A separate grief 

10 weeks pregnant

Telling others I’m pregnant again after loss has been strange. I half expect people to take a sharp intake of breath like I’ve taken a huge risk. Mostly I’ve been overwhelmed by the positivity from others but I’ve also found it strange how some people think I’m ‘cured’ by my new pregnancy too. When I told my bereavement counsellor I was pregnant she asked if I’d want any more sessions in that case. It struck me that the world seeems to think I would be all better now. 

Telling people I’m pregnant is very different after loss. I don’t have confidence in the pregnancy and I feel like every person I tell makes me that little bit more vulnerable. For that reason, in the early weeks I have told only my parents, very close friends and step sister as I was working with her day to day. I’m very aware that every time I tell another person I’m pregnant, it’s another person to inform if I’m faced with another heartache. It’s exposure. My emotions, hopes and dreams held up in the spotlight. 

Three nights ago I got a phone call from my dad to inform me that he had told my brother and his wife that I am pregnant. I had specifically requested that he not share the pregnancy with my brothers yet and I was mortified that he had betrayed my trust. What hurt me most, was that instead of acknowledging my hurt or apologising for the betrayal, he jumped on the defensive and attacked me in an email in which he basically claimed he had a right to tell my brother. Amonsgst a barrage of insults he ‘justifies’ himself with this: 

‘I talk to your brother about most things Claire – especially those that trouble me.

The behaviour of both you and your partner throughout the whole episode of Nieve’s death has been difficult to understand, but I have done my best to make allowances for you both.

With regard to me telling telling your brother that you are pregnant, you were happy enough to tell your step sister and did you think for a moment that we would not tell all of our family in the event of a further tragedy?’

I was livid. Not only had he betrayed my trust but he had also tried to justify it by attacking me. He had no regard for my feelings and I felt robbed of the little control I had over who knew I was pregnant. I feel like he has laid claim to my pregnancy and made it about him. Also, for him to suggest that there may be a future tragedy is beyond insensitive and he seems to see a ‘future tragedy’ as something that affects himself more than Matt and I. 

This betrayal comes on the back of another series of events in which my father has caused me heartache, which occurred 6 weeks after Nieve’s death- a time when I was in the midst of grief and in need of support more than ever. He caused me pain at a time when my resources were so low and pushed me over the emotional edge by badgering me with condemning emails in his bid to be right about a matter that seemed so beyond insignificant in my broken world. 

The thing I’ve come to realise is that my dad cannot tolerate any suggestion that he has done wrong. He attacks because he cannot tolerate any slight to his personality. This leaves me in a horrible place. I’m frustrated, angry and upset at a man who will not accept it. I have anger, and nowhere to put it. 

I replied this to my dad:

I specifically requested that you not tell my brothers. The heartache of sharing bad news again is something I’m trying to minimise. My decision. I thought I could trust you to appreciate that. A simple sorry would’ve helped. 

I’m not interested in arguments or more heartache. I’ve had so much darkness in my life. I’m not interested in getting into another dialogue about trivial things. For that reason I won’t be reading any more messages or emails from you as they only seem to bring me sadness.’ 

He replied, 

‘Bye Claire, don’t expect to hear from me again.’ 

What kind of father plays such disgusting emotional games with his own daughter? And at a time when she is emotionally vulnerable and pregnant? 

I see my only option now is to break away from him. To stop him inflicting the emotional abuse on me and this baby. I cannot allow him to cause harm to my unborn child by playing with my emotions. 

Sadly, he’ll never back down because it means taking himself off of the grand pedestal he has placed himself upon. I’m beyond heartbroken with the way I’ve been treated by my bully of a father. Unfortunately none of this comes as a real surprise to me as he has a long history of lashing out at people who dare to knock his fragile ego, and a succession of other failed relationships in his life. But he has now pushed the boundaries over what I am willing to tolerate. 

I speak now for the little girl who was afraid of the big man who rolled his eyes at her tears. I speak now for the insecure teenager so afraid that she would not meet her fathers expectations that she tried to shrink away. I speak now for the bereaved mother and father whose grief was interrupted and anguish increased by the selfish needs of a bitter man. I speak now for the vulnerable pregnant woman striving to maintain positivity and a level head for the baby she is carrying. I will not be bullied anymore. I chose to let him go. 

And so I begin the process of grieving for the father he has failed to be. 

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One thought on “A separate grief 

  1. I feel your pain Claire. I hadn’t spoken to my father for years (his decision) until some brief communications around my girls’ birth and deaths. Due to the pain he has caused me in the past I am terrified about whether he will cause me pain in the future when I have no energy available to deal with it on top of the grief I have for my girls. I wish you hope and happiness and that your father does not cause you too much more pain x

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