Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Who knows where it comes from?

I have to admit that I was secretly patting myself on the back. Looks like I did some great grief-work in the past two years: I was handling the mommy thing really well. And the time I was spending with BB wasn't making me mourn for C. any more than a trip to the grocery store might. Nope, no "re-grieving" for me.

Apparently, it was just delayed. Delayed until the moment when I ran out of clean, fancy sleepers for BB. And I reached into the back of the drawer and pulled out one of the ones I bought for C. Now, BB wears his brother's hand-me-downs every day. No big deal, right? And this sleep is kind of ugly - ugly colours and pattern. I only bought it because it was gender neutral and on sale. I put it on BB. And I started to cry.

As ugly as it is, it is warm and it is snugly. When I pick up BB in it, he cuddles in to my chest. And I didn't get to do that with C. Not once. The sleeper that he never wore.

That was last night. Today, when BB was happily playing with me on couch, I had this overwhelming feeling that C. was jealous and that I shouldn't be playing so happily with BB. And I felt guilty. Then I felt guilty for feeling guilty. I think it is hard enough for a mom to balance her love between two living children - at least you can make some attempt to explain to the older one that you still love him, even though the younger is getting your attention right now. You can't do that when your oldest is dead.

So there you have it. Not so care-free. The emotions that I expected, but thought I had dodged, are there after all. I love BB. I love C. I miss my oldest and feel guilty that I am torn between him and my youngest.

Not much to do about it other than ride it out. It's all more complicated all the time, isn't it?

P.S. For those who have gone on to have a subsequent baby, how do you answer questions about your kids? I am trying to prepare an answer to those questions so that I am not caught off guard when they come.


Rosepetal said...

Oh Delphi. I'm so sorry. Maybe C. is jealous. It would be completely normal. You will be able to explain to BB about C.

Something you wrote struck me. I don't think you have to balance love. There isn't a finite quantity that you have to divide up between the receivers. It grows to expand the need. If you didn't love C. as much as BB these emotions of utter sadness that he isn't here wouldn't even be there. I think what you're balancing is the time you spend thinking about C. with the time you spend with BB. But it's not the love that needs balancing.

lots of love

kate said...

Yes, i do believe rosepetal is 100% right on that one.

Also, the thing about these grief moments is that you can't really escape them...they come anyway. But, really, how could they not? do i answer? Depends on the situation. Usually i don't include Nicolas, unfortunately. Sometimes i say 'two living' if i feel up to dealing with it. When Chloe was a baby and people asked me if she was my first i would say 'no, my third' and field the next question of age as it came. If you say 'he would be 3' without saying 'but he died', people don't pick up on the meaning of would be, i found. But people do immediately pick up that 'two living' implies 'and at least one dead'.

delphi said...

I think I should have said "balance my expressions of love" - I totally agree that the measure of love that we are capable of is infinite. However, the amount of time we can devote to expressing that love can sometimes be curtailed. Thank you, though, for pointing out the words that I used. It actually helps to think of it as a time issue, not an emotion issue.

lauralu said...

late to the game, let me just say that i had an out-of-nowhere crying jag this morning, more than two years after the fact. i don't think there's ever official closure.

i keep struggling with saying "no" to the "is he your first?" question. i try to smile when i say no. i feel too crappy when i say yes, so i try to be honest but take off the edge with the smile. i try to remember that someone always ends up shortchanged in these exchanges, and i try to make sure it's not hans or me. that's all i can be responsible for.

spryngtree said...

When a stranger who I'm never going to see again asks me if J. is my first I just say yes most of the time because I don't want to deal. If its someone I'm going to see again, or if for some reason I just feel like it I say "no we lost our first" and usually just move right on. Sometimes when I tell someone I'm never going to see again they say how they lost one too or how their daughter did or something. I think sometimes I just know when its the right time to open up a little and when its not. However in the very early months it was very very hard to be asked and I never knew what to say and even when I thought I prepared I'd end up crying afterwards a lot. I wrote a piece about it on my LJ that helped me put it in perspective a little.

niobe said...

When people ask, I never include the twins. But then, they were babies #2 and #3, so the question doesn't come up in quite the same way.

What does pain me, a little (and I know that this makes absolutely no sense), is that my son, when asked, always says that he's an only child. Somehow, hypocritically, I wish that he could acknowledge his little brother and sister.

Though, of course, if I can't bear to do it, why should he?