Today was one of those days where I had no where to go with the house all to myself! An entire day without interruptions to do whatever I wanted! My plan was to paint my toe nails, watch a movie, take Journey on a walk, clean (it relaxes me), make and freeze tomato cream sauce, and bake banana bread. If it required make-up or a bra, I wasn't doing it, not today! And maybe you don't think so, but I thought it made for a perfect day!
The movie I wanted to watch for my relaxing morning all to myself was 'Return to Zero.' I had ordered it from Amazon a few weeks ago and it arrived on Monday. Return to Zero was first released on Lifetime in May, but since we don't have access to regular TV channels like y'all do at home, I wasn't able to watch it until it was released on DVD. An Emmy-nominated movie about a couple's journey through stillbirth was important to me to see, and I knew I needed to watch it alone.
With the movie being about stillbirth I anticipated getting emotional, and I do emotional better when I'm alone. I love Eric, but he doesn't deal well when I cry, and I didn't want to make it worse for him by blubbering without make-up or a bra on, ya know? And blubber, I did! I didn't anticipate that it would be like watching my own experience... on the TV...set to music... with real actors... on a DVD... for everyone to see. It was surreal.
I went through all of the same emotions that Maggie felt- especially thinking that a miscarriage couldn't possibly hurt the same as a stillbirth (gosh, was I wrong on that one). The day my son was born sleeping I stopped caring about most everything. If life needed more than just my breathing, I didn't do it. And when I walked out of the hospital without him all I wanted was my unbearably broken heart to stop.... just like his had.
Watching a movie about the loss of a child isn't morbid, if that's what you're thinking. The #1 thing that prevented me from healing was the feeling that I was completely alone; that no one on earth knew the pain that I was feeling; that that kind of pain didn't really exist and I should just get over it. The hospital where he was born was great, but offered nothing in the way of support &/or grief information.
I didn't grieve properly. I just figured that since no one was asking, I wouldn't talk. Instead, I distracted myself from his loss, and when I found out I was pregnant just a few short weeks after his funeral, I turned my grief into obsessing over every. single. detail. of my second pregnancy.
It wasn't until Eric and I had 3 miscarriages in 16 months that my grief finally caught up to me, and I fell into a deep depression. I had a beautiful daughter, had graduated college, Eric was half way through graduate school, and I absolutely did not want to get pregnant again, so I had nothing to distract myself with. I had to figure out what to do with my grief, I couldn't hold onto it anymore, I knew it was starting to kill me. So, I turned to Google and found oodles of grief support and pregnancy loss awareness forums. I spent hours reading different stories and found so many just like mine! For the first time I felt like I wasn't alone, that the pain I was feeling was valid and real! This realization was profound! Maybe it sounds simple? But until that point I was totally unable to see outside of my own sadness. Suddenly, I found my feet firmly on a path towards healing.
The only reason I talk about my son and three angel babies at all is to maybe help someone not feel so alone, because I believe wholeheartedly that feeling alone stunts your healing. I'm still not getting asked, but talking about him, blogging about my losses, and getting involved with pregnancy loss support seems right, feels right, and I don't hurt as much as I used to.
Return to Zero is about breaking the silence on stillbirth and I think that y'all should watch it! Because whether you know it or not, you DO know someone who has been through it. Talking to someone about their precious baby could help them heal in ways that are too intricate to explain (trust me on this one). It takes all perspectives to bring pregnancy & infant loss out of being a taboo topic and into awareness and support.
This movie and the courage it took for this couple to tell their story is an inspiration to me! My thoughts and prayers go out to their family and continued healing. It's stories like theirs that have helped place my feet onto a path of healing and I don't know where I'd be without them!
For more information on the movie or pregnancy loss support please go to these links:
You are not alone!