Before & After

Before & After

I started learning macrame shortly before I got pregnant, but during my pregnancy I really dove deep into the craft. Other activities I enjoyed were becoming too hard or exhausting to do, but I wasn't at the point where I was content to just sit and watch Netflix. So I knotted and watched Netflix. Problem solved. It became a very therapeutic thing to do, and I was creating work like crazy. It was especially great to have this hobby when I took maternity leave a month before Calvin's due date, and needed something to fill my time. 

I haven't created anything since.

This is the last piece I created BEFORE.

Before finding out my son had passed away, before delivering a dead baby, before becoming a bereaved mom. I seem to think of everything in my life now as either BEFORE, or AFTER, that moment.

What is interesting to me, is the name I chose for this piece. Achelois. A minor mood goddess, whose name means “she who washes away pain”. 🌙

When I created and carefully chose a name for this piece, I was still blissfully pregnant, naively looking towards a bright future. Knowing what I know now, in the AFTER, it feels more like that name chose me. 

I wonder if I will always think of my life in this way now, the before and the after.

I wonder if there will be another defining moment in my future that will become the new marker for before and after. 

As events in my life are now defined as either before or after, I have a feeling that I also will be. I believe that people constantly grow and change, but I also am starting to see differences in myself that I can trace back to Calvin’s death. 

  • Before, I put a lot of stock in what people might think of the things I do. After, I figure out what I need and I do that. I don’t worry as much what people think.

  • Before, I was a planner. After, it has been hard for me to make plans. This is something I’m still exploring, but I have recently become aware of my new tendency to avoid plans. Now I prefer someone telling me what to do and where to be. This is new.

  • Before, I had emotions. After, I have deep emotions. This is good and bad. The ability to feel deep despair and grief also gives a person the ability to feel wonderful joy and love. The lows are not without their highs, as dark is not without light.

  • Before, I didn’t know how to talk about baby death. After, I still don’t, but I believe in talking about it.

  • Before I didn’t want to be uncomfortable or knowingly make other people uncomfortable. After, I have learned to be comfortable being uncomfortable. And I don’t care (thanks to point one) if talking about my son’s death makes you uncomfortable either. It should.

I’m sure there’s more, and I believe this self-awareness is valuable to my grief process. Maybe there are many small changes that I haven’t noticed yet either.

I do know though, I am not the same person as I was before. 

Maybe sometime, in someway, I can slowly become more like the person I was before. Maybe I will start creating again. Maybe I will start looking forward to making plans with friends again. I know though, that all these scars run deep. And I never will be exactly who I was before.

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