domingo, 21 de marzo de 2010

What Isabel says...

The first weeks after Ines died; I felt physically and mentally drained. Parenting Isabel during that period put additional stress to my grief. It was also heartbreaking to see her grieving. Some of the most heartbreaking comments she made to me were:

• Her answer when we told her that Ines had died just after she was born, we were at the hospital’s room: “Mommy, I am sorry Ines got seriously ill. If she had just cached a cough maybe we could have given her the “white” medicine you give me, that would have cured her and everything would be fine now.”(...)“I brought her this present (she took out of her pocket a little piñata) I was so excited to show her this piñata and many things more I have at home.”

• Also at the hospital she said: “What are we going to do with all her stuff, we bought many things for her, I want to keep the little bear we bought for her crib.” Maybe all of us were thinking exactly on that but nobody wanted to talk about it.

• One day at home, she entered my room and I was sitting in my bed crying, then she told me: “Mommy, I am sorry you are so sad. You know what I think? One day which is not today, your belly will start growing again and you will have another baby that will live. I’m sure that is going to happen one day, which is not today.”

• Several weeks after Ines died I pick her up at preschool. She said to me: “Mommy, I am happy. I magician came to school today. He gave me special powers. I am thinking that maybe with such powers I can wake up my little sister Inés and we all will be very happy again.”

• One day after her ballet lesson, “Mommy, Ines is missing and that makes me sad. You told me she was going to be born very little but that one day she and I were going to play together in our garden. Death people never grow or play, I guess I will never get to play with her.”

• One day while reading a story at mighttime she said: “Mommy we are two good friends right? You are my best friend. Do you remember that Ines was going to be our best friend too? But she died, poor little Ines.”

• At an elevator a stranger starts a conversation with Isabel and asks her name, then she asked me if she is my only daughter and I said “yes”. I didn’t want to explain anything, it was too recent. But Isabel then said: “She had another daughter, but she died when she was born few days ago”. The stranger was shocked.

• I live in a condo (I live in a huge city of 20 million people. Condos are the common place to live in) and I met in the parking lot this 4 year old little girl that is Isabel’s friend. Her parents know what happened to our baby, but I guess she doesn’t. When I saw her with her daddy she said to me: “Hi Isabel’s mom, do you remember you had a baby in you belly? Where is that baby? I never see her."

I just love how clear, direct and concise kids can be. When we grow up we just become cumbersome. I am glad I have Isabel because at the end her words have help me to go through. Even if sometimes I am not willing to talk and think that Ines is missing and that I might have A LIFETIME AHEAD TO REMEMBER HER.

miércoles, 17 de marzo de 2010

Pregnancy pictures

As many expectant mothers do, when I was about to pop I went to have a photo studio of my pregnant body. B, Isabel and myself went to this photo studio and they took pictures of the beautiful belly and our beautiful smiles that showed nothing but how proud, hopeful and joyful we were about the addition of Ines to our familiy. We never thought how all that joy was going to turn into bitterness and how those smiles will turn into cryings. We never thought that those pictures were going to be such a milestone in our grieving process.

She died on January the 2nd, our appointment to select the photos was on January 31. I remember that after the photo session took place the lady asked me when to book the photo selection session and I said to her that "the end of January would be a good time because earlier I was going to be quite tired and busy with the newborn". I thought that maybe Ines was going to be around 3 weeks old by then and that maybe 'that one' was going to be the first trip of Ines to our nearby mall.

I remember when the same lady called on January 30, she asked to speak with me to confirm the appointment. I could not speak to her. B spoke to her and he said: "I am sorry we can't go to the session. We have to pospone it. Unfortunately, the baby died shortly after birth and my wife and I are not ready to see those pictures, can you save them? We want to see them eventually and keep some of them, but we can't for now". He said they were very very touched by our tragic event.

I have been telling B during the past weeks that we must see those pictures and keep some of them. I called the photo studio today and asked the lady to upload the pictures in the Internet, we plan to see them today and see them together. B is actually getting home earlier and we are finally going to face the situation. I know we are going to cry, maybe we are going to cry to sleep. It is going to be damn sad.

You might get to see some of the pictures, I plan to upload some of them in this

lunes, 15 de marzo de 2010

A different perspective

This past weekend we had a long weekend in Mexico. It was Benito Juarez' birthday. I went with my sister P and her in laws to Malinalco to spend the weekend. Malinalco is a little town with truly Mexican flavour located in the State of Mexico nearby Mexico City. In the upper part of the town there is a very nice Golf Club Weekend Resort Living. My sister and I love this place. The houses, the weather, the gardens, the families, everything is so beautiful. It is very inspiring place and a perfect landscape for kids.

