The Walking Volcano

I was about a month old, and living near Seattle, when Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980. In the two months prior to that major eruption, the volcano was active; earthquakes and small eruptions occurred. The mountain was preparing itself for a major explosion.

October has been a difficult month for me, which I didn’t expect. I thought by this time– twenty-five weeks post-delivery–I would be well on my way toward healing. Instead, I feel more discouraged than ever. My anger has become significantly worse and I feel like a walking volcano, ready to erupt. Like Mount St. Helens, I have warning signs, little earthquakes and small explosions happening.

In the checkout line at the grocery store: a sign requesting money for breast cancer research. Boom. What about stillbirth research?

Picking up my anti-depressant prescription refill: tiny pink breast cancer ribbon on the cap. Boom. WHAT ABOUT STILLBIRTH RESEARCH?

At a remembrance walk for infant loss: everyone else with massive teams and me with just my living daughter. Boom. Where are all my friends?

Same remembrance walk: Christian prayer opener. Boom. Eff God.

At a birthday party for my daughter’s classmate: TWO mothers who delivered living babies this past spring. Boom. My baby should be here too.

Infant Loss Awareness Month: My 40-week stillbirth gets lumped in with a 6 week miscarriage. Boom. It’s not comparable.

Reading information about kick-counting and movement monitoring. Boom. I failed my baby. My midwife failed my baby and me.

Knowing my living daughter doesn’t really ‘count’ her sister as a sister.  Boom. Knowing she can’t, it’s not real to her. 

Thinking back to one year ago: nausea, vomiting, misery. Boom. All for nothing. ?

Not talking to friends for weeks because one is pregnant and one has a living baby. Boom. Knowing that our friendships are over because my baby died.

Reliving my entire pregnancy and every decision I made/didn’t make. Boom. Seeing my baby’s urn on my dresser. Boom.

I wonder when/if “the big one” will hit. Will I one day explode? Will I go off the deep end?


How has anger affected your grief process? Have you found healthy ways to manage and process your anger?

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12 thoughts on “The Walking Volcano”

  1. You’re recognizing what makes you angry. That’s a good beginning to managing your anger. I always try to think of something else. Like, next the donation will be for my cause. Or maybe try just a deep breath and move on. Try moving the urn someplace else. Write down things that make you anger and come up with a solution for each beforehand. I use those, seems to help some.

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  2. I’m more than 2 years out and I still have a lot of anger and triggers, so I’m probably not the best one to ask, but I can say that while I still have lots of moments like you describe above, the anger is not as raw and I find I’m more able to bounce back from it. So it’s more like I say in my head, those shitty fucking assholes, then move on with my day. I think writing about it and also venting about it with other loss moms is a good way to start dealing with it. For me, I’d like my healing to also encompass not getting angry about it in the first place. FWIW, the first year is so hard – it’s the first time for every anniversary/holiday/similarly aged kid’s milestones/etc – but it does get easier, though maybe not better. Or maybe it’s better, but not easier. I dunno. At any rate, many hugs – I feel you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your insight. Sometimes I get stuck in the idea of “permanence” and that just fuels my anger more. It’s good to hear that things will change, maybe for the easier.

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  3. With you in the anger. Found out a family member is expecting her 4th this spring. I became irate learning of this information. It’s all so unfair and it’s ok to be angry. I am a lot of time. Here she is with her 4th and my injecting myself with fertility meds. It’s all unfair. Be angry!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a well written post. I can relate to many items you listed. This October has been a whirlwind for me… I’m afraid that when I stop and process it all; it’s just going to swallow me up into a dark hole and I’m going to have to fight to get out again. Sending lots of hugs. 💙

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  5. My daughter will have been gone for 3 years in February and I can tell you honestly the anger doesn’t go away entirely. Some of these things you’ve listed I still get angry about and chances are I always will. Some days things are fine and then some days the anger is back. I think the best way to deal with it is let it be. Let yourself feel it and try to let it go as best you can xx

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  6. I’m almost 1.5 years out from our loss and I will say that my grief was surprisingly bad six months out and then it gradually improved. I think six months out is hard because it feels like the rest of the world is moving on while I still felt traumatized and raw. By six months out everyone who was pregnant the same time as me had all given birth and every single last one on them had a living baby which only added to my feelings of isolation and increased my feelings of why me? Why only me? I also feel like the inversion of seasons punctuated the feeling that time wasn’t going to stand still but rather was moving on without my son.

    My loss was in June so I hit the six month time right around Christmas, which was bad because of miraculous birth of baby boy themes and complete happy family photo Christmas cards arriving daily. I had my husband scan the mail for me.

    I think hitting a new calendar year was very healing. I wish lots of peace and patience for you as we come upon the holiday season. May the new year to come be a time of hope and healing for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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