The Dark Side of Grieving a Loss

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It’s so surprising how much you can lose to a miscarriage or still birth. It is not only that tiny life that used to be, that life that held so much dreams in its tiny being. No, so much more is taken out of you; a huge chunk of your soul is gone with that baby. A new you exists and, if you are not careful, your mind can become a battle field of the good in you and your base instincts, leaving you a ragged spoil of wars.

The only way to do justice to Alero’s story, whom I met online recently, is to let her tell it in her own words, because I really would struggle to articulate the depth of her feelings. She talked about one of the least spoken aspect of grieving a loss – hatred and wanting everyone to be as sad as you are.

“When I opened my eyes, after the sedatives I had been given had worn off, after my second miscarriage, I felt this blinding rage at everything, everyone. I was irritated. With all the strength in me, I had told my hovering husband that I was not spending another day in the hospital, that I was going home.

As he tried to tell me what the concerns of the doctor were, I had shouted at him and told him to go and tell the doctor I was going home and if he refused to discharge me, that I was going to discharge myself. He tried to pet me and I had flinched at his touch, the first time that was happening in the over eight years we have been married. I could see he was surprised but I just closed my eyes until he left the room to call the doctor.

I was raw. I was like a live wire, a honey bee, and I wanted to sting anyone who came near me. I knew why.  I had just lost another baby, for no reason, and had to endure another D&C. On that table, my soul died. No, I died. I did not want to get up from that table. I was in more psychological pain than physical.

When my husband came back into the room, with the doctor in tow, I did not know I could feel any more hate, but I did. I hated that doctor. I hated the sight of the nurse that came with him. I think I hated everyone, including myself, at that moment.

If only I had known what was in store for me, maybe I would have tried to prepare mentally. But after the doctor mouthed his platitudes, I was discharged and the first sight that I saw as I got out of the hospital was that of a heavily pregnant woman, being helped out of the car by her doting husband.

The bile that rose from the inside of me at that time, was shocking. I went rigid and stood in one place for a few moments and then resumed walking, but every fibre of my being hated that pregnant woman with her rosy cheeks, the boubou that was straining to cover her huge bump, her swollen ankles that I could see. I just hated her. I hated the fact that she was obviously carrying her baby to full term and I had never had the opportunity to do that, through no fault of my own. “Does she have two heads, or why does she have to be able to carry a baby to full term and I had to lose mine before they even got to the second trimester?”

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Kemi, I know about jealousy but I was not jealous. I just hated her and wished she was in my shoes. I felt like she was rubbing her bump in my face, saying, “See what you are missing!”

On the drive home, I swear, it was arranged that I saw only the pregnant women, some with a bump and some with a baby strapped to their back. I saw the moms holding their kids, I saw the ones yelling at their kids on the street, I saw the kids walking alone, I saw the groups of children. I saw them all and I just hated them right there and then.

When I saw the pregnant mom, I did not wish her well. When I saw the one with the bump and a baby, I thought, “Why don’t you give me one of those and we would be even.”

At the mom who was yelling at her kid, I literally went, “Ntoi, shebi you see better mama like me! You no come.”

To the kids walking alone, I thought, “With me as your mom, you will never walk alone.”

And that was how I lost myself for months. I did not want to be in the company of babies, of pregnant women, or moms and kids in general, or anything with that resemblance. The nice, bubbly Alero, who was solicitous and kind, disappeared. Honestly, I had no idea where that good girl went to; all I knew was this alter-ego, who was on a heart-breaking, pain-inflicting spree.

My husband bore so much, I wonder how he tolerated me that much, I knew I was mean. I was an absolute shrew, yet he stood by me. He patched things up with our family and friends, when I would go off tangent. He was not allowed to comfort me, pity me or be angry with me. I honestly did not know what I expected of him or my other family members. I was a mess.

I knew at one stage that they were having a prayer chain session because of me, but I couldn’t care less. Well, it might have been their prayers or the rational and conscientious part of my mind that helped me heal and find the beautiful Alero once more.

But, to be honest, I’m not so sure about that. I got a definite release the day I crossed into the second trimester of the pregnancy that gave me my twin daughters. I started to feel my real self come back to take control, and as the weeks went by, I got more control.

I was not ecstatic at the news that I was pregnant once more. I had been there twice already, remember? And it ended in pain. No need to get excited again. However, when I held the babies in my arms and looked at their faces, their rosebud lips, every last strand of hatred drained away from me.

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I was suffused with love for these babies. I was a mommy after all. That day, I found Alero, who had been locked in a dark cell since the day of my last D&C.

This feeling of hatred and wanting everyone to be in my shoes were emotions, that took me a while to accept. I struggled with accepting the fact that I was the one, who felt like that. I felt, I was such an evil person, to wish other people same pain as I was going through and not feel any prick in my conscience.

I wasn’t supposed to be like that. I was born and raised by loving parents, who preached the gospel of loving your neighbour as yourself. I guess, that was where the problem was, I did not love myself, so I couldn’t love others. I couldn’t give what I was not feeling.

It felt alien to me, but it was the way I felt. I have been making amends with my friends and family for all I did to them back them. But sometimes, I just wonder how my life would have turned out, if I had not had the kids.

Would I have healed? Would I have found the beautiful side of me once more? I guess I will never find out now.”

Alero’s story gave me the chills. At first, I did not know whether to tell her it was normal, that it was her own way of grieving her lost babies, or to say she had taken it too far. But you know what, I don’t feel qualified to say either way, as, I haven’t walked an inch in her shoes.

However, thank God for the babies who helped her to find herself once more.

 

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Photo credits:

1. http://cache.magicmaman.com/

2. https://www.bellanaija.com/

3. http://marriottphoto.com/

 

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