Friday, August 21, 2009

Bellies

Placing my hands on my belly is how I connected to my babies when I was pregnant. I would find myself doing it without even realizing it. I placed my hands on my belly when I wanted to talk to the baby. It was my way of saying “I know you’re there, and I’m here for you.” It was also an instinctive protective measure. Somehow, I believed that placing my hand on my belly was keeping the baby safe.

I received many acupuncture treatments during my most recent pregnancy. I began those treatments believing they would make me healthier and ensure the baby received the necessary nourishment. My acupuncturist, a wonderful man who has supported me through some difficult times, was skilled at detecting the baby’s heartbeat. He told me several times that he could clearly tell the baby was alive. He believed the baby was a girl, and I chose to believe him. I remember one treatment in particular where I placed my hands on my belly and felt the baby. I distinctly felt a presence other than my own, and it was a tremendous feeling of connection. It wasn’t her heartbeat I felt. It was something more than that…it was her energy, her life force. I asked her to keep growing and staying strong. I told her I couldn’t wait to meet her. She died a couple of weeks after that.

I haven’t comfortably rested my hands on my belly since then. Lying in my yoga class, receiving an acupuncture treatment or a massage, times when I would naturally lie with my hands folded on my belly…I can’t do it. It is too painful. I find myself starting to place my hands on my belly, and then I move them because it doesn’t feel right. When my husband touches me there, I cringe. It’s as if my belly isn’t part of my body anymore – it’s a separate entity, distinctly different from the rest of me. Its existence to me is only as a womb. M womb is rejecting my babies, so maybe I’m rejecting my womb. I can’t reconcile myself to the fact that it serves more purposes to me than that.

This issue of mine is probably why I react so strongly when I see a pregnant woman place her hands on her belly. I want that feeling back so badly for myself that I recoil with physical pain. I will her to stop, to move her hands, to stop taunting me, stop torturing me with her healthy pregnancy. I want to feel happy for her, to reach back four years ago when I was pregnant with Tyler to understand how she feels, but it’s hard. I hope to reach that place of empathy and compassion eventually. In the meantime, I can only take it one day, one hand, at a time.

2 comments:

The Blue Sparrow said...

I found your blog through the baby loss directory page and I hope you dont mind my following you. I just read your bellies post. I just lost my son Bryston on the 24th of last month to stillbirth so I understand the whole belly issue. Im going through it myself. If you happen upon a way to avoid this let me know, will ya;)

Christa said...

Like you said Cynthia, just take it day by day. I can totally relate to what you are saying as I've been there myself before. I thought I would never get to the point of being able to be happy for a pregnant woman, or at least not sad for myself when I see them. But here I am today, at that place I never thought I would be. I did need therapy to get to this place, but it was well worth the time and money. I haven't felt this calm since losing Zachary 2 years ago. So give yourself some time, and try not to be so hard on yourself. Seek out help if it is starting to consume you like it was me. I'm really glad you are talking about these things though. My therapist helped me see how important it is to communicate our problems rather than internalize them. ((Big Hug))) I'm here to listen, keep it up.

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