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Is it too late to be upset now?

(5 Posts)
belatedmaybe Wed 10-Jul-13 23:06:54

16 years ago I lost one of my twin girls. I was young and overwhelmed at the time but took the view that the first I knew of my having twins was losing one so I couldn't really miss what I had never had if you see what I mean? (Carrying twins was suspected but not confirmed at that point) I was upset but didn't really know how to react? My family never spoke about things like this and I never saw my Mum get upset about her miscarriages which, sadly, were regular sad

Anyway, getting to the point, over the last year I have started to think about my lost child more and more. I feel like I need to grieve. I feel like I need to be angry and sad and all those things that you would expect to go through. My dd is having a terrible time emotionally, depression, self harm etc and I can't help wondering if it would have been different if I hadn't lost her sister, I wonder if I failed her right back at the beginning.

Is it too late for me to feel these things now? Am I being self indulgent or a little bit crackers? I have thought about my child over the intervening years but have managed to keep it all tightly boxed in, that is becoming harder and harder now.

Devora Wed 10-Jul-13 23:17:39

I am sorry for your loss. Of course you are entitled to your grief. I don't think you need to justify it at all, but if it helps: you have probably spent years getting on with bringing up a small child and pushing back feelings that you didn't have time to process. It seems likely that your dd's current problems are raising lots of feelings of guilt and grief as you undergo another loss - the loss of the happy child your dd once was.

But it is probably not helpful to torture yourself with the thought that the loss of her sister has caused your dd's current problems. Which is not to say it may not be a contributory factor. But your living dd is her own person and you will probably help her and yourself more by staying in the present, really listening to what is going on for her right now.

It sounds as if both you and dd could benefit from some outside help, maybe some family therapy or counselling?

belatedmaybe Wed 10-Jul-13 23:42:50

Thank you for a sensitive and sensible reply Devora. Yes we are getting outside help for/with dd, school have been really good as have gp and local mental health team. You are quite right that it probably helps no one to try and pin the blame on something that could not have been helped. I guess it is a kind of mother guilt thing - trying to make everything my fault!

I would like to get the loss and grief out but I honestly think people would think I was losing the plot if I tried to talk about it now! Maybe professional support is the way to go, even if it just allows me to air the feelings? Do you have any ideas who would be good at this kind of thing?

Devora Thu 11-Jul-13 00:33:11

They probably would, yes. I am constantly staggered by how many people minimise and dismiss the loss of a child. But you will find lots of people here who will understand and be willing to listen. It's a bit late to reach many people here now, but you could try the bereavement threads?

I also think that the Miscarriage Association is worth a try. Do you know them?

I hope I didn't sound dismissive of your linking your loss with your dd's current problems. Our reaction to these things is always personal. I won't go into details here, but as a child I was seen as some kind of - not reincarnation, that's too strong, but kind of inheritor of a family member who died in very traumatic circumstances. It wasn't till my 20s that I fully twigged what was going on with this, and asserted my right to be my own person. So I was probably a bit steeped in that when I reacted to you. But of course your family is not my family, and I am sure it would be good for you to fully explore your feelings and your dd's feelings about this.

Incidentally, I lost an unborn child over 30 years go and it was a huge source of grief. I still think about that child. So I absolutely don't think you're being self-indulgent.

belatedmaybe Thu 11-Jul-13 01:17:34

I don't know the miscarriage association but I will look them up, thank you. I suspect many people just can't think how to deal with another person's trauma so simply don't. I know it took 30 years and a divorce before my Mum realised that my Dad was upset by the miscarriages they suffered. He didn't know how to deal with her pain so never let her see his. For all that time she thought he didn't even want the children when reality was he still thought/wondered about them regularly.
No not at all dismissive, I genuinely have no idea how much a twin would know of a twin lost before birth (I guess no one does) I do wonder but you are right it is of no practical help to go down that route so best concentrate my energy more effectively. Goodness knows I have none to spare at the minute!
I am not aware that I treat dd a different way because of any of this but now you have pointed out the possibility I will watch out for it. We often do things we aren't conscious of till someone mentions them.
One of the things that has struck me is that dds major issue is that she finds it terribly hard to articulate her thoughts/feelings, she tends to bury things until crisis point. .. which sounds remarkably similar to my situation now I have written all this out. What is strange is that I would have said the opposite, I am very good at telling people how I feel but perhaps that is not quite true.
I am sorry to hear of your loss Devora. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about mine.

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