I suffered in silence because I had to
In 1996, I became involved in a religion after the breakdown of my 2 year marriage to my high school sweeetheat. I was a little bit down but I seemed to get over it, with the help of my 'new friends'. Two years later I married a member of the congregation who was very loyal to the ministry and the doctrine and I too had become that way. I had essentially cut off all ties to my past including my family after hearing from the pastor that anyone not willing to do this would not he worth of heaven. This was the beginning of my woes.
Things seemed to be going on ok, it was 2000, I had a 15 month old son and my wife was pregnant with our 2nd child. We received the news that he had a Trisome 13, a genetic abnormality and would likely pass away at, or during birth. After much thought, we decided to terminate the pregnancy in the 22nd week, actually, my wife made me make the decision as I was the man and it was my duty under the doctrine as head of the house.
My son was induced and born normally because he was passed 20 weeks gestation, he didn't pass away before birth as we were led to believe, I heard a faint cry as he struggled to take a breath, for 25 mins. I questioned myself, I chose this, what did I do?
Once home, I became withdrawn, distant, no longer wanting to go to church but forcing myself because it was my duty as a father to be an example to my son, maybe going would help. A few weeks passed and with my guilt overwhelming, turned to the pastor for some counselling. The shock came in the answer...I was told to "pray about it". I tried and in the end decided to talk to my wife about how I felt, I received the same answer..."pray about it". I needed to talk, but I felt I had nowhere to turn. Going to a professional counsellor was not an option as that would have me expelled from the church for a period of time.
I fell into deep depression, thinking about how to take away the pain, how to end it all. It was the thought of my son that stopped me. My wife fell pregnant again, I panicked! But we had a healthy little girl. By this stage not even that brought happiness. A year later I stopped going to the church and my wife told me to leave the house because I didn't attend church anymore. I tried to re-connect with my family, but the relationship was damaged and never the same. 11 years on, im still recovering, feel alone, my kids have now cut me off, my mother and brother passed away. I'm in counselling now, do I have the tools to continue? I hope so.
It sounds like you've been through a number of life changing ordeals, and I'm definitely not going to tell you just to pray.
Firstly I want to say that for me, spirituality can take many different forms. It doesn't necessarily need to be an affiliation with a religion, a church, or a particular belief system. Whether you choose to pray in the literal sense, connect with yourself or others, talk with people about your worries, engage in time to think or reflect all of these things can have a spiritual element to them.
It sounds to me like your ex wife is engaged in a faith that demands certain beliefs and customs. At certain moments in life we all question our faith, After all it would only be natural to wonder why any God would want to take away your child.
You have lost your infant child, your wife, your children, and a faith that you once believed very strongly in. I would suggest what you are feeling would be grief. It can lead you to the darkest of places, bring about desperate thoughts, and cause you to feel very intense emotions. Sadly grief and loss are a part of life. We don't have to go through this period alone though. Would you feel comfortable seeing one of the GPs listed on Beyondblue's website (they specialise in mental health), and perhaps getting a referral to a grief counsellor or a Psychologist who specialises in grief and loss? I would strongly recommend this because, as you said, you need to be able to talk about it.
Your next step would be to look at custodial options for your children. Don't forget they would be under the heavy influence of their mother, and it might take some time for them to come around. The most you can do is let them know you are there, and don't give up on them.
It's only as you begin healing that you can then take some steps to rebuild a life for yourself. Meeting new people and living new experiences.
Are you working at the moment? Do you have your accommodation sorted?
There are a number of members on the forums who may also have some advice for you. You might want to join D'jected's thread called I'ts peaceful in the house. Or Depressed (i think?) post stillbirth of my son. This thread is by Samantha. There are some things that the 3 of you may be able to relate to. Of course, continue to post under your thread as often as you like. I hope next time we can get you a reply sooner.
Apologies Slim, I just noticed that you said you are in counselling now. Perhaps joining a grief support group might be worthwhile in addition. Sometimes those tools you are talking about we have to learn after the fact. You will get them though, so don't give up just yet.
Has you Dr mentioned medication to you? This might be worthwhile exploring even just for the short term while you're getting your strength back.
What sorts of therapies or techniques is your counsellor working on?
I also wanted to say I'm sorry for the passing of your mum and brother.
I honestly think I must have missed your last paragraph - apologies again.
Hope we will hear more from you.
dear Slim, I do feel extremely sorry for what has happened to you, and personally believe that the church should never have control of what happens to the family, and the rules that their members of the congregation should abide so strictly to, but that's all I will say, as I'm not a religious person.
The problem is now about you, but firstly I am sorry about the passing of your mum and brother, and I do hope that your son is going along well, although you haven't seen him for awhile.
When people say 'pray for it' they are side stepping the issue.
11 years on which is a long time as your children would be well and truly growing up, but it's too long to be distant from them, plus it's a long time suffering your grief and depression, because one brings the other one on.
You need to keep going on, because one day the kids may want to see you, but please whether or not you still hold religious beliefs which may forbid taking antidepressants it's something which we hope you will trust your doctor and counsellor and start taking them.
I do hope that you take Amber's advice and look into the custodial options for your children.
It's been 5 days since you posted so I do hope that you haven't gone and not checking on your post. Geoff.