Grief in Reality and Fiction

I have finally caught up and finished watching the last few episodes of “Call the Midwife” – Did you see it? Wasn’t it brilliant, funny, emotional and heart warming all rolled into one? I Love It.. Yes really.

As its on a Sunday and Sundays are a busy day for us and we don’t tend to watch TV, I have looked forward to catching up on it later in the week. Unfortunately some weeks also end up being crazy busy and I have missed out, but finally I found time last week and then last night to catch up on the previous 4 episodes – eeeeeeek!

Many have been very surprised to find out that I watch Call the Midwife and even more so at how much I enjoy watching it (because of course when you’ve so recently lost your baby why would you watch a programme about pregnancy and birth…for fun/entertainment?). Well the initial answer is “I watch it because I enjoy it” and the more complex answer would be the fact that I find grief surfaces and exhibits itself differently in reality and in fiction.

I have always enjoyed call the Midwife and it used to be a little tradition that Nath and I had to watch it together weekly. Whilst I have continued it during this series, he has felt he can’t watch it (which is fine) and so its usually late at night when I catch up or when he is out. I felt nervous and questioned watching the Christmas spec but I decided to take the plunge and surprisingly didn’t feel emotional or regretful for this choice. After that I became confident that it was safe for me and wouldn’t be a trigger for grief. When you are grieving I have found it good to note times, things, places, people that seem to trigger it off and then be on guard next time or avoid it all together. Grief can be VERY disabling at times and so to be aware and plan helps me A LOT.

This series has covered several topics close to home, the biggest being the story of the African couple that had twins and one was stillborn… several family members warned me that I might not want to watch it but me being me choose to and again I didn’t regret it, nor did I cry (surprisingly) at that part either, I did choke up, related to the actress but in my mind it wasn’t real, it was just acting. What’s more is that I found myself saying “yup that’s what happens” and “oh that’s what my baby was like” – in some way’s that is very sad that that is my life, my story and the way I see things, in others I guess it’s good that my mind has disconnected the emotion and can distinguish the difference between reality and “just a story”. Its very much the same with many films I watch where birth is involved; I seem to tell my brain its just acting and that tells me emotions and I don’t have a melt down at the sight of it. I like that for the hour each week I sit down for my Call the Midwife sess or when I watch a film that I feel me again! I feel normal, I find Joy in something I found Joy in previous to becoming a bereaved mother and the most surprising emotion – I feel happy at birth again! I can smile and find Joy in new babies, expectant parents and pregnancy.  This is fiction and this part of me isn’t found in reality, because in reality the mention or sight of a baby (let alone birth) talks and announcements of pregnancy tug inside, fill me with anxiety and sometimes choke me with emotions so strong that it resurfaces the deepest of pains in my heart and soul. It pains me in every part of my body and makes me yearn for Poppy, makes me wish I could have had longer with MY baby and that she was still here now…6 months old and weaning!

I don’t want to feel this, I certainly do not or would not ever choose to have a day so dark or emotional as when they come. I don’t always want to think about it and sometimes I wish for a day I didn’t but how can you not remember a baby you carried for 9 months? I don’t relive every moment but I know I will never forget birthing my 2nd daughter and knowing she was silent or kissing her teeny head for the very last time as I laid her to rest, then carrying her casket  with my husband to the graveside. This is my reality. This was the birth of my grief and whilst my heart is healing (slowly) and my life is getting back on track, the only babies I really find joy in are those in fiction and the only mothers I will never feel an element of jealousy towards will be those on the screen. You see babies in real life bring with them pain, they remind me what I don’t have here and so I am grateful that I do and can still find Joy in some of the things I used to, that there are times babies still make me happy and that for the last few weeks I have been me again at least for that hour!

Thank You Call the Midwife for restoring a portion of sanity to a grieving mother… even if on the surface it seems a little odd!
p02gcyjn                                                                          Image Courtesy of BBC website

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