Twice today my arms have hung limp, and wouldn’t move, no matter how much I willed them to. I couldn’t blame them, and envied them somehow; their limpness, their ability to just go “enough.”
But it’s not that, not really. Both times had been after half an hour of crazy hysterical grief. Me curled up, cradling myself because I can’t cradle the babies like I want to, and I just sobbed until I felt empty; right down to my stomach I felt hollow and raw. Afterwards, my arms hung limp.
But during the half hour of grief I’d been thinking what use are my arms now? Their job is simply to hold my baby. That soft crease by my elbow is where her head should lay as I cradle her safely from this cruel world. Her head should lay there and we should be watching each other, silently showing our powerful bond. She should be feeling my gentle heartbeat and be soothed by it, and I should feel her warmth in my arms. Her beautiful warmth and baby softness and that newborn baby smell. Her precious innocence, and my job to protect. My arms have the most important job in the world, to cradle her and rock her, hold her when she’s scared, comb her hair gently whilst she sleeps, hold her hand as she walks, catch her as she stumbles, carry her…all of this relies on my arms. What an important job for my arms, but now they’re useless because none of my babies survived. I was so crap at my job that most weren’t held – too small – and the rest were held just for a short while. My arms are useless. My arms should be cradling but they can’t because I failed each and every one of them. So now my arms have no use.
And so my arms hung limp. Somehow this deep thought process had attached itself to my arms, and they certainly were useless. I didn’t care. I probably should have been alarmed but I understood. They sympathised with my feelings of being a failure, and sympathised with my feelings of having no strength or energy. They agreed with me that they were useless now, because their simple job had been stolen from them. They sympathised with my feelings of worthlessness, and for that I was grateful. I was grateful that my arms could show me their sympathy… that they too grieved for my babies, that they too hung limp as the grief consumed them, that they too felt entirely lost now. I felt a dull pain in my abdomen, deep inside me. Yes…you carried each of them and now you’re empty and the job wasn’t done right. Are you grieving too? Do you still feel ghost-kicks? Do you feel my pain? Of course you do…we were in this together and we both fucked up.
Sometimes I feel like they’re all trapped inside me. I can feel them in my chest trying to scream. They just want to scream. This huge pressure builds up over my heart, pushing my ribcage out and to breathe in is nearly impossible. The fear. I can feel their fear, their pain, their need and wish to just be held by my arms which hang limp. Oh my poor little ones…I feel you so trapped and I wish I could free you. This grief which locks itself in my chest and fools me into believing they’re close, and trapped…and their fear and screams build up, and the grief rears it’s head and snarls at me. Then it all explodes. The pressure is too much and my body needs oxygen. Just like when a newborn screams for air, I collapse on my knees and scream. I scream like the newborns do because it was their screams trapped inside me. The memories of their first gasps, building up inside me and grief licking it’s lips hungrily as I break, every single time, and try to free my body of the trapped screams, and let my babies go. Then I realise I’m letting them go and I’m scared to, and I halt my scream. I forcibly gag myself, holding the scream back in. Oh Jade what kind of a mother are you, halting their cries just so you can keep them, even though it causes you such pain? I’m just not ready to let go yet, as grief well knows, as grief mocks me and lets the pressure build up once more. In a few hours I’ll be collapsing and screaming again, and so the cycle continues.
In the hours between the explosions, the grief holds back a bit. Spits us back out; me and my body. Our tired, wretched remains. The grief is like a cat and we are the mouse. The grief plays with us, toys with us and entertains itself by watching us try to stumble onwards when we think we’ve finally escaped. But then just as we’re together again to function half-normally, the grief laughs and pounces on us, digging it’s sharp claws into my heart once more, leaving me a broken wreck on the floor heaving with tears, and my arms limp by my side.
Oh grief…how long must this game continue…will you ever grow bored?
I may not have my babies but I’m still a parent. I worry about each of them every day: will they be too cold? Are they lonely? Are they scared? They need me…they need their mum and I’m stuck in this stupid hellish place. Is there anyone to hold them when they cry? Is there anyone to make them laugh? Is there anyone to sing them to sleep? Is there anyone with better arms than my own to cradle them?
Grief, I hate you. I absolutely hate you. The professionals all tell me you’re needed and that this rawness is all part of the process now that I’m not still trying to deny it all. But I can’t understand how I could possibly need you. How could I possibly need anything that leaves me an inconsolable mess with limp arms, no babies, and no joy? How could I possibly need something that consumes me so, that eats at me every day, that fills my heart with bitter sorrow so even the most beautiful moments are tainted? How can anyone need that? I need those that were stolen from me, my precious little ones…that’s all I need and all I can never have.
Instead I got lumped with you. And even my arms have had it now. When will this end….