Last year my sister and I rented a house in Malinalco during the summer. We used to go every weekend with our hubbys, my daughter Isabel (4), her son Mateo (2) and my belly with Ines. I spent every weekend of my second trimester in there. I think that the summer of 2009 was one of the best times in my life, it was a blast.

During that summer we all started so many dreams related to Ines. Dreams and hopes that were so broken on past January. Once we even thought about doing her baptism in there. During the summer everytime I was getting out of the pool I used to watch my belly in the glass door that is located just in front of the pool. In that way I was able to see how much it was growing. It was nice. I had a really nice belly. I still remember that our first weekends there I still had some morning sickness. But it used to help to wake up early and head out of the house and walk with the kids to the club house and drink a cup of tea or a cup of coffee and breath such fresh air and admire the view from the cafeteria. I loved those days full of hopes and love and joy. I was then full of joy. With the memories of those feelings I now know I need to re-do myself.

We can afford to have a weekend house yet, however back then I felt that with my two daughters I was complete enought to work hard and one day get to buy a house there. I never felt bad or anxious about not owning a house there. I always knew I had the important things like a great hubby, Isabel, Ines and the opportunity to enjoy life with my sister and her family. I was aware how much I had. Is not that after Ines died I now know how much I had. I had mind peace, joy and hope. Assets that are hard to keep.

This weekend we were back to Malinalco, to the same exact house. We were not back as we thought we were going to be back one day; with Ines in our arms. We were back as this sad grieving family: a grieving father, a grieving mother and a grieving sister. I also saw my tommy when I got out of the pool, but this time it was a flat & non growing tommy, and I have no baby. I enjoyed riding my bike my bike but I cried a little thinking how much I wanted to see her in there with us, enjoying the holidays and her family. I still can't accept that she lost her time on earth with us. And no religion can't change my view. And I do respect very very much all of you that feel relief with those believes. I have a huge and honest respect for any griever and of any belief she devotes to.

My sister is again renting the same house, but we are not. At the end of last year I told her that buying our new appartment also during the summer put pressure in our budget, so we cannot afford to rent the house during 2010. We bought the new appartment so we cold fit better with Ines. She asked her in laws to share the house with them. So now she is renting the house with her in laws. This weekend they invited us to spend time together.

There are two people working at the house, a cook and a garden man. They also saw me pregnant during the summer. This time both were still working at the house. They didn't say anything to me about the baby, but they knew what happened. You know when those eyes look at you saying 'poor lady' she is empty & broken heart. In fact, my sister told me that the cook, who also cleans the house, asked her if this weekend that I was coming we were going to use the little crib that is available in a storage room, because then she can clean it for baby Ines. My sister told her that Ines died soon after she was born, so unfortunately we don't need the crib. She said she was so sorry about our loss. I think she must have been shocked with the news, as any other that shared moments with us while I was pregnant.

My brother in law's brother also spent the weekend with us and he has two little ones about the same age that Isabel and Mateo. I was happy they went, Isabel had a blast with the kids. She enjoyed the pool, the tumbling, the garden, the bike, the sand playground, watching movies and playing around with the kids. Of course I grieved the fact that she lost her little sister, it just broke my heart. I still have to deal with that fact.

It was interesting to watch this guy and his wife expressing some complains about parenting two kids that are so close in age. They had the first one and eight months after they accidentaly got pregnant again with the second one. So the last 3-4 years have been very active for them. I felt how tired and stressed they feel. However they have no clue that they are subject to the nice and sweet stress while grieving parents are subject to the most bitter stress. She also made complains on how her body was destroyed as a result of pregnancy and that she is not willing to have any kids at all.

She told me that I look amazing, she said she was impressed that I had a baby just two months ago. I wore my bikinis, so I agree that I don't have the classic body of a new mother. However it is more a result of pain than anything else. She is 30 and planning to get a tommy tuck and maybe to get her uterus out. Why to risk getting pregnant again? I definately respect her perspective, but I feel is a little to soon for taking such a definitive action. You never now if in 5 years you could crave to have another one. Maybe because you just move on child bearing stress, maybe because you can afford having extra help, maybe because you remarried, you never know what can happen. But I guess that when your life has never been hit by tragedy or a radical change of plans you just don't think in a wide range of possibilities.

Even though during the weekend my hubby and I felt sometimes sad because of all the memories this place brings to us, we had a nice time. We enjoyed ourselves, our daughter, the place, the food and the people. We just saw everything with a different perspective.

viernes, 5 de marzo de 2010

Dealing with believes...

