my heart

I had another middle-of-the-night panic attack, and have been feeling “jittery” more often that I’d like, particularly in the evenings. I wonder if this correlates with the fact that my grief also most often surfaces when it is dark outside.

This didn’t start until a month or more after we lost the babies, and I assumed it’d go away on its own. But now I’m getting concerned about potential physical damage this frequent stress could do, and will ask my GP for advice.

What I didn’t realize until this morning was that yesterday was the 3-month anniversary of our loss. Probably my subconscious knew.

On bad days I already feel like I failed my daughters, failed my husband, failed as a woman. And somehow these episodes make me feel even more like a failure, and scare me, which in turn makes them worse. I need to get out of this cycle.

I was really hoping to move forward this year, but instead I seem to be stuck in the “one step forward, two steps back” pattern of grief.

30 thoughts on “my heart

  1. Oh hun, I hear you. Night is hard for me too. Way to many horrible things forever engraved in my memory. I can enjoy life to some degree but never without that deep sadness in my subconscience. As we were falling asleep last night I said, “Darren, I am really really sad.” And he said, “I know, and you probably will be for awhile.” He is right. There is no fast forwarding the grief and the pain. I know deep in my heart the losses are still fresh and that although there will always be hurt, it won’t be THIS way forever. You didn’t fail your daughters. Not once. You loved them and fought for them even as they were being conceived. If you haven’t seen it yet, read “You are the Mother of all Mothers” by Angela Miller. It’s short. Read it and let it sink it. It takes an incredibly strong and loving mother to do what we had to do against our wills. <3 I am 100% rooting for you, rooting for us. We need redemption.

    I will so totally send you that book if you would like by CS Lewis since I'm done with it! Email your address if you would like :) We will NEVER forget our twins and nobody will ever replace who they are to us but I know you and I are on the same page in ready to move forward and meet their younger siblings. I'm right there with you.

    1. Holly’s post is just so right.

      I’m only a little over a year out, and it has changed many times in that timeframe. I’m reluctant to put any kind of value judgement such as “better” or “easier” on it all, but it is indeed different.

  2. Night time is so hard when grieving. Things slow down, you let your body take a break, but then it’s your mind and heart that ramp up and thus the grief comes out when it’s dark and you have nothing else to occupy yourself with. And yes, about your subconscious knowing dates, even when you don’t. As for your feelings of failure, even 4+ years out, I still have those moments. I spent many hours with my counselor working on this, and the failure feelings aren’t as often, but I do know those thoughts. Sending you hugs.

  3. Darkness in the middle of the night brings out the sadness somehow. I’m sorry you too are/were having a bad day/night. I think we both need to allow ourselves to feel how we feel, process the grief, so that we can move on. It’s such a difficult thing to deal with. I am confident that one day you will move forward. Sending you big hugs as well.

    1. I didn’t realize nights were so hard on so many people. My husband seems to grieve more during the day.
      You’re right that we both need to allow ourselves to grieve. It sometimes seems to come in such unexpected bursts and waves (even though perhaps they shouldn’t have been unexpected at all).

  4. Hugs to you. I have those moments usually at 3-4am. That was when I woke up on the Sunday morning (and I knew my little girl was gone) but I just laid there waiting until I could use my Doppler again to search for her heartbeat. It all comes rushing back and I hate those moments.

    And you are not and were not a failure. You loved your precious daughters every moment they were here on earth with you. They knew that. Gentle hugs. There is lots of forward and backward movement in grieving.

  5. This may not make you feel better, but I still have night terrors over a year later.

    ***triggers*** Now with my rainbow, they have transformed into something happening with him. ***end triggers***

    I wish I could say it goes away, but it doesn’t. It does seem to get less frequent as time goes on though. I too feel like a failure as a woman, mother, and to my daughters. Like there HAD to be something more I could have done. xoxo

    1. I’m so sorry it’s still so hard, although I can imagine the fear for any living siblings. I was so scared when my husband had to go to the hospital… and I know he was equally scared with my postpartum bleeding trips to L&D. These experiences leave deep scars. I hope we’ll both continue to heal, bit by bit.

