This is from a journal prior to going back to work:
I have been off on a 17 week mat leave (it is so cruel to call it that) and now it is time for me to go back to work. My first shift is Jan 24th. The thing that complicates it is that I am a Labour and Delivery nurse.
Just the thought of going back sometimes brings me to tears. How am I supposed to support and care for my patients when they are going through what I had and lost? How will I not cry? How will I not be jealous?
And what am I supposed to say when I get asked "Do you have kids" I can't exactly say yes, but I lost him when I was pregnant. That will just freak them out, and I don't want to say no - b/c I did! The best thing I have come up with is to say yes, and that he was born too premature to survive and hope not to cry and change the subject. Not everyone asks, but I want to be prepared in case they do.
I thought about taking more time off, but I need something to do, I am going crazy doing nothing...and we want to buy a house soon so I want to start working so we can do that.
This is my job, and normally I love it. I don't see myself working anywhere else so switching jobs is not really an option.
To top it all off - My due date is coming up too. I am not scheduled to work on that day, so that is good. But all of this combined is overwhelming and it really sucks.
Sigh...I just don't know what to do. I think I am just scared of how I am going to handle this all - I think I might end up crying all day.
How I coped with going back to work:
At first it was incredibly hard, but I was surrounded by some amazing people. I did have a lot of breakdowns and hard a really hard time, but I never felt alone.
As time went on I started to see a different counselor and she was great. She specialized in grief and helped me more than she will ever know. She helped me understand that grief was a long process and at any given time it could come back in like a tidal wave and knock me back to my feet again.
When people ask me if I have kids I answer them by saying, yes. I had a son named Jackson, but he was born too premature to survive. I then say it was the hardest thing I have ever been through, but being back here at work gives me hope. Then I try to change the subject b/c I don't want pity, nor do I want to take away from their birth experience. I often say we are trying again and that seems to make it better.
I have really found myself drawn to talking with women who have had similar experiences. Early or late losses I am able to talk to them and really understand what they are feeling. At first I thought it was going to be too hard to talk to them, but once I did I found it therapeutic for both of us. I was able to talk to them and connect with them on a level that no one else was. I could warn them of the hard things to come, but at the same time let them know I made it through it too. I have been lucky enough to have formed some great friendships with women who I have supported through losses and babies after having had a loss.
I didn't want anything good to come out of losing Jackson, b/c I felt if something good came out of it then maybe somehow it was worth it, and if there was anyway I could have him back I would in a heartbeat - but I can't...and I have come to accept that something positive has come from it and I am okay with that. One day, when I am stronger I would love to do something with the bereavement program at work. There are a few who are really good at it, but for the most part people don't know how to act or what to say. One day I really hope to chance that.