In the first days after the worst news of my life a number of things began to happen regularly. One of these things being that I would wake up each day and remember what had happened before I even opened my eyes. Actually, more accurately, I would remember something terrible was about to dawn on me. And then it would dawn. I would have that sensation where you aren’t quite sure if it is a nightmare yet, but every day I had to reconcile that this was no dream. I sobbed in a way I can’t remember doing since I was a little girl. It was the kind of crying where you can’t catch your breath and it thunders in your ears and makes you feel sweaty and shaky and like you’re going to be sick. Then I would feel totally numb. The sobbing-numbness routine is a fun little cycle if you haven’t had the chance to experience it yourself. I asked myself repeatedly when I would ever feel like myself again? It actually felt impossible to imagine myself truly happy.
Intellectually, I knew I had to grieve, but that I also had to make some rough stabs at trying to keep on living. In this vein, I attempted to keep myself distracted. I had dinner with both sets of in-laws (my husband’s and best friend’s parents), I watched crap TV, I had friends over to watch the Super Bowl, I made onion dip (you know what's sadder than onion dip? a depressed person making onion dip). All those things certainly helped to take my mind off things and provided momentary comfort, but every time I caught myself laughing or forgetting it was met with a counteracting and crushing wallop of sadness that hurt ten times worse when I remembered.
In my life I had always been lucky enough to observe that when I worked hard and lived in the world authentically as myself, that one thing flowed to the next. Working tirelessly (read: nerdily) in school flowed into going to a university and on travels that would shape me, which flowed to growing and accepting myself as a person, which flowed to finding a masters degree that reflected my personal passions, which flowed to learning to love myself, which lead to acknowledging I had found the One to love me back and marrying that person, which lead to conceiving a baby. However now I found myself in a position from which no amount of hard work, or charisma, or passion could rescue me. For the first time in my life I actually did not know if or when I would be okay again.
Time stretched on for an eternity during these days, but I also entered a bizarre time warp where sometimes I would glance at the clock and could hardly believe that hours and hours had flashed by while I stared out the window or into thin air. The fact that my body still felt pregnant was a cruel and constant torment. Seeing a mother walking in the street carrying her child was enough to completely knock the wind out of me. My email inbox incessantly delivered subject lines such as “Your Baby’s Development at 11 weeks” and “When Will I Start Showing?”. I would press delete with shocking speed thinking futilely that I could out-run the inevitable emotional stab. There was a stack of books about pregnancy, a pregnancy journal I excitedly started, and a prenatal workout DVD that, although hidden in my apartment, radiated a constant frequency of pain from their respective hiding spots (see Ever Forward Fail File Post #2). Somewhere in the dark mystery of Chris' computer there were also the first weeks of “belly photos” that we took--pictures of me lovingly touching the belly that would soon be swollen and full of baby.
It seemed everyone started posting sonogram photos all at once on Facebook and although I'm usually the girl who loves seeing those, people may as well have been dangling them before my face and laughing. Photos posted of new moms glancing down at their beautiful newborns and smiling sweetly morphed into a demonic taunting sneers in my mind's eye. It was enough to drive a person completely mad. And mad is how I began to feel as I sat inside my apartment wondering when my body would begin to miscarry the heart within me that was no longer beating. One such afternoon I started to feel like I actually could not breathe and so I forced myself to bundle up and go outside and take a walk. And I got mugged. The cruel and ridiculous irony of this was not lost on me. I actually found myself almost laughing thinking, Is that all you've got, Universe?! It would have perhaps been enough to shake the belief of even the most devout disciple of Universal Justice or Karma or a Greater Power. In an odd way however, getting mugged was a gift. It was the first time I was able to look into the future and see a version of myself telling any element of my story with sardonic humor. It jolted me out of my fog and forced me to reconnect with my most natural coping mechanism--finding the (at times sick) humor in things. It was like the Universe was shaking me and saying you better start fighting back or I will walk all over you, girl!
Perhaps the take-away of learning that things actually always can get worse is that we should fiercely appreciate what we have even when things seem to be the darkest. Now, I'm not saying I was the obnoxious person who was able to recognize or grasp that in the moment, but it's certainly a universal truth thats been made abundantly clear to me as I was dragged kicking and screaming further and further into its inevitable verity.