Today marks three months since we ended our pregnancy. That means I’ve been without her for as long as she was growing inside me. I doubt anyone besides my husband is aware of this significance. And truthfully, I’m not even sure he’s aware of the date. It’s been awhile since we’ve talked about it, even though it looms over us every day. To everyone who said I will think about this baby every day — you were right. That has been my one constant during these past three months.
I remember when I was younger and I naively thought the worst that could ever happen to me in the way of loss would be a bad breakup. I once read an article that said it’ll take you about half the time of the relationship to get over the breakup. For example, a year relationship would take approximately six months to get over. It made sense to me back then, but by this logic, I should have been over this loss already. Grief doesn’t have time limits. It doesn’t have any rules, really. And this kind of grief is particularly tough. How do you grieve someone you’ve never met? How do you grieve something that was a part of you for months? How do you grieve something that was a direct result of a decision you made? These are questions I constantly ask myself and questions I may never know the answer to.
Anytime someone suggests we could soon try again for another baby, I have an overwhelming need to scream.
Every day is different. There are days that I laugh and get upset about really dumb things that I swore would never affect me after everything I went through. Those are the days I feel like myself, or rather the pre-pregnancy me. Unfortunately, those days are also few and far between. Most days, I still feel sad and scared. A loneliness settles into your body after the loss of your child. Being with good friends helps. So does working out. So does alcohol.
A few people have told me how brave I am for speaking out and telling my story. Even my therapist commented on how much of a risk taker I am. I don’t feel that way. Speaking out is a survival mechanism— a form of bloodletting, but with words instead of physical pain. I’ve been avoiding friends who are pregnant or who have newborns, and that doesn’t feel brave. I feel like a bad friend. A visit with my adorable nephew a few weeks ago left me bedridden for days. Anytime someone suggests we could soon try again for another baby, I have an overwhelming need to scream. These are the ugly parts no one wants to talk about.
And despite it all, time really does heal. The first few weeks after the surgery felt like a fog. I have no idea how I functioned at all looking back at it. The kindness of others and patience got me through. I’ve never been a patient person. I suppose that is one change for the better that happened as a result of all this. There’s also a lot of anger, which is a strange emotion for me. I’ve never been an angry or bitter person. I was a cheerleader, for pete’s sake! I think most people would immediately describe me as bubbly. I certainly wouldn’t describe myself like that now. When people ask how I am— even people I don’t know very well at all — I feel like I have to give the prerequisite, “Well, did you hear about what happened with my pregnancy” to explain why I seem so sad or out of it. Because here’s the truth: for better and for worse, I am a different person than I was three months ago. Grief is kind of like clay where every day, it can be molded into something different. I have no idea how it’ll manifest tomorrow, but that’s okay. Just like clay, it’s not permanent and that’s what helps me get through it.
*Originally published on Cornett’s blog, thirtyandtrying.com.
Joelle Cornett was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. While the rest of her family found success in steel and financial businesses, Joelle spent most of her childhood pounding away on an old typewriter. She has worked as an assistant and script coordinator for several shows including “Smallville,” “In Plain Sight,” “Lie to Me,” “Terra Nova,” “Emerald City,” “The Originals, and “Rise,” and worked as a development assistant to Josh Friedman, helping him develop pilots for 20th Century Fox and Universal Television. She created the web series “Cam Girls,” which placed in over 15 film festivals. Her play “Residual Fear,” based on her personal experience with pregnancy loss, was a Eugene O’Neill Semi-Finalist. She is currently, Joelle is a script coordinator for Apple’s upcoming “Foundation” and “Roswell NM” and is working on several spec pilots when she’s not chasing around her 2-year-old.