So I was finally able to see Return To Zero last night! I was a little distracted by my rainbow babies here and there throughout the movie and hope and pray Lifetime re-airs it or puts it online for all to stream, but I LOVED this film. I have been waiting for this film to come out for quite some time and it has hit the nail on the head of all the emotions a mother and father feel while going through a loss and dealing with the aftermath.
When it was over and the kids were all tucked away my husband and I had a heartfelt discussion about the film and our own personal experience with pregnancy and child loss. He opened up and told me things I’ve never heard in the last 4.5 years since losing our first son and daughter. I really cherish the platform of discussion this movie allows to break the silence on miscarriages, still births and infant loss.
I will try and be general with the similarities I draw from the movie and my own experiences so I don’t spoil the film because I really urge you all to watch it.
It points out all the tough medical decisions you have to make when you might not be in the best frame of mind to make them:
When I went into labor at 20 weeks with the twins and it was too late to stop it I had to make a bunch of decisions that I was not physically, mentally or emotionally equipped to make. There was a lot of false hope, hospital transfers, lack of medicine that could of stopped labor, possible surgeries, infection, choosing to autopsy or not, burial or cremation. It is overwhelming and you do the best you can in the moment but have to live with the guilt and “what-ifs” when all the dust has settled.
The painful afterbirth reminders:
The hospital I was at did not treat me like a woman who had just been through a 14 hour labor, 2 failed epidurals and 2 births and deaths. None of the medical staff showed compassion or even explained what to do afterwards. I was discharged the following day with no postpartum care and instructions. They should have told me that tampons are a big no-no it was my first pregnancy and delivery I had no prior experience or knowledge to know that this would cause a huge infection and land me back in the hospital.So a week later when we had the twins’ memorial service I was completely engorged. The dozens of hugs I received caused physical pain. There was also great emotional pain as my body was trying to nourish babies it did not know were gone.
It shows how differently a mother and father can grieve:
My husband and I grieved extremely differently. He did not open up much and kind of cocooned. I looked for resources and outlets. We both threw ourself into our school and work to keep us busy and distracted, I even came up with the Angel Memory Candle which helped. After some time of doing things separately and not doing things together it effected our relationship. We had to do some counseling to get us back on the same page before we decided to try to get pregnant again.
It gives perfect examples of thoughtless comments and remarks that might come across as insensitive or harmful:
I can’t tell you how many people in church (with good intentions) would tell me about God’s plan and to have faith and how lucky I was to have two guardian angles. Even though deep down I believed the same, at that point in time I was seriously angry with the Lord and was questioning Him and everything I believed in. I’ll never forget the first thing the doctor said to me after delivering the twins was “Don’t worry you are young and can have more.” Even if what you are saying has truth to it, it may come across as callous and hurtful.
It shows you the relationships that are helpful and toxic:
You quickly discover who you need by your side after a loss. I had family members and friends that meant well by giving me my space but in turn I felt very lonely. I wish that the pregnant friend of mine would have asked if I wanted her to distance herself from me for some time before assuming that’s what I wanted or needed. I wished more people would have felt comfortable enough to ask about my children and use their names instead of using blanket statements such as “How are you doing/feeling/holding up?” because that just made me want to reply “Fine/OK/Good” and move on.
It beautifully captures the emotions you have in the precious minutes and hours you hold your dead child(-ren in my case):
Everyone tried to “prepare” me that they wouldn’t look “cute” or “normal” but I remember being in awe of their tiny features and proud that I had created life. My son came first I tried to remember everything I could about him scared I would forget. For the few minutes he lived I watched his heart beat and steadily slow down until it stopped. I did this again 30 minutes later with my daughter. Yes, it was torture but it was the only time I was going to have with them on this Earth so I tried to cherish it.
The anxiety subsequent pregnancies brings:
The anxiety can be paralyzing at times. I remember being pregnant with my first rainbow baby the following year, I had the same due date just a year later. So when the year anniversary of their birth and death came by and I was 20 week pregnant again, yeah I was a wreck. Taking birth classes and having an amazing doula was a life saver for me. She could read and understand my emotions more than I could at times.
How rainbow babies are a miracle but not a fix:
Just because I have had a son and daughter since losing the twins doesn’t mean I’m 100%. I love my son and daughter I love being their mom but that does not fix the feelings that I have of being robbed and heartbroken.
This movie is honest, raw, and beautiful. This movie has validated me. This movie will change things.
Thank you to the cast and crew!
Thank you for reading, I know this was long but it might be the most important post I type.
In honor of my Peter and Macie and the millions of other babies who spent a ” … brief moment on this Earth but forever in our hearts…”