On Acceptance

I had a lovely drive to work this morning.

Somehow, I managed to ignore all of the usual petty annoyances- the aggressive drivers, the tailgaters, the trucks monopolizing the entire highway… the fact that I was up ridiculously early, and going to work- and just appreciate what was all around me.  The sun had not yet risen, but the sky to the east was ablaze with shades of pink and orange.  Low clouds dotted the horizon, appearing almost purple in colour against the backdrop of the morning sky.  The trees on either side of the highway were still cloaked in darkness, and a fine mist hung languidly over the farmers’ fields.

It was stunning.  I drove in silence.  No music, no book-on-CD to distract me… only the hum of my car’s engine, and the sound of my breathing- slow and deep- to listen to.  Awash with an unfamiliar sense of peace and well-being, I could have driven on forever.

I am so grateful to have had this brief window of contentment this morning.  It was unforseen, as I expected that today would be a rather difficult day.  You see, this was my due date for my second pregnancy.  In addition to my beautiful daughter, I should have a two-year-old right now.

I feel rather out of sorts today- not at all like I expected to feel.  The pain from each of my individual losses has eased with the passage of time.  I no longer feel a strong sense of grief for this baby- or any of my other angels- in particular.  More so, I am caught up in a web of sadness and regret for the journey that I have been on for so many years now- for the losses that I have endured as a whole- lost babies, lost time, lost opportunities.

I almost think that I should feel guilty about my lack of ability to mourn the loss of this particular child on this particular day.  Should I not be feeling more solemn and reverent today?  Isn’t that what any good mother would feel?  Guilt is not at all what I am experiencing, though.  I would describe it more as unease.  Maybe even defeat.  And most of all- fatigue.  It has not been easy to live each day with the subtle shadow of grief tainting all of my thoughts, and all of my actions.  The silent, daily struggle for contentment and the abatement of fear and heartache has taken a heavy toll.  I am tired.  And I don’t particularly want to play this game anymore.

Maybe what I am experiencing- at long last- is shades of acceptance.  Not necessarily acceptance of the fact that my infertility journey is coming to a rather unfulfilling end (I’ll be waging that war for years to come, I suspect), but rather- acceptance that my babies are gone.  Never to return.

I have always pictured the state of acceptance to be somewhat akin to blissful ignorance- almost an erasure of the sorrow that preceded it.  Perhaps that was naive of me, because if what I am experiencing today is, indeed, the beginnings of acceptance, I can attest with absolute certainty, that nothing has been erased.  I am still acutely aware that I have lost four babies, and there is still a wistfulness associated with that fact.  But acceptance, to me, is more like a deep sigh at the end of a long day.  A quiet acknowledgement that something  burdensome has been endured, yet it holds litte power in the present.  I lost four babies, and that is sad.  But I am, and will continue to be, OK.

I didn’t want to let this day pass in silence.  But a heartbroken and mournful tribute to the child who should have joined my life two years ago would not have been entirely honest, either.  I am just not in that place anymore.  Mostly, I just wanted my lost angel… and all of you… to know that I haven’t forgotten… and I will never forget.  That I am changed.  I have been deeply affected by this loss.  I loved, and I lost.  And now, for the sake of my living family, I am choosing to move forward.  I cannot do them the disservice of remaining stuck in the black hole that is the grieving process.  I must let go.

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20 comments
  1. This post is so sad and beautiful and true. Thank you. I think you’ve expressed something universal here about immense grief and the passage of time, and what we simply have to do in order to continue to live our lives. Sending thoughts your way for continued stunning moments and peace as you move on.

    • Thank you so much! I’ve come to realize that moving forward is something that we naturally do. It may take some time, but it always seems to happen. I think we would have to work pretty hard to NOT arrive at a place of peace with our circumstances. And it’s not always what we anticipate, but that’s one of the beautiful things about life- the surprises.

  2. Thanks for this post. Although I never experienced a pregnancy, and therefore never had a loss, I can sympathize with you and understand how difficult this must be. But, I applaud your decision to move on for your living family. And, I wish you luck.

    I’m here from Mel’s weekly blog round-up.

  3. Great post! I appreciate the idea of “shades of acceptance.” Even though my family and my secondary infertility and loss is resolved, or at least we are no longer trying to have more children, I still have to work at acceptance.

    Being done trying to expand our family didn’t magically take away the feelings associated with our struggle all those years. But more often than not these days, I do feel a sense if peace with our journey and the choices we have made in recent years to move on with our life and family, as is, feeling grateful for who/what we have.

    • Thank you Kathy… acceptance is not at all what I was expecting. I kind of thought I would just feel like ME again, but I suppose that’s not realistic. I’m not the same person I was all those years ago.

  4. What a beautiful posts. Lots of prayers for you. My least favorite feeling is that of unease. I can never put my finger on exactly what is wrong, but something feels off. Its maddening. Hope you can begin to feel peace.

    • Thank you… I think the unease was about being more at peace with the situation. It almost feels disloyal to let go. It will take time, but I will get there eventually.

  5. This is lovely…glad you are at this place. I love this line “But acceptance, to me, is more like a deep sigh at the end of a long day.” That imagery really sums it up for me…its not about being forgetting or “moving on” or “closure” but about finding peace with what is, while still holding what isn’t in your heart.

  6. This was a quiet joy to read. I am so glad that you have reached this place of acceptance and that you have found it wasn’t what you imagined. Life is full of surprises, and that is a wonderful thing. I can’t think of a more meaningful tribute to your little one today.

  7. My heart just sat in my throat as I read this. I don’t know that acceptance is ever possible for me….but I will accept the good things in my life and the small moments of joy. I am glad that you had a serene moment this morning and that you were present in it. And so sorry for your lost babies.

    • Much to my surprise, acceptance has only come about for me as a result of being too damned tired to keep feeling sad and angry all the time. It certainly doesn’t mean that I’m happy about the hand I’ve been dealt- because I’m not. But it seems to mean that the internal war is over- I have surrendered. Wishing you the same reluctant sense of peace, Kate… you deserve it. 🙂

  8. I think you’re totally right about acceptance. It’s likely not what we may expect it to be. I’ve always found “acceptance” to be a difficult word. It doesn’t really accurately describe the feeling although it’s what we often use to describe the place you’re in right now. Sorry if that doesn’t make much sense! I’m glad you were able to have a peaceful morning today.

    • I agree- I think ‘surrender’ is a more accurate term. Just acknowledging that some wars can’t be won is about as close to acceptance as I think those of us who have suffered loss can get.

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