  6. A few years ago I read a magazine article written by a woman who had a pre-term delivery at 29 weeks. It happened around Thanksgiving, she wanted to prove that she could still host a big dinner at this time and pushed herself by working long hours in preparation, and initially didn’t think the cramping she was feeling was a big deal. Untill she stopped to rest and the pains didn’t relent. By the time she presented to the hospital she was nearly fully dilated and she delivered hours later. She applied much blame to herself, she felt so angry for pushing herself so hard and ignoring her warning signs. A few weeks later, now a veternan NBICU mom, she was consoling another mom who had just given birth to a preemie. “you mustn’t blame yourself” she told the other mother, then it dawned on her. If she wouldn’t blame another pre-term mom, why was she blaming herself?”

    You wouldn’t describe another woman in a similiar situation as a failure. I hope in time, you un-apply those words to yourself.

  7. Ugh, the thoughts and fears that come at night, in the dark, are the worst. I hope you can discuss it with someone, and get some advice and help somehow, if it continues. Hoping for more peace and better rest for you!

  8. Night is when we are the most vulnerable to emotions and fears that come out of nowhere.

    Time, most likely, will dull all you are feeling now to a quiet ache, and then maybe even go beyond that.

    As for these attacks, there is no way to try to combat these other than maybe the yogic practices of pranayama/meditation. That may be useful when trying to come to terms with something of this magnitude. I dabble in this (pranayama) occasionally, and don’t seem to find the dicipline to keep this up regularly, but everytime I do any, I can feel it’s effects for a little while after.

    1. I’ve tried some simple pranayama techniques, but so far didn’t have the impression it helped much… My usual yoga practice is mostly asanas though. I’m planning to take more time for pranayama and meditation and hope that, over time, it will help.

  9. I am so sorry. I think the self-blame is so natural. In some ways, it could be an effort to believe that there was some measure of control, you know? It’s like, it can’t possibly be true that something like this could just have HAPPENED! Someone must be to blame, and, well, you’re pretty much the only candidate. I hope you know in your heart that you are NOT a failure, NOT to blame. There is no blame.

    This may be way off track, but when you mentioned the link between night and your anxiety, I thought PTSD. You went through a heartbreaking experience at night, in your home. You might think that sounds excessive, and I hope it’s not going too far to mention it, but what you experienced IS the kind of thing that could result in PTSD. Good news! It’s not just for combat vets anymore!

    1. The slightly-weird therapist I was seeing talked some about PTSD and what she said about it was (I paraphrase greatly) the lizard-brain gets these visceral flashes of PANIC RUN EVERYTHING IS WRONG, and it’s set off by completely illogical things, but it’s still a real, physiological response to memory and experience and whatever set off that memory/lizard-brain panic. She also talked some about how EMDR works (turned out to not be what I needed) as (again, I paraphrase) a way to ease the lizard-brain out of the PANIC PANIC PANIC mode and help it find a different hamster wheel to run around. Anyhow, like Bunny, just though I’d mention that in case it sounds familiar.

      And I’m still thinking of you, often.

      1. Bunny and Jenny, you’re not off track at all. The thought has crossed my mind, too. “PANIC RUN EVERYTHING IS WRONG” is a pretty good description, though admittedly I hadn’t connected it to the fact that C’s birth was basically at night. Will think more about this. My GP said I should find a counselor, and she’s probably right. Thank you both.

  10. I hate that your heart hurts so much. I wish more than anything for you to have your babies back. There is certainly no blame. Continue to love yourself, and I promise I will continue to send love your way as you navigate through all of this. Sending you lots and lots of hugs.

  11. I am so sorry for your losses :(
    For me, especially in the beginning, grief was 1 small step forward, 10 gigantic steps backward. I always start to feel down around the 19th of every month without even being consciously aware of it until the day actually arrives.
    Also, I started getting into meditation a couple months after my son died. I couldn’t deal with the nightmares and the middle of the night panic attacks. It was actually something my GP recommended because I really didn’t want sleeping pills. I meditated in the early evening and then right before I went to bed. I also started going for long jogs a couple times a week to clear my mind. It only took a couple weeks before I was sleeping through the night and for the stress to subside drastically. I think a lot of it had to do with forgiving myself on a daily basis and slowly releasing guilt which I had a lot of.

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