About a week ago, my husband told me someone he knew had pulled him aside and made a comment that had really upset him, regarding my pregnancy. I was equally as upset by it when he told me. You see, this person had decided that not only was their judgement of us worth having, it was worth saying.
After asking Justin how he was doing, Justin explained that as we near Phoenix’s due date, new anxieties and triggers have developed for him. This persons response? To overstep and say “I don’t know what you guys were thinking having another. There’s another choice you could have made.”
Alright. Let’s just think about all the ways this was wrong and incredibly disrespectful. So many boundaries were overstepped, it’s almost too preposterous to address. Let me be frank. Our intimate life, and our personal choices are nobody else’s damn business. Not one iota of a single thing we choose for ourselves as a couple is of deserved concern of anyone. However, I am choosing to be upfront about this subject because clearly some have little consideration of it and it’s important for the bereaved to be better understood.
Intimacy after the loss of a child is an extremely difficult experience to approach. The grief, anxiety, and depression that overtake many in loss deeply affects their interest in even the most typical everyday tasks and happenings. Even further, it affects desire, for affection, romance, and intimacy. These things in most cases, are often lost in the shuffle of the trauma for bereaved parents. There’s no right or wrong here, but I can really only speak to my own experience which was the aforementioned. Now, for some, the opposite is the case. More intimate interaction is needed to help them cope or forget. This is okay too.
It took two months for us to reach a point where we could see through the fog of our loss. Before either of us were able to navigate the idea of physical affection or intimacy again. Even still, there were feelings that held us back. Guilt, confusion, shame. The constant chime of “How could I possibly want that when I just lost a child?!” In our minds. It’s an internal struggle even we find difficulty in understanding.
The one and only time in two months, that we lost ourselves in a moment and let ourselves be normal human beings even briefly, resulted in a pregnancy. It wasn’t expected, it wasn’t planned. This wasn’t even something we thought possible due to my past infertility, and Sloan having only been conceived once I was on fertility meds. This was a shock, creating new anxieties, new fears, and new elements to our grief. It was terrifying, but neither of us could deny how much of a miracle this was, and whether we were ready wasn’t going to matter.
With everything we’ve been through, yes, perhaps we could have chosen another option. I’m in support of that choice for all. However, In reality, expecting us to have ended this pregnancy is expecting us to have put ourselves through yet another loss. It’s telling us to throw ourselves even further into the dark, to pile on more grief, more longing, more ache. How is that justified? A child after loss is a light in darkness, they are hope, joy, and healing. Phoenix’s existence has and will continue to help us to find a normal again. Patronizing us for any part of that, or what lead to it, is only a reflection of another persons lack of humanity.