew – I concluded that because was loosely connected to a couple of women who’d lost babies, I was less likely to lose mine. This didn’t influence my thoughts or actions much – it didn’t make me act recklessly or even allow me to let go of any of my hypochondriac tendencies even a little bit, but I did use the argument to provide myself with the smallest sliver of reassurance in my tensest, most paranoid moments. At my core, I believed that my baby would live, and this way of thinking accounted for some micro-percentage of why.

Now, of course, I know, and have always known, intellectually that the world doesn’t work this way. (If only things were so simple.) We’ve all heard stories about the same person losing two, or more, children or families suffering repeated tragedy, etc. But I think at the heart of this statistical way of looking at things is that every single one of us possesses a desire to assign some type of order to a world that is mostly disorderly. Those with a strong desire declare, “It was God’s plan – everything happens for a reason.” Those with a weaker desire, like me, vehemently reject statements like this but instead look for other ways to find logic or reason in the randomness, sometimes even subconsciously. In my case, I denounce, “Everything happens for a reason.” But, again, I conclude that a certain tragedy is less likely to happen to me because I know of someone who’s had it happen to him/her, or that, if out of ~150 people I know, I was the one who experienced the tragedy, then it happened to me instead of to them, hence my aforementioned resentment.

And said resentment is strong – so strong that for nearly two years I haven’t been able to communicate with these parents or see these babies, and I don’t want to know their names or even acknowledge them as real.

So strong that one of these families with one of these babies lives around the corner from us. I spoke to them when I was pregnant with Matthew, and I have barely been able to look at them since theirs lived and mine died. Not only is it painful for me to see their child when I’m out walking, because he (or she?) only reminds me of everything I’ve lost, but I also feel angry and annoyed every time I pass their house.

My dad often reminds me that I’m being illogical (again, I know), and he tells me it would serve me well to let go of some of my anger (or jealousy manifested as anger, because it gets boring to just be sad or jealous – one must change it up). I argue that it is helpful for me to feel all of my feelings, and if this includes anger at certain people, whether logical or not, it does me (and them) no harm to acknowledge it rather than to suppress it. After all, in the grand scheme of things, it is of no consequence (to me and them or anyone, really) whether I speak to these few people ever again, as none of them are close relatives.

Strangely (or not), I find I’m able to better cope with strangers in public with almost-two-year-olds, as I didn’t know them at the time I was pregnant with Matthew. I don’t look at them and feel like, out of my circle, I was “the one.” I don’t feel as though I took the statistical hit or that their children lived instead of Matthew. Instead, I kind of just experience the pain, and I look away from them. My anger, more often than not, doesn’t seem as intense. (Unless I witness someone being a crappy parent. In these cases, all bets are off…)

So really I don’t think any of these feelings are causing me to make major avoidances on a daily basis that will significantly alter my life. However, I do make smaller avoidances (like Facebook – forever!). I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to stop feeling this particular type of anger and making my resulting avoidances of those I knew when I was pregnant with Matthew. (It might be nice if someday I could, as there is one friend whose daughter lived around the time Matthew died who has been exceedingly nice to me – I’d like to be able to see her again someday. I’m actually not very angry at her… Maybe my anger relates more to what certain people have said/not said to me, which renders my entire post off-base… Though I still cringe at the thought of seeing her daughter, and I still think the “instead of” thoughts when I think of her, so maybe my post is valid…)

One more significant way my thoughts affect me in the present is that I often wonder whether people I know ever look at me and think, “Because I know her, and it happened to her, it’s less likely to happen to me.” Thoughts that I might have thought before. Thoughts, based on my discussions with other baby loss moms, don’t seem totally unique to me.

I hate, hate, hate that my story could maybe provide false reassurance for anyone. I hate feeling that I, and Matthew, are still taking the statistical hit for people around us, because, honestly, I wasn’t really connected to 150 pregnant women when he was alive. It was far fewer. So sometimes, it feels like his loss is ensuring others’ future safety. And I’m not okay with it. (NOTE: It isn’t that I don’t want others to be safe, it’s just I resent the grossly illogical notion held by me or others that my dead child is ensuring it.)

Because I’m not okay with ANY of it. I just want him here.

