Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Grief Cycle Part 1: Denial

We've all heard of it.  We've all been through it at least one if not twice or three times.  Sometimes about the same thing.  But sometimes it's hard to tell what it looks like.  I know I didn't realize what I had been doing for the past three years until I was smack dab in the middle of the fourth step.  But suddenly, there I was, in a room of birthmothers staring at the grief cycle all laid out in simple terms and I realized what had been going on.  So, I thought I might share with you what the grief cycle looked like to me.

Denial.  I know it well.  And right after my son was born, I was smack dab in the middle of it.  Going through pregnancy is painful unto itself.  Childbirth?  Don't even get me started.  But then watching my son be put in another car to ride off with his adoptive parents?  Completely blew every pain I had had to date out of the water.  It was too much.  It was literally too much to handle.  I didn't know how to handle it.  I didn't know if I could handle it.  We are all very lucky that I was living with my parents at the time, because had I not been there, I can guarantee you that I would have been diving to the bottoms of various bottles for a long while.  But I was with my parents.  And they watched me very closely and carefully.

I had to have a c-section after two days of labor, so I got the benefit of Vicodin pills for a while.  I have had an on-again off-again romance with Vicodin before.  And because of that, I am very careful about the point where I'm taking them to numb the pain and when I'm taking them because I want to be numb.  The OB/GYN offered to prescribe me more, but I refused.  The regular doctor also offered to prescribe me more, but I refused again.  I got to the end of the bottle of pills and was able to get about with a few ibuprofen.  So I was satisfied.  But now I needed something else to make my numb.

Enter Netflix.  That wonderful time consumer of all time that you didn't even know existed.  I watched three or four whole runs of shows.  I watched movies of all kinds.  I re-watched whole runs of shows.  I re-watched movies of all kinds and some that I didn't even know existed until I saw them.  I discovered shows I never knew existed.  For the entire rest of July, I allowed myself to eat, take pills, watch Netflix, toodle about on the computer, do odd jobs for my father like organize his documents into well-labeled folders, and find new recipes to cook for my parents on the one night of the week my mother worked late.

The vast majority of my day was spent finding ways to occupy my time so I wouldn't have to think about the monstrous amount of emotional pain that I was in and the fact that sooner or later, preferably sooner, I was going to have to face it all and deal with it.  And this was how I spent the next year.  I got a job.  I got a better job.  I got into grad school.  I moved out of my parents' house.  And then... my boyfriend, the biological father of my child, broke up with me.  It was more a matter of distance and time than anything else.  And he is still my best friend and confidant to this day.  But that was about the time that my denial ended and my anger started.  And that will be covered in next week's entry.

To all who are in the first tender stages of placing for adoption.  I know exactly where you are and I know exactly where you have been.  So do a lot of women on this site.  However you escape into your denial, be it as simple as Netflix or a more serious and harmful route, know that you will never get any judgments from me about it.  I understand.  I understand every which way that one can slip away from the world and try to deny everything.  And I hope none of you take this as a judgement, but to those who are on a more serious and harmful route, without condoning it, I do understand it.  If you have taken one of the more harmful routes, I do beg of you to get help.  There are fantastic groups out there to help you and there are people there who know what it is like.  Please don't ever think that you are alone in this or that no one will understand you.  There are people who understand and you should never feel like you need to go at this alone.  My love and prayers and thoughts are with all of you, no matter where you are.


  1. Netflix was a lifesaver for me too it was on 24/7. I watched all 10 seasons of king of the hill like 4 times it helped at night when everyone was sleeping and I was having a bad night

    1. I think I went through all the BBC Sherlock Holmes episodes with Jeremy Brett about ten times. Also did a lot of that at night when there was no one else awake.