I had a terrible day today. A lot of things happened that transported me all the way back to the day my OB told me were going to lose our daughter, that she was never going to live, that she would never grow up, learn to walk, go to school, play with her friends, fall in love, or have children of her own. That intense raw pain that I felt in those early days came knocking on my door again, and I found myself standing still in a world of movement again. I was trying to find a way out of that excruciating pain that was chocking me as I relived those terrible moments.
I’ve allowed myself to grieve, be sad, be mad, not understand, ask “why me” and be sorry for myself all day. But I knew I had no choice but to get out of there again, and I had to do so as soon as I could, because it only gets harder to do so. This led me to ask myself: How do we survive such a pain? How does our body keep working when our heart and mind gives up? How does our mind keep signalling our body so it knows what to do?
I came across this quote somewhere browsing the web today and it really made me think:
If you don’t believe in miracles, perhaps you’ve forgotten you are one
And this is so true. Our body works in mysterious ways. Our body, our mind, they are all miracles. I remember the moment my OB told us about Sahar’s condition really well. I went into complete psychological shock. I really felt I stood outside of my body, just looking at everything from a distance. My husband stood there in that room, broken, crying, and I didn’t even know how to comfort him. I couldn’t even cry. I couldn’t do anything at that time.
The medical world calls this phenomenon an acute stress reaction and the symptoms completely fit what I felt at that moment:
The symptoms show great variation but typically include an initial state of “daze“, with some constriction of the field of consciousness and narrowing of attention, inability to comprehend stimuli, and disorientation.
The symptoms usually appear within minutes of the impact of the stressful stimulus or event, and disappear within 2–3 days (often within hours). Partial or complete amnesia for the episode may be present.
That daze didn’t go away until I woke up during that night from a nightmare, which is when I realized that it wasn’t all just a dream, this was all real, it was all happening. That’s when I truly broke down for the first time. I realized that this was my life, this was our loss, and I would have to live with that for the rest of my life.
I realize that my body reacted that way to protect my sanity at that time, to protect me from myself, from the trauma and the pain our loss caused, from the earliest and rawest pain of heartbreak. Our minds are not designed to endure such a terrible trauma, which is why your body protects you by just killing all unnecessary processes and letting only the basics run. You could compare it to running Windows in safe mode.
If you ask anyone how they would get through a loss like this, they would say: I couldn’t survive. I would have said the same thing. And now I’m looking back at three months living this life after loss, and I’m amazed that I am still standing. That I am still alive. That I have actually survived. And I have a lot of people to thank for that, but in the first place, I have to thank my body for it. I thank it for shutting down when it had to, for protecting me and for activating that survival mechanism that just keeps us going in the worst times of our lives.