And maybe I’m not angry at these people, really. Rather maybe I’m jealous that, in addition to losing my baby, I’ve also lost my ability to go into self-preservation mode, even by way of faulty logic, all the while others get to keep their babies and their defense strategies and healthy psyches.

Eventually anger and jealously, and the like… It all starts to feel the same, and I can’t always tell what it is anymore.

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21 thoughts on “On my anger at it being me

  1. I love your blog because it’s so incredibly validating to read someone else having the same emotions post baby loss. If it makes you feel any better, I also have a neighbor who gave birth three months after me and I haven’t met her baby and don’t know her name. And this neighbor’s oldest son is friends with my oldest son. I actually arranged a playdate for them via text for a time I knew I couldn’t make it myself so I’d have an excuse for my nanny taking him over. My husband took a day off work to have her son over a for playdate. My son is going to kindergarten next year and she’s redshirting hers (even though he’s older than my son) and I’m thrilled that I won’t have to hang out with her and her darn baby at the bus stop.

    In more I’m also a crazy jealous biotch news, I was pregnant at the same time as three sister in laws (all husband’s side, none live nearby). I instructed my husband to not tell me about their births. Instead on my baby’s would be half birthday I realized that they were likely born alive since no one instructed me to help them grieve. And I was so angry. Like almost punched and kicked a hole in the wall angry. Glad my husband didn’t divorce me for being heinous. I don’t know the name of one of them and it’s my husband’s twin’s child. I am also skipping a family reunion this summer because I don’t want to hang out with these babies. My husband is afraid I’ll be astrainged from his family forever.

    The thing that really pisses me off is when I hear people I know chit chatting about someone expecting a baby and talking as if it’s a sure thing the baby will be born alive. Do they not understand what happened to me? I had zero risk factors for stillbirth and zero cause of death and I don’t know how they can think they are different than me. Your stats thing kind of makes sense, like they think I took that bullet for our circle, they are even more immune.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I would have gone to similar lengths to avoid that other mother. Thank god he won’t be in your son’s kindergarten class. And OMG 3 SILs? You’ve got to be kidding. How horrid. And yes – hearing people discuss their pregnancies as if stillbirth isn’t a possibility when you know they know full well what happened to you? I can’t fucking handle it. AT ALL. I’m glad my post was validating, and thank you for your equally validating comment. I’m so sorry we have to both feel this intense rage, though I think it’s completely justified.

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  2. Incredible post. I salute you. And no doubt many more comments will follow which say the same thing. How wonderful you all have this forum to support each other ❤
    (I didn’t have a stillborn but I had a miscarriage age 43, so I can feel some of your pain of loss) ❤

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  3. So so true. I remember writing in a blog once ‘I don’t wish this happened to you instead of me’ and a little voice in my head screamed ‘LIAR!!!!’ Of course I do. Of course I wish anything which could lead to the outcome of Max being alive. It just seems like the thing you have to say, but it’s so valid to feel the way you do too. I’ve felt all of those things in terms of ‘being the statistic’ and taking the hit so that friends don’t have to. Xxx

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    1. “Of course I do. Of course I wish anything which could lead to the outcome of Max being alive.” Yep. It’s like I felt the need to say it, because there’s so much pressure to feel the other way – like “Oh – I don’t with this happened to someone else instead!” But, yes. Yes, I do. And it helped me to say it. Sending you well wishes.

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  4. Wow, you expressed yourself very well. I’m glad to see you expressing your anger. It’s helpful to work on those bad emotions and turn it to something healthy. It’s a nice first step. The other point I’ve learned….there is no logic in our child’s death…none. There is no reason or explanation for it. There is good in it either. A total miss quote from the Bible. I wrote on a blog on that a while back. Grief isn’t something that is fixable, we just learn to live it and freaking sucks. ~Roger

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    1. Thank you. And yes, no logic in it. I do get sick of people twisting the Bible’s words to act as though death is “God’s plan.” Uhhhhh, no. Death is the enemy. It does freaking suck. Hugs.

