Throughout my first pregnancy I had been keeping a journal (which has provided the material for my “flashback” posts that have been popping up) which I had decided I would one day pass on to my child. Well, the universe laughed at my plans and we all know that none of my babies have been born alive. My last entry was about a week before the fateful anatomy scan, and since then I have never once gone back to write in it. Not through the D&E procedure, or any of my subsequent pregnancies, not through the grief or tears or anger or any of it.
In my very first blog post almost two years ago I wrote about how I chose an online blog as a medium because I couldn’t stand to see my story handwritten. I had that journal hidden in my bureau, with plenty of empty pages, but I didn’t want to write it out. I didn’t want to see the words written in my handwriting. It wasn’t supposed to be my story. I didn’t want to see it in a journal – my own words, in my own crazy loopy letters and (sometimes) messy handwriting. I wanted to get my thoughts out, they were circling over and over in my mind, and after reading a few other blogs it seemed that the relative anonymity of blogging would provide me the outlet I desired.
Occasionally when I complain about the cards I’ve been dealt or about how life has been unfair to me, to us, The Husband will say something like – well, we aren’t starving kids in Africa so it could be worse (is there anything so annoying as when someone says ‘It could be worse.’) Or, he’ll say something like, we don’t have cancer and aren’t dying in the hospital so chin up. I understand the point he’s trying to make but it can be so irritating when he does this. And I’ll tell him that if I can’t be sad because I don’t have it “as bad” as someone else then he can’t be happy because he doesn’t have it “as good” as someone else. In fairness to him he doesn’t say these things often, and in general The Husband is very supportive and helpful, but at times I think my emotional turbulence tires on him and he just wants us to be happy.
With this in mind I decided this New Year to start keeping a gratitude journal. I thought it might help provide me with some perspective on my losses and my life. I don’t want to keep feeling as though my life is not good enough, or that just because I don’t have children I don’t have anything to live for or any purpose. I don’t want to continue being the person who struggles to be happy for others. And I really don’t want to be so sad and bitter all the time. I am spent and I want more. The only journal I have in the house is THE journal… the baby journal with all of its blank pages. With its incomplete story. I wanted to use it for my gratitude journal. But it didn’t feel right to start using it as a gratitude journal while I still had the rest of the baby story unwritten. And I couldn’t tear out the pages and trash them like they didn’t exist.
Tonight I finally opened that journal and finished that story. Maybe “finished” is not the correct word, it makes me sad to think of my babies as “finished”(I think of their lives as “unfinished”) and I HOPE that my story and journey for a baby is not “finished.” Perhaps closure is a better word, although I know the door to my my grief will never be “closed” and I will always carry it with me. I guess the “right” word(s) escape me. In any event, it took me almost two years to finally get it together to write it, but I took the journal out from under all the clothes it was buried under and I wrote. Wrote into the journal that my child will never see but was meant for him or her. I didn’t write in any great detail but I got the point across. I teared up a bit but overall it wasn’t too bad. Right now I think “What took me so long? What was I afraid of?” But I know I was never ready to write it out until now. I don’t know what changed inside of me to make me able to write, or what made me ready. As I was writing I noticed that I was writing “you”… as in my first baby. This was supposed to be my first baby’s journal but when I was writing it, back in 2013/2014, I never addressed it to “you.” Something inside of me wouldn’t do it. Maybe deep down I knew something was off. Maybe I knew that the “you” would never read it. Now, now that the pregnancy is over and I know the ending, I could write to “you.”
And I think that nothing is more fitting than to use my baby journal as my gratitude journal.