I Thought it was Safe

October 18, 2013

I just needed to get out of the house for a bit of normal. My sister was watching the kids, hubby was working in the yard, and I realized that a video needed to be returned. Why not ~ surely I could hop in the car, run to the store, get a few things and come home.  Surely, that simple errand would be safe.

What I didn’t count on was that after carrying Amelia the last 40 weeks, my body had reconfigured itself. And it made sense ~ it really did. How else can a pregnant body do what it must ~ it stretches, it compensates, it adjusts. The baby you have in your womb changes your spatial concept, changes your center of gravity, changes your blood volume, changes everything. You slowly readjust after giving birth and the baby you hold close in your arms serves as a counterbalance, helping you gain a new sense of self and grounding. The baby in your arms is evidence that you have just given birth, that you should be taking it easy, that you should be recovering and going slowly into the days ahead.

But this was not the case for me. I had no baby in my arms. The weight of my daughter was gone. I was left to find a new balance, a new sense of my body space without her to ease me into the post-pregnancy transition. I found myself stumbling easily, squatting down and simply falling over.  Moving past chairs and through doorways, I felt this odd sense of not being in control of my own body.

It was this experience that I took with me as entered the grocery store, for the first time since I was pregnant.   People only saw a ghost of me floating down the aisles, holding onto the shopping cart for balance as I reached for items.  Floating through the checkout, and finally into the parking lot.   I opened the back door of the car, and saw it ~ Amelia’s car seat. I forgot that it was there.  This was the car we took to the hospital; the car we were hoping would carry our live baby back home.

As I closed the door, I realized that these moments would keep coming.  Everything that I had once done would be new now that she was gone. Each venture into the routine would hold the potential to shock me.  I closed the door and screamed, letting go of all the anguish that one moment represented . . . exposing my raw grief.

I thought it was safe.

  • Stephanie

    Stephanie Dyer, a mother of five children with four who walk on earth and one who soars, spends her days homeschooling and her nights painting. She has used her years of training and counseling as a LMSW-ACP to help her children deal with the loss of their sister. A self-taught artist, Stephanie currently owns and operates Beyond Words Designs, the company through which she publishes her artistry and runs the Donate Art project, a charity begun in honor of her daughter Amelia.

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