I’m pretty sure that I have PTSD. I know that’s a serious thing to say, but I know it to be true.
When we were at Meijer today I had to walk past the baby stuff and I felt hot and shaky. The feelings have been here since I lost her, but I think that I’m finally able to notice them and what they are related to. I’m able to see past the grief and recognize other feelings; Anxiety, extreme sadness, fear, guilt, terror all related to the loss of Kenley, and all things surrounding her.
I see diapers and I can immediately picture her closet full of diapers; the dresser set up waiting for a baby that will never come.
I found an article written by Lindsey Henke on Still Standing’s website; here is a snippet from the article in which she discusses her PTSD symptoms (and just for the record, I agree with and feel 100% of these things she discusses…):
A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both the following are present:
1. The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with a pregnancy that ended abruptly, never began, or resulted in the death of their unborn child.
2. The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror as they were forced to intensely participate in the birth of their dead child, which also resulted in the demise of their hopes and dreams.
A. The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced in one (or more) of the following ways:
1. Recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the delivery or loss of pregnancy and child.
2. Nightmares of the event or associated nightmares such as: of your husband now dying, your dog dying, future babies you do not have dying, and horrific things happening that you did not dream of before the event.
3. Flashbacks to the moment when you heard the words, “No Heartbeat” and “I’m sorry your baby is dead” from doctors and nurses.
4. Intense psychological and physiological distress and reactivity at exposure to triggers from the event and reminders of not having the child you planned for (i.e. exposure to hospitals, living babies, pregnant women, the empty nursery, your own menstrual cycle, and even car seats make your heart race.)
A. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and emotional numbing including:
1. Efforts to avoid thoughts (of your baby and the way it was supposed to be), feelings (sad, anxious, guilt, grief, anger, confusion, despair, etc.), conversations about the event (“How’s the baby?” is the worst. I try to avoid that one all the time.).
2. Efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma (baby showers, your doctor’s clinic, ultrasounds, friend’s newborn babies, pregnant women, thinking about getting pregnant again…I could go on).
3. Feeling detached and estranged from others – Ah, Yeah! Especially from people whose pregnancies result in living children.
4. Sense of a fore shortened future – YES! Thinking – “My child didn’t live, why should my life be all of the sudden guaranteed.”
A. Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the loss):
1. Difficulty falling or staying asleep – Who sleeps well after knowing the worst can really happen to them and has.
2. Irritability – Having a short fuse because life has played a cruel joke on you.
3. Difficulty focusing – On anything but your own grief.
A. Duration of experience is more than 1 month. – Yup! I have a feeling it will be a lifetime.
B. Causes clinically significant distress or impairment of everyday functioning. – Yes! Your life is never the same, people at work think you should get over it but you can’t focus, your relationship struggles in ways you never thought it would, and even doing a simple task like going to Target is impossible because you cry every time you walk by the baby section.
So so so much that last sentence. Holy hell. I cannot even step foot into a Target. That is where I got pretty much 80% of all Kenley’s things. Her clothes, her diapers, her wipes, her lotions, her socks, her onesies, the outfits I bought just FIVE DAYS before she died.
And honestly? I’m afraid I never will be able to go there again. I’m so scared of this being an ever lasting feeling. I hate feeling this way. I hate missing my daughter so much instead of holding her.
I hate seeing babies who are her age. I feel angry. I feel wronged.
I just feel straight up fucking sad; there is no other way to describe it.
I’m sad without my daughter and I’m afraid (read: almost certain) that feeling will be here forever.