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  5. Yes to all of this. Amen Christine.. I often feel so judged for these feelings, particularly from family telling me I’m wrong to feel resentful/jealous/angry that their babies lived instead of mine. Only yesterday I sat looking at my rainbow baby and started crying at the fact that Freddie died… that he was perfectly healthy and yet he was robbed of his chance at life, I had such a moment of clarity about what he could have grown into and the fact that others got to live and yet he was robbed by a stupid knot in his cord.. the resentment and anger is so strong. Xx

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    1. Ugh, I’m so sorry. Watching your “rainbow baby” grow is so amazing but also heartbreaking, and it is so unfair that we have to consider it heartbreaking, when it should really just be purely joyous and it is for most people. I’m sorry your family judges you. I think a shit ton of people judge me too. These feelings of anger and jealousy and resentment are so common though. And they are so valid. I wish people would judge less and just acknowledge they haven’t been through this horrific experience so it isn’t their place to judge.

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  6. I know it’s a taboo but I often wish they had lost theirs and not me. It’s not that you want their child to lose its life, it’s that these things have to happen to someone and life continues moving whether we like it or not so if they were the ones carrying the burden of a life forever ruined by grief, forever overshadowed by loss, that would be so much easier on us. I can’t find peace or meaning with the idea that I’m ‘the one’ and yet they get to have everything they want in abundance. Live births (three living sons and piss easy pregnancies in one friend’s case).. it bothers me that I’m the one who had to give birth to my child’s dead body. That I’m the one who had to have a miscarriage and then a full term stillbirth at 38 weeks, where is the distributive justice? Surely someone deserves a break after a miscarriage.. but no, statistics be damned.. lightning can strike twice, this ‘lesson’ I was taught now overshadows everything I do. 😞😡 Thank you for sharing your feelings, it makes me feel reassured that us babyloss mums are all muddling along and battling in our own ways. Xx

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    1. “I can’t find peace or meaning with the idea that I’m ‘the one’ and yet they get to have everything they want in abundance.” Yes, this. Exactly. I mean, I assume I might need to, at some point down the line, be able to better cope with the lack of “distributive justice.” But like, HOW???

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  7. Yes. This.
    I went to a prenatal yoga class last night because I’m pregnant with our rainbow baby and this woman was so excited about her upcoming anatomy scan…. and all I could keep thinking was how excited I had been for my scan the first time around and how I thought it was just to find out the gender but instead I left that room knowing I would carry a baby that would be born and die shortly after. I want to be able to be in that room full of women and be as excited as they are but I’m terrified. Im desperate to get to my anatomy scan (not excited) so that I can have some comfort in the health of our baby…. but also know that the health of our baby doesn’t garuntee us anything in this life. It’s good to have that anger and resentment validated even though I wish none of us were enduring this tragedy or pain.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Christine, Huge congrats on your rainbow baby! I hope your anatomy scan went well and proved reassuring! I agree it is so difficult to be in a room full of “normal” mothers who aren’t worried about the same things we are. XoXO

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      1. Oh Christine, I obviously missed something! Didn’t know you were having another rainbow!!!!☺️🌈 Congratulations, so happy for you, Mark, Matthew & Joel!!!!! xxxx

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  8. Oh Christine-thank you, I needed this! My anger towards others with living babies has intensified, and when I try to express these feelings I get disgust from others- even my counsellor!

    I told my ex that I wanted to beat up his sister because she’s absolutely vile and I hate her even more now because her baby was born 2 weeks before Max- and she lived! Where is the justice in that? I hate that bitch!

    It also pisses me off (& hurts like hell) when others talk of their friends/family who are pregnant like they are GUARANTEED to have a living baby and act like its a dead cert!-

    I find it really insulting that obviously they would have a happy ending but I didn’t and they don’t take into account even after what happened to me that nothing it guaranteed. But obviously they must be better people than me to have their baby live- I’m just abnormal!

    Love you Christine, Matthew and Joel xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh – I’m so sorry you’re met with disgust in response to expressing feelings that are so valid. Even my your counselor?! He/she of all people should know that these feelings aren’t uncommon. Ugh.

      I too get even more angry when people are vile. Ugh. I’m so sorry you have to deal with her and have this vivid reminder of what Max should be doing.

      I think people acting like a live baby is guaranteed in front of me, knowing full well what happened to me is one of the most insulting things ever. It feels like a taunt – “Oh your baby died, but mine won’t, because I’m better than you.” It makes me furious. Yeah, and then it feels like they’re rewarded for their pompous attitude with their happy ending. And yeah, like WHY didn’t we get to keep our babies?!

      Thank you for your comment. Sending so much love to you and Max.

      xoxoxo

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