As many of you have noticed, people that just experienced a loss not only is entitled to deal with the dark emotions resulting from the 'loss' but also with the emotions peoples' comments can produce when trying to give support. I like to believe these comments are always well intended, however many times they are not effective and sometimes are hopeless and even harmful.

Grievers usually rely on their personal believes to work through their grief and move on to accept their loss. However personal believes can vary tremendously among people. While there is people who like to think that death matters are God's will, their is also people that supports the idea that God would never apart a baby from her parents or even that God doesn't exist. Given that humans have different views towards life and death is reasonable to hear now and then disturbing comments about your loss. Most of the people express to grievers their own views and fears towards life and death as if grievers were in search of a new code of believes, which is not necessarily the case.

It feels so hopeless when people tell me that a parent can never overcome the loss of a child, so they mean that the worst has happened to me. The first thing that comes to me after I hear such statement is that unfortunately they are WRONG. I can still lose more because I have more. That comment instead of making me feel like a hero makes me feel hopeless. I don't like pity. Please people don't say that because it is more cruel than empathic. People who have in fact lost their children do not agree with such statement. At least not the ones I have talked to.

Another comment I dislike is when they tell me that I am lucky to have a living child. “You are so lucky to have Isabel, she is beautiful and amazing” or “Thanks God this wasn't your first one”. Loosing a baby is ALWAYS a big deal. It doesn't matter if it was the first or the tenth one. Since every relation is unique and develops in a particular context, every loss has its specific complication. It is more naive than wise to conclude that loosing a first child is always worst. For example, if it is the first one you can fill that maybe you will never get to parent a child and for sure that feeling is tough and can produce a significant amount of anxiety. However, when you have a living child you have to deal with your child’s grieving since she lost a sibling. You also feel anxiety because maybe you will never be able to provide a living sibling to your living child. Or maybe you will have that sibling but maybe years later so they won't be close enough in age.

The other attitude I personally don’t like is the people who think that because you are a griever you are in search of a transformation of your life and they insist you to follow the steps or believes they practice, specially the religious type of persons. They always feel that you are far from God. I might be far from YOUR IDEA OF GOD. These people do not offer sincere love and support and sometimes they are disrespectful and even cruel. They add a stress factor to a very stressful situation. If they really want to help they should first LISTEN and then think in which way they could offer REAL help. Not every solution fits everyone. If you live in ‘fantasyland’ and you can’t understand the diversity factor, then keep yourself away from grievers. Helping grievers is more about listening than talking.

Every loss has its own particular impact, because is the result of a twist is a particular history. Every mind is a world itself. We never know the true feelings and specific expectations parents had to burry after the loss of their baby: People don’t assume grievers see life as you see it.

I loved my life before Ines died. I was one these lucky persons that never had a really bad experience. I really had the dream life. My life was pink, happy and full of joyful experiences. I was born in a family of six. I grew up with loving parents and siblings. I married a wonderful man. I have never had any trouble in getting pregnant, no miscarriages. I have a truly loving 4 year old daughter that has brought plenty of joyful moments to my life. I have a great job: I love what I do and I get paid for doing it. I live in a beautiful house. I have traveled and enjoyed friends. I enjoy a healthy life. The most important is that I truly enjoy being the person I am. I do not want to be someone new, transformed myself or changed my believes. Ines death doesn't say my believes were wrong. I want to rescue the way I use to enjoy life. That is it. I want to be as happy as before and I know that eventually it will happen, if I rely properly on personal effort.

I strongly believe that God provided us humans with immense powers, such as personal effort. Relying on personal effort is relying on God, because God gave us such capacity. When we loose someone we learn that in this life there are many things out of our control. But the state of our minds is one of the things we can control, if we rely on personal effort. Sadness and happiness are states of mind because they are a ‘product of our mind’ and they exist within our mind. Sadness and happiness do not have an inherent existence; they exist in our inner world. We produce them. In a way, we ‘decide’ how we feel with what happens to us. Many times we don’t choose what happens to us but we always choose how we feel with what happens to us. This means that the same experience can produce different states of minds in two people. Loosing the same child can be a dramatically different experience for each parent. It all depends on the state of our mind.

So people, I know in what to believe. Two months ago my daughter died and I am broken heart. But I am not empty because I do have in what to rely on. If you want to help, you can offer to listen, an arm to cry, a big hug, time to chat, in few words, just offer your company. I know who I am and what I need. If you see me different is because I am broken heart, that is it. But I do practice my own believes (not yours) to heal.