Grief Doesn’t Bring Out The Best In Me

I’ve made an observation about myself. There are parts of our preemie journey that continue to fester like raw wounds. I can say, without a doubt, grief does not bring out the best in me.

Out of the blue, I was rude to someone after the preemie play date the other day. I am not proud of it.

As we preemie moms prepared to leave, another group of kids and a mother entered the play facility. I was struggling to put on Charlie’s socks. Frequently, one or all of her toes splay in an odd direction and they catch on the sock. I said to the other preemie moms, “If any of you have any tips on putting socks on spastic feet, I’m listening.”

After she eavesdropped, the new arrival non preemie mom incessantly babbled about her choice not to wear socks and to wear sandals. At least, I think that was her point. I wasn’t really listening. I was busy biting my tongue.

I wanted to yell, “Shut up, just shut up! Do you know how hard it is for us to find shoes to fit her tiny feet, hold her orthotics, AND provide the needed support? I wish she could wear sandals! I wish I didn’t even have to ask for sock advice!”

Instead, I was blunt and rude with my reply, “That won’t work for us, she has spastic diplegia.” That was my way of ending the conversation. I, immediately, felt ashamed afterwards for snapping.

My terse reply was not really due to anger. Nor, was it directed at that random mom. I was envious the woman got to dress her kids in cute sandals. I wanted to do the same. Additionally, I was saddened that Charlie is going to be two very soon and is still having issues. Mostly, my rudeness was due to grief.

Another example of this occurs anytime I visit or discuss Charlie’s first NICU (the open NICU). I cannot objectively discuss or visit that place. I am bitter towards it.

I’ve been asked by different organizations to volunteer in the NICU. I would love to help out but, I decline every time. While I can visit the hospital with no problems, the NICU is a different story. It sends me over the edge.

I become extremely irritable and upset by everything about the NICU. I know it’s not logical but it’s how I feel. However, I don’t have a problem with other NICUs. Just that particular one. I suppose it extracts grief I still harbor over my losses.

How do I handle these moments? Not very well. Nevertheless, I have come up with an idea of something I’m going to try in the future. Rather than get worked up or curt, I’m  going to take a breath and say, “I’m not ready for this conversation.”

Yes, it does sound like an odd thing to say. Especially, if it is a non sequitur (as it would have been if used in the sandal conversation). However, those who matter will understand. Besides, I’d rather be weird than unnecessarily rude to strangers.

This weekend, Charlie rode the Metro for her first time. Here she is with her dad.

This weekend, Charlie rode the Metro for her first time. Here she is with her dad.






About Rebecca Wood

In May 2012, my pregnancy ended three and a half months early due to severe early onset preeclampsia. This is my collection of thoughts and media. It is an attempt to document and discuss our experience of navigating the post NICU world. View all posts by Rebecca Wood

10 responses to “Grief Doesn’t Bring Out The Best In Me

  • Melanie

    I have different grief but the same snap. I’ll be good. be good. Then lose it on some unsuspecting stranger. Sigh. We are all works in progress.


  • J

    No, you are not the only one who snaps! I completely understand. Don’t be too hard on yourself about this… Unfortunately my remedy is to try to keep my mouth shut (doesn’t always work) and then eat lots and lots of chocolate. Not a good plan, I know.


  • Amber Perea

    Don’t beat yourself up. We’ve all snapped when were stressed. 😦


  • Karine

    Don’t ever say it’s not logical. It is very logical. Your (ours) reactions do make sens. An NICU can be so traumatic and the feelings unfortunately don’t go that easily. As a friend told me, grief is not linear. It’s cyclical. Big hug and please, forgive yourself. 🙂


  • findingcoopersvoice

    Don’t get mad at yourself for this. You are human. You did a good job biting your tongue when she first started talking! I snap quite frequently in situations like this. I totally get it.


  • steevbeed

    We have all been there, like MrT in the A-Team says “I pity the fool….”
    People who understand won’t care. People who don’t may learn something. For what it’s worth, I enjoy your blog – having been through a lot of the issues you write about I find it reassuring and inspiring at the same time. My son is not preemie but has multiple disabilities, it is often hard and feeling grief is part of the gamut of emotions you go through on a regular basis with an exceptional family member. Chin up!


  • Laura Martin

    From one preemie mom to another – I totally understand!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: