I had thought there were no words

Posted on July 9, 2007

I have not been on the blogs lately. I guess you can tell. I was inconsolable for many days after losing my baby, almost a week. I feel I did eventually make peace with it. I think maybe she left me with gifts, changes in both my attitude and my body. Changes for the better.

The universe was kind to me, overall. I had an appointment with my new psychiatrist and my counselor two days after I was discharged from the hospital. The psychiatrist immediately increased my meds. We talked longer than our alotted time and she was, I think, very supportive.

It turned out I had two side effects from the increase–a higher dose than I’ve ever been on, though it is considered a starting point for most people. My side effects were a loss of appetite and dry mouth. So I was eating less and drinking more water. So sad.

Seriously, if I could have picked any side effects those would be the ones I wanted.

I made a memory book of photographs we took at the delivery. I included our ultrasound photos and photos of the burial. Since her death, I am seeing (living) dragonflies everywhere. They fly to me and around my head. I wonder if they are a message from her. I picked an album with dragonflies and butterflies on the cover.

I thought I had done a quick recovery and was playing “it would have been worse if…” games with myself. it would have been worse if she’d been full term. It would have been worse if she’d been born and lived only a few days or weeks or months. It would have been worse if she’d been my first child. I’m quite good at those games, but they serve no purpose other than to keep me from feeling my grief.

So I turned to another better method. I am painting a (large) room in my house. It had been unusable before but I have fixed and repaired and sealed and am now painting. It will be a cheery yellow with white trim.

It occurred to me today after emailing a friend that painting this room is kind of like Jewish prayer. It is something for my body to do, moving and concentrating on something known and familiar. Just as reciting prayers is almost like a mantra, painting is something like a kata, repeating movements as in a martial art. Both free my creative and spiritual mind to contemplate Something Else.

I have thought of my daughter a great deal while painting. I almost feel as if this room will be one she and I will share. It is comforting.

I am still hopeful that we will have another baby. Meanwhile I work on getting healthy again.

Having mentioned healthy, I did have another depression, as my psychiatrist expected. It was much more mild and the worst lasted only one day. She increased my meds again a little bit to try and keep my depression cycles to a tolerable level. I have usually four a year: January, April, July, and October. The worst are always October and January and the psychiatrist thinks it may be related to SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. I am sure that the fact that there are many, many holidays in both months might play a part, too.

I am exercising, briskly walking two miles a day. My sleep is not so great. I wake at 4am and can’t get back to sleep for a couple of hours. My psychiatrist prescribed Lunesta but both times when I took it I woke with panic attacks and acute anxiety that lasted for a couple of hours, so no more Lunesta for me. I have lost 18 pounds in the past five weeks, which makes me happy. My blood sugar remains normal.

I am slowly unraveling my issues with my shul. I will save it for another post because it’s so involved.

It is still so hard to reach out, so hard not to isolate, so hard to feel. Thank G-d for medication. And good doctors. And good friends. And a place to share. And the words to begin to heal.


  1. Ayelet

    Rivka, good to hear from you again. Sounds like you’re working hard to stay strong. Good for you! Keep it up :).

  2. Unknown

    I’m very happy to see that you’re coming through this well. Continued hatzlacha, and chizki v’imtzi as well.

  3. Shira Salamone

    So painting is a bit like “shuckling,” swaying when you pray. If it works, and it does no harm, it’s good therapy.

    I hope you enjoy your new sun-colored room. Maybe that’ll work as “color therapy,” too.

    It’s a bummer that your sleep cycle is “off,” but I hope the walking is relaxing, at least.

    Good luck working out your issues at shul. Trying to come to some reasonable accommodation in terms of dealing with something so private in such a public place is a challenge, I imagine.

    “Thank G-d for medication. And good doctors. And good friends. And a place to share. And the words to begin to heal.” Amen. I’m keeping you on my mi-sheberach list, and hoping you’ll have a complete healing of spirit and body. If words help, keep writing.

  4. Scraps

    It is good to have an update from you. I’m glad to hear that you’re doing okay.

    Chizki v’imtzi…

  5. Rivka

    Thank you, Rafi.

  6. Rafi G.

    happy to hear you are doing better. stay strong..

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