when a black girl goes to therapy...

[ photo credit: for me, for you ]
There are moments when I'm in the middle of writing a post and then I think, "I'm sharing way too much" and will then proceed to erase everything. I would like to think that one of the reasons you read my blog is because of my honesty (although I generally try to keep things light around here), but sometimes I think I may be putting a little too much out there. This post in particular is one that I'm on the fence about, but I do believe that I'll be hitting the Publish button for a few reasons. Since my daughters passing, I've received emails for some of you who have been through similar situations or know someone who has (or is currently going through it). As a woman, the worst thing that could ever happen to you, is to loose a child or have a pregnancy come to a tragic end due to miscarriage, preterm labor or stillbirth. After my own loss, women I know have opened up to me about their own situations - some of these women are those who I've known my whole life that I'd never knew this about prior. My co-worker shared with me that her daughters friend recently lost her baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome at 3 months old - another friend lost twins 7 months along in her pregnancy - a woman I know lost her first two babies, one a miscarriage at six months, and the second went full term but was still born, before she went on to having three more children. Another woman I know can't get pass being two months pregnant, she miscarries at that point every single time. Someone else I know gave birth to a stillborn little girl, and has yet to recover from it 14 years later.

There are couples who have lost their marriages over this. One woman pulled me aside and with a stern look in her eyes she told me, "Don't forget about your husband because he is hurting too. When that happened to me, I forgot about mine." - she is currently divorced, and from that statement, I safely presumed that her loss of pregnancy was at least part of the reason. During a recent conversation with my pastor he asked how this was affecting our marriage - because it does have an effect on your marriage. In my case, loosing Jolie has brought my husband and I even closer together, if that was even possible. I have such greater respect and love for the man I married and although I believed in his love for me before, I can say without a shadow of doubt that he loves me. I was not in the right state of mind after this initially happened he made sure to never leave my side when I was in the hospital - not to go home and shower, not to eat and even slept in the hospital bed with me every night despite how uncomfortable that was for him.

Despite all the support I have from my husband, my friends and my family, it's become clear to me that I may need additional help. A few weeks ago I went to the hospital to pick up a picture of Jolie that I'd been waiting on for what seemed like forever. It didn't go very well. Let's just say that I wasn't allowed to look at the photo for a while after that, and when I did look at it again a few weeks later - it was completely different from what I saw initially, or rather, what I thought I saw. Granted, I have a picture of Jolie on my cell phone - it doesn't bother me at all. Whenever I think about her, I look at the picture and I smile. But in the new photo I've received, all I see is a dead baby. I got so angry the first time I saw it - angry at the nurse for bringing me this picture, angry at the person who took the picture, angry at myself - I was not well.

During that visit to the hospital, the nurse referred me to someone after seeing what kind of state I was in...I'm sure she thought I was a nut job. I'm going to my first appointment tomorrow. I don't know what to expect. Am I gonna have to lay down on a chaise and purge my feelings? Is she going to think I'm crazy and have me committed into a psych ward? What kind of questions will she ask me? Is this even going to help? Who the heck is this lady anyway?

What I do know is that I would eventually like to have people not look at me with such sadness for me in their eyes anymore - I would like to not feel sad everytime I see a pregnant person or a newborn baby - I would like to stop having random meltdowns - I'd like to stop asking God, "why?" this happened to us - I'd like for my husband to not find me crying with our daughters urn in my hand - I feel bad about not being able to go to my husbands, cousins baby shower this past weekend, and not even being able to bring myself to go into Babys'R'Us to pick up a gift - I'd like to not have to change the channel every time a commercial comes on with a baby in it...I'd like to be able to enjoy my next pregnancy without being paranoid and I'd like to be in the moment with my next child and not heavily grieving over the first.

I entitled this post "When A Black Girl Goes To Therapy" because therapy is such a taboo thing in the Black community and practically non-existent in the Caribbean community. For whatever reason, we don't feel like we need it, and should you admit to going, you'll get the inevitable side eye usually followed by a rampage of questions as well as the occasional belittling comments. I'm not gonna lie, when one of my good friends told me she was going to therapy for depression a few years back, I could not for the life of me understand why she needed to talk to a stranger about her feelings - a lot of us didn't - now I get it. I told another friend of mine that I was going to start going, and she admitted me that her and her husband had been to a few counseling sessions and it has helped their marriage tremendously. She then said, "you know Black people don't like counseling - but it works" - lol.

Fortunately for me, my family and friends are very supportive. I'm nervous but excited to be moving in a positive direction.

I don't really know what my purpose is in writing this post today. Maybe someone, somewhere needed this today - or knows someone who does. Maybe someone may need it in the future.

I guess I want you to know, if you've been through something traumatic, or something that you feel you can't handle - it's ok to seek help, it doesn't make you weak. Or maybe you may be looking down on someone you consider weak, please know that they're not. We never know what someone has been through or are going through. Even if they share their story - you still may not grasp the severity of it, especially if it isn't something you've been through yourself.

Hiding one's feelings isn't good either. It will somehow manifest itself into some other area of your life.

I'm not an expert on anything. The only thing I do know, is that holding my deceased baby in my arms to say goodbye to her just a few hours after giving birth to her and watching the nurse take her away a few minutes later knowing that I would never be able to hold her again is not an everyday occurrence or something I can just "get over".

to therapy I go...

8 comments :

Brown English Muffin said...

I can't wait to see how your posts change after therapy...I know they will....

Vanessa said...

Wow, I had no idea this happened to you... I'm so sorry. I can only imagine what it must be like. But I truly believe that going to speak to a professional is the best way to work through so many difficult things. It takes a lot of courage. Another blogger I read daily is going through a miscarriage. Perhaps you have some encouraging words to share with her?

http://www.zeromusings.com/

globetracer said...

Hi there. I wanted you to know that I now blog on Wordpress and have not logged into my blogspot in months, but today something prompted me to.
And I ended up here, after being reeled in by your post title.
I am so sorry to hear about your loss, and don't ever question whether you are sharing too much. Someone out there, who may be too shy to post, might be prompted to go and talk to someone after reading this. You are definitely a brave woman, and I really admire you for being so honest and so open.
This really touched my heart today.

JIN @ The BrownBerry said...

Thank you for taking the time to write to me Cheeky Curves. That was very powerful - thank you for that

Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher said...

this is so beautifully written, jin. I pray and hope for you and your husband's healing. I can't even imagine how difficult it's been for you <3

JIN @ Love,Loss + Lacquer said...

WOW! THANKS FOR YOUR KIND WORDS EVERYONE

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. I found your blog via Chronicles of a Future Wife. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your baby....

I'm also Jamaican, and yes, I agree there is a huge stigma against counseling in our culture. I went to counseling for 3 yrs after my marriage failed. I needed to stop feeling drained, bitter, angry and every other negative feeling I had. I am glad I went!

I'm looking forward to seeing your thoughts on it after you go. Give it time to work as well. If they prescribe meds, take them. You will be back to yourself soon, but take your time to get there.

JIN @ Love,Loss + Lacquer said...

Thanks for your condolences and for sharing your story with me. That was very brave of you to attend! I certainely see where's it's been working for me :)

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