"Post Traumatic Growth refers to positive psychological change experienced as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances. These sets of circumstances represent significant challenges to the adaptive resources of the individual, and pose significant challenges to individuals' way of understanding the world and their place in it. Post traumatic growth is not simply a return to baseline from a period of suffering; instead it is an experience of improvement that for some persons is deeply meaningful."
Have you ever heard of this? I certainly had not! I knew of PTSD and am fairly certain that I suffered some sort of it in the days and weeks and months after Allie died. But there is also PTG? I like the sound of that as I really feel that I have grown so much since those first dark days.
It's hard to know where on the spectrum we are now. Last Friday marked 22 months since we said hello and goodbye. Holy crap. That's a long time. The pain is still there. The grief is still there. The missing her...that, of course, is still there. And yet it's dulled. I guess it has to or else how do people move forward? Learning how to move forward has been so hard. The further away we get from the grief, the further away we get from our angel. And yet we are discovering that we can live with her in our hearts and without as much pain. That's nice.
I find myself happy these days - more so than in the past. I am taking care of myself and for real this time! I like my job and feel like I am pretty good at it (most days!). I am back to eating healthier and exercising and decided this past weekend that I want to train for a 5k. It will help me get some of this weight off and continue to take care of myself. The jury is out as to whether or not I can run the whole damn thing! I just want to complete one.
Waiting for our baby is tricky this time since we really have NO clue as to when he or she is going to get here and how he or she will arrive. So we talk about names and dig stuff out of the basement and allow ourselves to get hopeful again. I truly believe that we are bringing a baby home this time. And man are we ready.
Going through Allie's "stuff" has brought a lot of emotions to the surface. The most prevalent emotion? Desire. As in wanting. As in I can't wait to finally use all of the amazing things that we have that were made or gifted or bought for our child.
My brother asked me last week if I was ready for the midnight feedings and sleepless nights. I said we had been waiting for 2 years for that. He nodded sadly and agreed that we were indeed still ready.
A good friend of mine had a happy and healthy and beautiful baby boy just over a week ago. I could not go to her baby shower and she understood. I could not buy anything for the baby before he was here and she understood. I also could not wait to hold that little boy in my arms once he was here and she understood that, too! I shared her joy and excitement and allowed myself to believe in pregnancy again. To believe that pregnancies most often do result in babies. It was glorious. Was I scared when she hit 37 weeks and 1 day? Yes. Was I relieved when she hit 37 weeks and 2 days? Absolutely. I can't see a time in my life when I won't be. But that's ok.
I am more cautious now. I am more hesitant with my emotions. But I am also still me and I am not going to suppress who I am. I am still here.
I thank my daughter for every moment I had with her. I can't wait to tell her brother or sister all about her.
Post Traumatic Growth. If this aint it, I am not sure what is...