The day we conceive, our body starts to undertake major changes in our hormonal system to support that pregnancy so we can deliver a healthy baby. That is why we experience so many overwhelming emotions when we are pregnant. We react to that hormone imbalance by being very happy, very sad or even very mad. I’ve experienced them especially in my first trimester. I could start crying for anything, or for nothing at all. I could be mad at everyone, or be ecstatic. Sometimes I couldn’t hold back the tears. I remember knocking over a cup of coffee by accident and crying about it for half an hour -at work-… Or coming home with the wrong type of spaghetti sauce and spend the rest of the evening weeping over it.
When you give birth to your baby, your body knows what to do. It kicks in the hormones that force your breasts to produce milk and it stops the production of all those hormones your body needed to sustain the pregnancy. All these fluctuations cause any woman to go from euphoric to sad to depressed within minutes. Let alone a mother that’s suffering the loss of her baby… The tragedy of losing a child is already so incredibly hard and overwhelming, and on top of that we need to deal with all those crazy and out-of-balance hormones that are dancing the holka polka throughout our bodies.
And somehow, I have survived. I watched my cycle kicking back in and a month after delivery I had my period, as if nothing happened. My body put everything back in balance, and I was left just with the grief (as if that isn’t enough right?). Somewhere around the first month after loss, I entered a stage of my grieving process where I was a bit more able to control my feelings. I could hold it together at times where I really could not afford to break (read: at work, at the bank, or in the supermarket). Some tears would fall of my cheeks once in a while, but I wouldn’t break down and cry inconsolably like I did in the private space of our home. This gave me the space I needed to face people, to interact with them, it gave me the space to resume my work.
When i went to my first checkup after loss, I was confronted with another setback… I needed to undergo surgery to remove the restants of the placenta that were still in my uterus. To physically heal correctly after the curettage, my doctor prescribed me birth control, for a month, so that my body could get the room to recover. I’m almost through that nasty strip, but the hormonal imbalance did have a tremendous impact on my body… AGAIN.
My doctor put me on birth control when I was 18 years old, for reasons beyond anti-conception. I was on the pill for 10 years. I had the blues at least once week, and thought that it was part of who I was, a very emotional, sensitive and pretty unsteady person. When I quit the pill to let my body restore to it’s natural cycles before trying to conceive, I found out that I wasn’t an unsteady person AT ALL. My once-in-a-week-let-me-cry-afternoons were suddenly gone. It were those pills that were messing up my hormonal balance and screwing me up emotionally. And I wasn’t imagining things, Frank, my family and close friends really noticed the change too. I promised myself never to use birth control again, and just rely on other methods instead. Finally I felt better. Finally I was the real me.
But then happened what had to happen, and when the doctor told me to take the pill, I immediately had second thoughts. I promised myself I would never ever take that filth again. She insisted, emphasising the importance of this medicine to ease and quicken my recovery, and since that was obviously my primary concern, I conceded and took the meds. I thought to myself, just one month won’t do the harm 10 years did right? Well… I was wrong. This pill is like a super dose, which is why just one month is sufficient. The first week was okay, but I got to week 2 and it’s being going downwards ever since. Now I’m finally finishing that strip in week 3, and I can tell you this: it is sooo hard! I can’t seem to control my feelings, emotions overwhelm me every single moment of the day, and my fears are getting bigger and even more crippling. I would throw it in the trash can immediately, but the benefits prevail at the moment, so I’m hanging in there, hoping it will soon be over, hoping I will never have to take them again.
Apart from the rant, what I would like to say is:
If you’re going through a loss, don’t be so hard on yourself. Apart from the terrible loss you’re experiencing, your body is going through a bunch of changes too, and that isn’t making things any easier for you. If you’ve been on birth control before, consider for a moment how you react to them. Some people can take birth control pills without experiencing any side-effects, but be aware that it is a possibility. And even if you don’t feel the side effects as strongly as I do, messing with your body’s natural hormones is not a good thing to begin with. So if you can avoid it, do so. Be kind to your body, be kind to yourself… Because getting through this is hard enough already…