I think as women we tend to be extra critical of ourselves. We look in the mirror and try to be happy about what is looking back at us. Our weight is never right, our hair is never perfect, there always seems to be something that we don’t like about ourselves. Us women that have lost a child always tend to blame ourselves and particularly our bodies. That our bodies have let us down.
I feel like since the moment I was born my body has let me down. At 6 months old I had to have open heart surgery then about 7 years ago I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, which in that moment I thought was the worst possible thing. I can’t wrap my head around that I thought THAT was the worst thing. Most people get their thyroid killed with no other issues besides having to take a pill for the rest of their lives, but I went on to be a part of the 2% that has had other issues. My eyes started to bulge and everytime I get a bruise on my lower leg it turns into a hardened bump that doesn’t go away and looks like a forever bruise. Any health care professional looks at me and can see that I had Graves’ disease just by seeing my eyes. I keep my legs covered, I don’t ever wear shorts anymore because I don’t like my legs because of my “bumps”. I hate pictures of me because I can see how awful my bulgy eyes look.
This is all minor compared to what my body does to my babies or future babies. We have no idea if Averie had issues because of the antibodies in my body from my Graves’ disease. I was for some reason was never checked for that while pregnant with her. Her death was considered a “freak accident” but the pre term labor and no fluid is awfully familiar to what happened with Isabella, and we know that she in fact was being effected because of those antibodies. MY body was doing this to her.
I’ve thought a lot about if I want to have any other children and I go back and forth. It’s hard enough to go through pregnancy after a loss but I can’t put another child through another possible early delivery with a NICU stay and on top of that the possibility of having neonatal Graves’ disease. Is it selfish to want another child when that could be the future??
I’ve been extra critical of myself lately and not just in the physical way. Since we lost Averie people have told me how strong I am, how much I inspire people. They thank me for helping them. Because I’m so critical, these words don’t effect me the way they would most people. I feel like they are talking about someone else. They couldn’t possibly be talking about me. How am I strong? How have I inspired anyone at all?I’m there for other Loss Moms because that’s what you do right? I care about them and don’t want them to be sad or hurting, but I don’t expect praise for it.
I’ve realized that half the time I don’t take my own advice with things either. I tell other Loss Moms to be kind to themselves or be gentle to themselves yet I can’t do that with myself. I tell others they are beautiful no matter what, but I can’t wear shorts because of an insecurity. And just the other day I told a fellow loss Mom that I wouldn’t let fear control whether we decided to have another child and here I am eating those words. I then get critical of myself for being so critical. This is where it spirals out of control and I find myself screaming in my head to just STOP.
And even while I type this I feel like I need to explain that I’m not always this critical of myself that I have more good days then bad, but why do I feel like I need to explain and justify??
Being human is hard.