As I wrote above, I knew I’d have to get help.
I went back to Roni, my therapist. I spent a good number of years in therapy with him before the stillbirth. Going back to him felt like going home. I had gone through so much since I started seeing him in May 2001. He was always there for me, helping me through all the pain. I knew that our meetings would help me to heal.
During the first month of our meetings, I would sit down, cry for 50 minutes, and leave. This is what I wrote after my first session with him:
“One meeting with my favourite psychologist released everything. 50 minutes of tears, from the moment I sat down until the moment I got up. My soul was crying about my empty, baby-less arms. About the fact that my body is after birth but there’s no baby around. My arms sometimes feel as though they suffer from phantom pain, I can feel what I have lost and it is anguish.
I cried about the fact that my baby died before she was born, no matter how many times I write it or say it- it is unbelievable! I wanted her to live! Never in my mind did I think there was any other way.
And I had one secret wish, that maybe, my baby girl would bring a fragment of my mother back to me.”
The sorrow and crying washed so many other things out. But these meetings with Roni framed my mourning process, not because I needed to hold back but because I also needed to live.
After the first session, I slept six hours straight, for the first time in months.
For the first time since the stillbirth, I started eating better and I could feel various tastes. After the stillbirth everything tasted the same, it was all stale. Most importantly, I started dreaming about people who are, to me, symbols of joy, creation, love for life and optimism.
These signs from the subconscious were so important. They gave me proof that my strength was still with me, that it had never left.
During the second month we started talking more (and I cried less), processing and re-living this whole experience again and again, each time on different levels. This was not easy, because Roni is a very thorough psychologist.I found that it was necessary if I want to heal and fully recover. I already knew this to be true from my past experiences with Roni. I went to see him for three months. I felt I could go on without the sessions after three months. Another good sign.
As I was going to my therapist, I also went to acupuncture sessions. I studied Chinese Medicine, my day job was and still is helping practitioners in their professional journey. I felt that my body needed help to heal as well, not just my heart and soul. Chinese Medicine and philosophy offer a helpful point of view on life, which helps me live my life better.
Writing about my experience helped me a lot. At that time I had a mommy blog in Hebrew and I posted parts of my writing there. Writing in my own journal was very healing, but posting to the blog, using Facebook to share it and knowing that there are people out there that read my writing, was liberating on a very deep level.
I had been writing for many years, either on a blog or a journal. For me, writing was a powerful contributing factor to my healing process.
One day, a man contacted me through Facebook. He wrote that he was very moved by what I wrote and that he and his wife went through stillbirth a few years back as well. His wife contacted me a few days later. We wrote to each other a little bit and then she offered to meet with me. I, of course, agreed.
There was something about meeting a woman who went through the same thing that felt as though someone had lit up a candle in my very dark heart. I saw a woman who went through all the anguish, grief and sadness I did, and now, here she was, having a great life, filled with laughter and joy. I wanted that too!
In other words, I had living proof that I could recover from this and I could have more pregnancies in my future.
There was hope.
One other thing that helped me through the later stages of healing was a project, that when I look at it now, was literally occupational therapy.
Shahar was about to celebrate his 4th birthday. Planning this event started buzzing in my head, mainly because I have decided I would jump at any reason to celebrate and Shahar’s birthday was the best reason to celebrate.
I found a website called Bakerella, which introduced me to Cake Pops. But what really got my attention were Cupcake Pops. They looked magical, joyful and fun. So I decided I would make them for my son’s birthday.
I had rehearsals, trial runs, I converted measurements, a friend sent me ingredients from the USA… the Cupcake Pops project kept me busy for hours and days.
The result was very satisfying: 43 Cupcake Pops, each hand made by me and they were perfect for everyone; for Shahar, for the kids at the party, and for myself.
This little project helped me as a distraction, but also with finding pure joy, which was something I needed more and more in my life.
You can download my full story here.