Session 2 of counseling went well. We started off with a reflection of how I felt about session 1, with a summary of how my week went to follow. I informed her of the dream I had, and the appointment with my family Dr. She listened and reinforced a few things:
- In my dream, my friend acknowledged my babies, which I may have needed in order to have acceptance of her pregnancy. Even though she had acknowledged it prior, I may not have been ready to accept it. The dream also indicates my desire to be closer with her again.
- The new sense of support I feel, having a team of Dr.’s working together on my behalf now.
Next, we talked about the difference between losing a pregnancy, and losing a person who has physically lived here on Earth. I focused on losing my maternal grandparents, their funerals, burials, and celebrations of their life afterwards. I explained how I felt a sense of closure after these events, how I can look back and smile about things we shared during their life even though I still miss them and mourn their deaths. With my miscarriages, it is different; I do not feel closure. I cannot look back at all the wonderful memories I shared with my unborn children. I do not know why they passed away. There was no funeral or celebration of their lives. Points gathered here:
- When you lose a person who was physically here, you are left with tangible memories of your time together. For example, the trips you took with them, the sports you played with them, the hugs, the kisses, etc. With a miscarriage, you do not have tangible events to remember, you just have what your hopes and dreams were for your future with them. What were my hopes and dreams for them and our family?
- Society has created “socially acceptable” norms to mourn the loss of people who have walked the Earth, but unfortunately not for those who were only in their mother’s belly.
- Since there are no official steps in place for grieving the loss of an unborn child, it is important we create what we feel to be right in our own eyes.
That being said, Dr. G asked me some questions on what I have done so far to memorialize my lost children. I showed her my tattoo and my bracelet with their birthstones. I explained to her that I also purchased a wooden box, paint, and some trinkets awhile back that I hoped to use in a ceremony for them, but haven’t yet. She questioned why I haven’t yet, and I explained that perhaps I am afraid to do it, because once it is complete, what do I have left? My response sparked some conversation. She asked me why I feel as though I have to “finish” it? I really did not know what to say to that, not finishing it wasn’t something I even considered until then. My personality has always been to start a project, then finish it. She encouraged me to ponder starting it, but not finishing it right away, and what that would look like in terms of healing. We will go more in-depth with this in our next session.
We touched on my anxiety, and setting up a positive plan of action for a future FET. She had me describe what a typical treatment cycle has been like. I told her about my peeing on a stick addiction, the serial betas, ultrasounds, etc. All of which she knows well since infertility is her specialty. She inquired as to why I feel the need to test at home so much, and I could easily respond with the answer, “for control.” Dr. G asked some really good questions at this point:
- Control of what?
- Did I end up having control of what happened with each pregnancy anyways?
- How much do I really need to know during a cycle? For instance, are the betas really necessary for me to know? Did it matter if the lines were getting darker on the tests or not? Will knowing any of this change the outcome of what eventually happens?
- Are these actions (testing at home, serial betas, serial ultrasounds) causing me more anxiety?
- Is there anything we can do moving forward instead of these actions?
Lastly, we discussed how my loss is my loss, and should not be compared to any one else’s loss. This was brought up due to some recent comments made to me such as, “well, at least you weren’t further along, or at least it was in the first trimester.” She stood firm that psychologically speaking, a loss at 6 weeks can be as debilitating as a loss at 16 weeks. We cannot say how devastated a person feels because of how far along in their pregnancy they were. The grief that comes with a miscarriage depends solely on the hopes and dreams of what the person envisioned for their child, not how far along they were in the pregnancy. She asked me what if all my losses had been at 6 weeks? Would I not feel as bad as I do now? Of course, I would have felt just as horrible, regardless of whether or not I saw the heartbeat many times and made it to 10 weeks or not. This is not a competition. My hopes and dreams for my earlier losses were just as real as the ones for my pregnancy that was further along.
There was even more, but I feel this was what I soaked up the most of during our session. Really looking forward to session 3!