Another year, never easier
I feel the pressure to be okay. “How are you,” they ask. I reply “I’m okay.”
We skipped out on all things holidays, get togethers, birthdays everything last year. It was all the firsts that should have been with Bostyn. We had no desire to make the small talk, join in the festivities, and try and put on our brave faces for everyone else when we were not okay. What was the point.
Bostyn was not there to watch the fireworks, or be scared of the booms, she was not dressed up in some ridiculous first halloween costume, she would not nap with her dad after thanksgiving dinner in front of football and she would not get to experience the magic of Christmas and introducing her to extended family.
We didn’t feel right. Our world looked so incredibly different. We had thought about these moments, these memories and how our family would look and change for our entire pregnancy. An entire 38 weeks were spent thinking, planning, imagining but what we didn’t know is that those thoughts would not include her, she would not be here.
During our first holidays without Bostyn were also expecting her little sister. This pregnancy for us was coupled with such fear and anxiety. I woke up every single day in a state of trauma wondering if this baby died too, in the middle if the night wake in terror and not be able to sleep for hours in case the movements of the baby were my last, and I struggled with thinking that we would have to say goodbye to her too. We were so overwhelmed with her pregnancy so this added to not wanting to surround ourselves with what is supposed to be joyous occasions. We knew that the questions and excitement from our families and friends would pour in, and we did not have the typical replies, feelings and excitement, we were holding our breath and taking baby sister being alive one day at a time. Coupling that with grieving the missing of Bostyns first holidays was not do able for us.
Now, it is the next year, Bostyn would be having her seconds. We are expected to partake, we are discussing holiday plans and figuring out where our Christmas tree should go. It feels so wrong still. That will never go away. This feels so pressured.
I hate that we got a pass on the first year and we are now having to join in and put on that face. That dreaded forced smile and that cheery attitude returns when our reality is so crushed and raw that our first born is still not with us and our family does not look even close to what it feels.
That will never go away. This will never feel better, or good. I feel this pressure, this pressure that is so intense. The anxiety of everyone all over baby sister, while I the mama of two little girls am so heartbroken Bostyn isn’t with us, and never got this attention. I know these get togethers will be so intense for me, and although I am good at forcing the happy and putting up a front it is exhausting, it is so hard to not be seen and understood. It is so tiring to put on these faces. But I will reply with “I am okay.” This response is so much easier than the truth. “I am not okay, I am struggling, this is hard, I don’t want to be here, I miss Bostyn, I hate today, this isn’t fun, I am hanging on by a thread, I wish my toddler was here, I know this isn’t fair to Paxtyn, I feel guilty, I am not doing a good enough job.” All these thoughts will roll, a run on sentence over and over in my head, constant. Its loud, its overwhelming, but it cannot be heard.
We will get replies of “oh good, now let me see that baby.” And move on….. underneath there is so much more that could have been said, that is being felt.
Some would say we should be better, that we got a pass last year and it’s time to join into the game of life. Some would say that “Bostyn would want us to be happy.” I wish I could scream. I am happy but I am heartbroken and this is still so new for us, we are trying to juggle joy and grief at the same time.
Remember your reality is not understood by those that do not walk in your shoes, that have felt this pain, this death and this absence. It is ok to be honest, to be raw, to be real. It is okay to not be who you once were, it is okay to say no thank you, it is okay to not want to it is okay to just not and it is okay to join in and its okay to respond how you need. “I’m Okay.”
These are the experiences no one prepares you for, understands or recognizes unless they have felt this this pain. How I could see that bald head of hers with hair, those 10 little toes that were so long grow, her full lips compare to her now, she was perfect, so perfectly formed, 6lbs of perfection that never got to grow.