I wrote this post about two weeks after losing my baby girl, and about halfway through it, you can read all the things I was angry about at that time. If you don’t want to revisit the whole post, here’s the anger paragraph:
There just are no answers, and there might never be, which really pisses me off. What has medical science been doing for all these years that there are still no answers in one of the most devastating situations ever that SO many women go through? I’m also mad at my body for not doing its job. I’m mad at Facebook for showing me all of my pregnant friends’ happy pregnancy posts. I’m mad at the rest of the world for continuing to spin and function as usual when my world has completely crashed down around me. I’m mad at myself for getting so wrapped up in pregnancy that it became my whole world. I’m mad at the fact that women who don’t take care of themselves or their unborn babies have completely healthy pregnancies, that women who don’t want or love their babies still carry them to term, that we were supposed to be in the clear, having made it squarely into the 2nd trimester, and that we’d gotten so excited and told everybody the news just to have it completely shattered.
There are a lot of ways to deal with anger. I wouldn’t say that I did any of these things intentionally or even consciously, but they are what has happened in/to me regardless. I’m going to write this as sort of a how-to guide, but with the caveat that your process might look very different from mine, and that’s ok.
Give it time.
Honestly, I’m still angry about some of the things from that early post, although for the most part, as time has passed, my anger has been downgraded to frustration or converted to sadness. I’m extremely frustrated that there are no answers. In fact, at this point, my doctor has brand new questions instead of answers – questions that will require more tests that may only reveal more questions. It’s like my body has sent us all on a very sad, frustrating scavenger hunt.
As for Facebook, well, I’ve just hidden the people I couldn’t bare to see for now. This is a trick I’ve learned within the past year with Facebook: It is precisely what you make it, so if you don’t want to be angry, unfriend or unfollow the people who make you angry. If someone always annoys you with their posts, you are under no obligation to look at their posts. Remove them from your news feed, and move on with your life. This is what I have done with a lot of pregnant friends. It’s not that I have anything against them personally. It’s just that I can’t handle their particular joy (or even struggles) at this particular moment. When I feel up to it, I’ll add them back into my news feed, but I think it will probably be next spring before I’m really ready for that. I have a couple of friends who are due right around my due date, and I know that when they start posting baby pictures and I don’t have a baby, that will be really hard for me, so I’ll just wait. I’m not mad about it, though, just sad.
Know your options.
I am still a little angry that there are women who abuse their bodies during pregnancy, potentially harming their unborn babies, but who still deliver healthy babies at full term; meanwhile, other women are desperate to conceive, go to great lengths to get pregnant, do everything right, and have one miscarriage after another. It just isn’t fair. Lots of things aren’t fair in the world, though, and I have to either learn to accept it or fight to do something about it. I don’t know which direction to go on this issue or how to go about it either way, but knowing my options helps a lot with my anger. If I know I need to do something, but I’m not doing it, then the only person I have to blame is myself. If I know there’s nothing to be done, then my anger turns more easily into sadness, which isn’t the most desirable emotion to have either, but it’s better than bitterness. Sadness softens the heart; bitterness hardens it.
I’m not mad at myself anymore for getting excited about being pregnant or for getting wrapped up in the whole business. It was my first pregnancy, and I was both excited and terrified. I needed to do all the things I was doing in an attempt to wrap my brain around reality. There was nothing wrong with it, and it just shows how much I already loved my daughter. I’m also not sorry AT ALL that so many people knew we were pregnant and then knew that we’d lost her. Would I do it again if I had the choice? Absolutely not. Am I eternally grateful for the generous outpouring of love and support that happened as a result of a thousand people knowing about our loss? You have no idea.
Don’t be scared of it.
Anger is really hard for me because I’m not an angry person, and I don’t want to become one. I don’t want my heart to become bitter and hard. I don’t want people to walk away from encounters with me feeling stressed out, negative, or defensive. But experiencing anger and dealing with it is very different from holding onto anger and embodying it, and just because you feel angry, that doesn’t mean you are becoming an angry person. It means you are having an emotion – the right emotion for you to be having in that moment, most likely – and you can handle it. Acknowledge the anger, figure out where it’s coming from and where it’s directed, make sure it’s directed appropriately, and do something constructive with it (forgiving, taking control, working toward change, or accepting).