I’m at my therapist’s office, the same one as a year ago when I was working through losing my twin boys at 20 weeks.
Now I’m here for them and my son, who died at three weeks old in August.
She’s going through my assessment, a weekly checkup to see where I am emotionally.
I can hear myself say, “And angry. I feel furious, all the time. Mostly just angry.”
It’s added onto everything.
She pauses at the end and says, “I see this time around a lot of anger – much more than the profound sadness that seemed to encompass you before Christmas.”
I nod, feeling terrible that I can’t seem to find a less, well, angry feeling.
“I feel angry that I don’t have a 5-month-old, that I don’t have my 18-month-olds. I’m mad that everyone else gets their baby.
I’m mad about everything to do with this. I can’t be happy for anyone; I feel cheated out of the life that so many others take for granted.
And I hate that. I hate being this way, feeling like this. It’s overwhelming, and I do not want to be this person. I am trying so hard to pull out of this because it feels like a huge weight that I can’t carry.
It affects everything.”
I fully expect her to tell me that we need to work on the anger, which is only a symptom of other feelings.
That I should focus on being sad, or how it feels to see my friends bring home healthy babies.
Anger isn’t the problem, right?
Instead, what she says astounds me.
“You need to be angry. You need to stop trying to find a way around the anger, or eventually, you’re going to come to a point in life where it comes out in another moment, and you’ll have to deal with it then.
If you can’t let yourself be angry and work on validating these feelings – you’ll get stuck on repeat here. We need to go through it, not over it.”
This makes me even madder for a minute.
I hate feeling like this.
Of course, it’s not normal; no one wants to be angry so much of the time when I think about my sons or life.
It’s exhausting and makes me feel like complete crap.
I want to move on, skip to the next grief phase.
Fine, let’s validate my right to be angry about the past two years and then move on.
But I know she’s not going to let me do this unless I flat out tell her that’s what I want.
Deep down, I don’t want that.
I want to heal from some of this; never fully.
I understand that.
But a little more than I am now, slowly working on becoming a person who isn’t dragging the ball of grief along with her the rest of her life.
If I refuse to be angry, genuinely angry, I won’t ever get to that point.
It’s terrifying and uncomfortable.
I want to be anyone else but that angry lady who resents everyone that takes home a baby while three of mine sit on a shelf.
I wish I had the mental power to click “like” on a pregnancy announcement.
I want to silence that inner voice that says, “Their baby has nothing to do with yours, so what’s the problem?” and yet it’s still there, asking why?
I didn’t go through my anger enough with the twins.
I short circuited it with a rushed, then failed, adoption and a pregnancy quickly after.
This time there’s no escape.
I have to face my anger to become the woman, mother, wife, friend, the human being I so long to be.
Through it. Not over it.
Diana Stone is the Editor-in-Chief and owner of Still Standing Magazine, as well as a loss mom to three boys, twins born in 2012 and another son in 2013. She also has two (living) daughters. Currently, Diana teachers first grade for a Reggio-Emilia inspired school and is pursuing a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
Her journey with writing online started after the birth of her first daughter in 2009. You can read Diana’s work on World Vision, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Christianity Today, Babble, Liberating Working Moms, Simple Homeschool, Mom.me, She Reads Truth, Still Standing Magazine, Yahoo, Military Family, Attachment Parenting International, and her own site Diana Wrote.
She’s spoken at the Influence Conference, on several podcasts like Happy, Healthy You and The Morning (episode 51), and a live panel with HuffPo. She’s also traveled alongside World Vision USA to both Zimbabwe and Ecuador to learn about maternal and infant mortality rates in 2015 and to help launch their Chosen program in 2019.
Her passion is advocating for women’s physical and mental health rights during and after the loss of a child at any stage. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org