I was going to write a post about the old me – the me that walked into the perinatologist’s office on August 20, 2009 wearing a red shirt, black cargo capri pants and sandals with flowers on them – yes, that me. The me that was 22 weeks 6 days pregnant with Marco, my first child. The me that was living a life that was relatively safe and normal. But then I got to thinking, and changed my mind.
I started thinking that while my world drastically changed that day, I am still the same ME. I am still Libby Bianchi, born in Topeka, KS, but raised in Silver Spring, MD. I still have the same thick and unruly hair and the same just-slightly-crooked nose. I still wear my heart on my sleeve and can’t lie to save my life. That’s me.
Did my world completely change that day and then continue to unravel during the subsequent 7 weeks when my beloved Marco ultimately was born and died? Yes. Did I learn that day that I am not immune to direct pain and suffering? Yes. I am generally not a loud crier, but I’ll never forget the sound of my cry the moment I stepped into my car after walking out of the doctor’s office that day. That cry, it came from the depths of my soul, and it was raw and loud. It was my reaction to not only the new world that I would be living in, but the fact that I was being forced into that new world.
That day, the day I was told that my baby most likely had a serious genetic or chromosomal disorder, that day changed my world. But it was still me living in it.
Have I completely changed since that day? No. Have many things about me changed since then? Yes. I am jaded. Hardened. I don’t like this about me, but it is what it is. Even after having had a successful pregnancy after loss and now being able to raise my amazing just-turned-3 daughter, I still have a hard time hearing about others’ pregnancy joys. It’s not that I don’t want others to experience joy; no that’s not it. It’s more that I am envious of their experience. I don’t know if that will ever change, but I hope that someday it does.
Along with the hardened part of me however, comes an enhanced love and appreciation. While I have no intention of comparing any mother’s love for her child, I do feel my relationship with my living child has been altered in an enriching way by my previous loss.
That old world that I lived in – before The Day, the moment it all hit the fan, it was great. It was, as stated earlier, safe. Normal. But there is no going back to it. I can only live in my current world, for if I try to think of those days before, I lose sight of the beauty that is in front of me right now – today. And I don’t want to do that. I have a husband, a beautiful daughter, good health – the list goes on.
Does this mean that my mind will never wander back to thoughts of my previous world? No. It will, and that’s ok. I’ll go back there for a moment when needed, but then I’ll return to today and refocus my energy.
So, if you are like me and you have found yourself in the middle of a nightmare as I did 5 years ago next week, take solace. I know you feel lost, but know that you are still there. I promise. It’s ok to feel lost. Your world has changed indeed – in a way that you never would have thought or wanted or imagined. Your world will never be the same. But you are still there. If you’re having a hard time seeing yourself, it’s ok. You will eventually. That foggy image you see in the mirror will start to become more and more clear as time goes on.
I don’t know when I found myself again after having lost Marco – it was certainly a process. My medicine was crying, sharing, writing. I drank it up. And slowly, little by little, I found myself again. I realized that I’m still me, just living in a different world.