A couple of months ago, I got a DM from someone on Twitter telling me about a baby loss retreat. She had seen some of my posts online and thought I may benefit from the help it could provide. Cue me sending a tentative email to the organiser and within a week, I was signed up to go to the next one. That retreat is happening this weekend…and I’m beginning to get scared.
Where I am right now, I’d say, is in a persistent state of despondency. I have good days, when I am hopeful that I’ll eventually get pregnant again and carry to term. But there are many others when I feel it is never going to happen for us, that my body is too old and too broken to bring us a live child without some kind of intervention. Or if it could carry a baby to term at all.
I sometimes feel I’m drowning in emotions, questions, worries, none of which are being answered but which refuse to quieten down and let me get on with my life.
I experience a great deal of anger. This is often directed at my husband, the closest person to me, and I hate myself for this. He is in pain too and he needs my support. My snapping at him is not going to help anyone.
But the anger is also pointed at pregnant women, women with children, anyone who has what I want but can’t have. I struggle with these feelings because I don’t want to feel resentment as my dominant emotion, I want to feel joy – especially when the pregnant person is one of my closest friends or colleagues.
These feelings are destructive and are negatively impacting on my life. And I don’t want to continue for the next weeks, months, years, without addressing them. I hope that’s what this weekend will help me do.
There’s definitely an element of trust when you sign up to something like this. At the best of times, my worried mind is filled with questions. But in this case, I can’t truly know the answers before I go and that’s difficult for me, both as someone who needs to feel in control, as well as someone who suffers from social anxiety.
Who will be there? What will I be doing? What feelings will I need to confront? How will my social anxiety be? Will I cope? Will people judge me for crying? Where will I sleep? Will I be able to leave the group for a while if it all gets too much? Will I feel better afterwards?
I am awash with anxieties. But what I hope is that when I return from the retreat, I will be more accepting of my feelings and believe that they are all normal, valid and acceptable, despite how uncomfortable they can be. I want to be kinder to my body that has been through so much, but which I consistently blame for the loss of my pregnancies. I want to feel able to consider the (realistic) options for me to have a child – whatever they may be – with grace and acceptance, rather than resentment and denial.
It’s a lot of pressure to place on what is effectively 2 days and 1 night away, but I am hopeful nonetheless.