Jt and I had been married for about a year and a half when we lost Bostyn. Our whole married life has been tying to get pregnant, the difficulty and the great loss.
“The first year of marriage is the hardest.” We really argued that. We described marriage as fun, an adventure, the greatest thing in our life. We have had a great relationship, we say living in the fast track. We have done a lot in the 4 years we have been together. We have gone through huge career changes for Jt, establishing myself as an Rn, living together, buying a home, the wedding, family struggles, medical issues, loving every bit of our pregnancy with Bostyn. We really felt like gosh, we have it all, amazing careers, financial freedom, a beautiful home, the greatest friends and family and a very well built foundation in our relationship, little did we know.
Everyone’s relationship is affected differently during and after loss, or even their relationship shift if they do get to bring their baby home. Things change, you are forever different people and the person by your side is the closest thing to that shift you have experienced. This could either bring you closer together, or completely break you apart and create a divide, or both.
Our experience losing Bostyn, I will never forget the moments from finding out her heart was no longer beating to the feeling of her body exiting mine and then us as a little family bundled up in the tragedy of her being gone and the way we connected. I remember us really connecting like we have never before, locking eyes and understanding the soul looking back better than ever before. I will be the first to admit that I didn’t know love for my husband until I was in labor, or crying out for my baby that was no longer there, him forcing me to eat because it had been solid days since and I was wasting away, finding him sobbing in the shower to protect me from the start of my own tears, and catching him just looking at me differently from those moments on.
Marriage after loss for us has really strengthened who we are as individuals and who we are as a couple. Not to say I haven’t snapped at him for talking too loudly when silence is sometimes still too much, or for being too uppity when I was crumbling or for just sometimes being “a guy” when I just needed to be held close. It hasn’t been easy but it has been just what we know. We have learned so much about each other and just the differences we truly hold as a man and woman. Men, most men struggle in such a different way, they need distraction, life as they knew it, experiences, and work to keep their mind occupied, and from crumbling. Not that they run from it but they just process it differently, they are able to turn things off and then it catches up to them and they break. I have learned this. Women, we are loud, we are constant, we cannot shut off and we cannot pretend to be OK for too long. Boy oh boy though we can put on a “strong face” but then we throw our hands up. Our feelings are right there, present, outward. This difference can be hard, I have looked at my husband and thought, “screw you for being so ok,” but the truth is he isn’t okay, he just processes and feels so differently, he holds a hard exterior because that’s how he gets through it. I can only do that for so long and his ability lasts longer.
This has been an adjustment in learning about each other, and how to handle that. How to accept that difference. Marriage after loss is not easy, but it is all we know. We have had our moments where we were just roommates surviving another day, not being able to be around eachother without being at each others throats from emotional exhaustion and times I thought, gosh he just will never get that I am not moving forward. Despite the troubles overall I look at him with such an awe of strength, bravery and courage to keep going not only for himself but so much for me. He has accepted that I may get one thing done during the day and the rest is me in bed, or I may be very tired from the simplest things, or loud noises and crowds cause me such anxiety from ptsd. Our life and idea of fun is so different and not my “normal,” he has accepted the changes in who I am and loved me through it, he realizes the woman he fell in love with is lost, and may never appear the same way again, that she is broken and he is ok with exactly who I am now and where I am.
For that I am so grateful. I can see the divide marriage after loss can create, the resentment of grief speed, the different abilities between the two and how it can be not accepted by one side. I can see how relationships become irreparable. There is so much patience that goes into it, from understanding how one another deals, understands, processes and grieves, there is so much trust in a woman and her body after birthing her baby that died, the complete disconnect sexually, and the reminder what that intimate important time in your relationship can and did end in the ultimate pain. The lack of self love that can transfer to the relationship so easily. SO many aspects that can affect this process. Marriage after loss is hard, you wonder who are we now, how do we reintegrate ourselves, how do we even go on. But it is all we know now.
These tattoos we got after Bostyn was born that were planned when we were still pregnant. The runic alphabet for our letters. J,S,B
How was your relationship affected after loss?
Did you have a greater divide than strength?
What did you do to either repair or continue to be close?