Etymology: from Old English pytt
1 : a hole, shaft, or cavity in the ground
2 a : hell 1a —used with the b : a place or situation of futility, misery, or degradation c plural : worst <it’s the pits>
In my case the pit I will refer to is a figurative combination of 1, 2a and 2b. I didn’t become aware of the fact that I was in a pit until a few months after I lost her. I was numb for the first 4 weeks-only because I was in the bottom of the pit and I didn’t know it. Nice and dark and quiet down there-isolated and protected because of it. I had begun to climb out of that pit without even realizing it. It wasn’t until I was walking behind a woman, on my way to grab a quick bite to eat, who was on the phone complaining about the fact that she was pregnant and not sure that she even wanted the baby that I became aware of the pit. I immediately became flushed and enraged. Tunnel vision, my head was spinning, heart racing, no breath-I could grab no breath, my chest was rising and falling but I could feel no air-I literally almost fell over. I had an uncontrollable visceral response to what I had just heard that felt as if I had been physically assaulted. I needed to stop and put my hand on the wall of the building because it felt as if I had been punched in the chest, knocked off my feet and free falling. It was was then, in middle of March with my hand on the wall of the Liberty Mutual building that I realized I had been standing too close to the edge of the pit I had just climbed out of after my loss. The feeling of free fall I had just experienced was my descent back into the bottom of the pit.
I have come to realize that those of us who have gone through this-we all get knocked back down into that horrid pit. However, most don’t talk about it because the things that send you toppling over while gasping for air are things that you feel embarrassed that you are having that type of uncontrollable response to. A woman you don’t know with a baby bump, a free sample box of enfamil in your mail box, an outlook appointment reminder for a prenatal scan of your baby that doesn’t exist anymore that you forgot to delete, a co-worker complaining he has no money and he lives at home with his mom and he just “knocked up his girlfriend,” getting your period when you should be 22 weeks pregnant and having no tampons in the house, a relative announcing their pregnancy and its the same gender you just lost. These are not things that should make you have a panic attack, cry, feel swells of rage followed by hopelessness. Nothing is worse than trying to choke back tears while gasping for breath trying to make sure no one notices that are in a complete free fall over the “happy” news they just shared with you.
Dates and events that are normal to everyone else are painful horrid reminders to me like, baby shower invites, Mother’s Day, the upcoming due date of the baby I will never get to hold. All of these “normal” events I have to power through while those around me get pregnant without trying, concern, worry or effort and have baby showers and send out birth announcements with these beautiful pictures of healthy babies-and even if it is a family member or a close friend-I cry tears from a dark place and then I brace for the impact…
Because here it comes in 3, 2, 1…
I can’t breathe as the wind was just knocked out of my lungs from the direct impact to my chest and now I am hurtling backwards and back down into that damn pit I found myself in after my loss. With my hands out I am clawing at the walls trying to slow my descent down- anything so that I don’t fall as far down this time–but its too slippery, there is nothing to grab,it is useless, I just can’t slow down. The impact-it was just too hard of a blow and I just wasn’t ready for it. I hadn’t gotten far enough away from the edge of the pit with enough anchors in place to keep me upright.
Then I do what we do every time I find myself beaten up, dirty and in the bottom of that pit-because my desire to be a mom is far greater than the desire to just throw my hands up in the air and scream “I GIVE UP!” I slowly climb up, hand over hand, foot over foot-out of that pit, dust myself off, pick my head up and pray that the next hit of “normal news” won’t be too soon because I’m still too close to that pit and haven’t got enough anchors in place yet to stop me from being knocked over again.
I have realized through the help of an incredible woman (thank you AH) who has walked in my exact shoes (not a therapist, not a doctor, not other women who have had babies) that it’s ok to admit to being knocked back over into that pit, even if it is because of someone’s “happy” news.
It’s ok to hang out in that pit if you just don’t have it in you to immediately start clawing your way back out.
It’s ok to avoid things that you know will knock the air out of your lungs and tip you over into that pit, even if it is a family member.
It’s ok to not walk around with happiness oozing out of every pore.
And it’s ok to rant away to close friends. Because you know what? Not every woman finds peace and happiness after a loss on her path to making a baby. Because they just don’t feel like they can put down strong enough anchors to stop from being knocked back over and into that pit UNTIL they have a healthy baby in their arms. And you know what? That’s ok too. As long as I don’t give up, there is no giving up in this game. Kick me while I am down. Go for it, at this point in my game, I dare you. I will get up eventually and keep playing. Because I refuse to believe that my destiny is to never give birth to a healthy baby.
So bring it.
Tough times, these really tough times, they just can’t last, but tough people do.