I've come across three new families in the last 2 weeks that have had a full term stillbirth. My heart breaks for them and what they are going through. And my thoughts keep wondering back to those first few weeks and how I survived them. Maybe I've written about it before, but I feel moved to write again about some of the things that got me through the day during those first few weeks. I know it wont be the same for everyone, but maybe it will help someone...
The first week was a blur, funeral and burial. Then the second week we went to Florida to get away. Then the third week Nathan went back to work. Here is how I stayed busy:
-Called/emailed/facebooked every single friend I could think of and asked them to come check in on me. I knew that for me, being alone was too hard on me and that at least once every 2 days I needed someone to check on me. Also I knew that my husband could only handle so many crying phone calls at work in one day-I had to find other outlets. I asked my friends to call me, email me, to check in on me because I knew I wasnt capable of keeping that kind of communication right away. (*I called the single friends because it hurt too much to have friends with kids come over)
-Tell Caleb's story over and over again. For me it was healing every time I would tell his birth story. We ask so many women with live babies over and over again their birth story. I knew that just because he died, his story was still one that needed to be told. I just remember having to talk about him all.the.time. Thank you to those of you who listened to me!
-Listen to faith talks. I had a list of websites with good talks from pastors and priests. I treated listening to them like taking medicine. Every four hours I needed to revisit either a scripture passage or listen to a talk. The waves of darkness were so intense that if I didnt check back into the source every 3-4 hours I was sure to get lost. For those looking for things, here is what I have found and loved:
podcast- Bethel Church, North Coast Church, Bayside Church (California), Bethany Baptist Church (Peoria), Reason for our Hope with Father Larry.
All of these have multiple sermons to pick from that can really get you from one minute to the next.
-Have something to look forward to-for me this was food. I hated life and so I found comfort in food. Making a cake-sure! Getting a third diet coke for the day-perfect. I had to have something little to look forward to each day or else I would not get out of bed.
-Spend time in adoration...or a chapel. When I was able to get the motivation I would often go to adoration. I found though that inside our church was better because I could cry freely there. Adoration often had too many people crammed into a small space. Find somewhere that you can be alone with the Lord and just pour your heart out over and over again.
- Get rid of facebook. Just do it! You dont need to see the babies. You dont need to see other people and their happy lives. Facebook became a huge downward spiral for me and eventually I deleted my account. I re-emerged 16 months later and I now can handle it, but back then-no way!
-Read every book I could get my hands on that had to do with pregnancy loss. I needed to hear that this had happened to others, that I wasnt alone. Under the resources tab on the top of my blog there is a page with recommended books-get them, read them, feel less alone.
-Make a scrapbook. I had a dear friend come stay with me for a week and together we made a scrapbook of pictures of Caleb. It was healing to be able to do something tangible to remember him. We also made one for both grandmas so they could remember him as well.
- Attend a support group. I found griefshare and it was perfect. I looked forward to it all week. I felt right at home and gained so much wisdom and healing from this group. Some of the secular support groups were a little too secular for me right away. I felt more encouraged by going to griefshare and hearing others who still believed in a God than hearing people at the secular support groups curse God. My point is- make sure the support group is right for you-that being said its good to go to two meetings before you decide to stop going.
-Dont think about the future. Whenever I would start to get anxious on what to do with my life I would try to pray a Hail Mary. God had made a promise in scripture that He would provide, so worrying would not help.
-Carry my Bible around with me everywhere. I needed to literally lean on the Word of God. I felt safe with it and it gave me the confidence to go to the store or get my hair cut. Just knowing it was in my purse and I could pull it out if I needed encouragement helped so much.
That is all I can remember for now. Hoping this helps give someone an idea of ways to stay busy and get through one day at a time, or one moment at a time. Praying for all those who are going through a loss.