Friday, July 22, 2011

Lose-Lose Situation

There's a whole laundry list of taboo comments or actions I can't handle. They get under my skin or anger me. I used to be one of the easiest people to talk to (as in, no one ever used to offend me) and now I've become the most fragile person in the room.

Maybe my hypersensitivity and constant thought processing of losing Andrew forces me to develop this assumption that all people are uncomfortable or nervous around me. They might be. They might not be. Either way, I feel like a buzzkill most of the time in social settings. I used to be fun, social, and interested in all the details. Now I feel like my interest and attention span has dropped exponentially.

Here's the tricky part. People still live their lives and, shockingly, still get pregnant and have babies after I did. After Andrew was conceived, grown, born, died. People all around me are experiencing their first pregnancies and the births of their first babies. Babies they get to keep. What a novel concept.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel people were cutting me in line. It may be juvenile, but that's exactly how it feels. I should've gone through all those firsts before them and I should be holding my almost 8-month son right now. The void is excruciating. But the truth is, no matter how many people have babies from here until my death, I'll still feel like I should've been first. Like I was slighted. And no matter how many babies I have (please?), I'll still miss my firstborn. We will never be a complete family. That's pretty hard to swallow. Family photos will be bittersweet. I'll witness milestones of future Wilson babies and wonder what if at the same time.

Once I'm finally at that place again, I still don't think I'll ever feel like being a part of those smug "mommy and me" groups because I just don't think parenting after a loss is the same as parenting without loss. The approach has to be different. The discipline. The priorities. I could be wrong, but I have no idea.

I receive emails with, "There isn't really any easy way to tell you this... but I'm pregnant" and I hate them. But I'd be offended if I didn't know ahead of time. Being caught off-guard is worse. I think. There really is no easy way.

I read this excerpt on another blog and changed it a bit... totally how I feel:

This is one of the things that I hate most about baby loss. It robs you of the ability to fully participate in someone else’s joy. You can’t control the grief when you are faced with the announcement of someone else’s pregnancy. I hate, hate, hate it. I hate how she must have been nervous to tell me.

I get invited to events but know that I won't go if there are babies present. I don't even really like being around pregnant women or other parents, honestly. I wish this wasn't the truth, but it is. I avoid appointments and parties and dinners because I know that if babies/pregnant women are present, I'll just spend the whole time in a sad void. I may be there, but I'm not really happy and I'm probably counting the minutes until I can leave and sob in the car.

It's sort of a lose-lose situation I'm in. Be antisocial, risk being a hermit crab the rest of my life-- or at least until I learn to manage this better. Be social, risk feeling sad and jealous the entire time. I've been choosing the former. I think it's what's best for me right now.

I read blogs from women further in this journey. They have subsequent children and sort of find a way to live life again and breathe a bit easier. But, they still admit that the thought of their deceased child is never far from reach. When they see a child around the same age, engage in conversation with those parents about milestones, etc. It doesn't get better, but it does get easier.

It doesn't get better, but it does get easier. I'm just wondering how long it's going to take. Because these announcements and babies and births and parties and everything are still really difficult to manage. I think they might even be harder to manage now, nearly 8 months out, than they were before. Months ago, people knew I'd be sensitive and topics were avoided. People knew that a few short months prior, I said goodbye to the very most important person to me on Earth besides my husband. They were careful. They figured I was just making excuses and accepted that. But I'm still making excuses. Because it's not better.

Maybe I should buy this.

 You think it'll work miracles?


LauraJane said... [Reply to comment]

I have it (the moisturizer), and while it serves it's purpose, it's no miracle. It provides no hope. It doesn't do wonderous things.

But you, you will do wonderous things.

And you know I feel the same way.

'tis all. :)

Kelly said... [Reply to comment]

I disagree that it gets easier. I think it's just different. Maybe that means easier, I don't know. All the reminders still sting, but it's less it's different.

I feel the same way about what you said here, especially around friends (and strangers even) that have their second child. I should be there. I should be giving them advice and sharing stories, and they've stepped in front of me. I hate it. I hate this all.

Addi's mom said... [Reply to comment]

Yes, Yes and yes. Cut in line is exactly how it feels and since I was always a "play by the rules" kind of kid, getting cut made me mad then and still makes me mad today. You are smug mommy and me groups for me either...damn, I think I would have loved them.

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

I'm not crazy about that moisturizer although I've tried it.

Otherwise, I feel like I could have written this post, too. You are so right about not being able to fully participate in someone else's joy. Not without stabby jealousy. I despise that part of myself.

Jessica said... [Reply to comment]

This post couldn't be more relevant today!!! My best friend, the girl I've known since kindergarten told me today she is pregnant...and I'm the last person to know (apart from complete strangers of course). I want to be excited for her...she has suffered through 2 miscarriages so it is a good thing but I hate that friends tip toe around sharing news with me because I lost my twin boys, my firstborns. I've been lapped by all of my friends at least once before I even got pregnant with my boys and it sucked then too.

JoyAndSorrow said... [Reply to comment]

I relate to much of this.
Right now my sister-in-law is about to pop at any day with her second baby. She didn't want two babies until she found out about my twins. Then it was like this big race. She was pregnant at the time our son was stillborn. So now we are both back to one girl each, and she is about to have her family completed. If it's a boy, I think I will have a complete and total meltdown. It may be petty, and the "cutting in line" feeling may seem stupid to some, but it sure seems to cut pretty deep for most of us BLMs. I literally lost my son around the time she got pregnant with this current baby, and my MIL has already sort of made some remarks to the tune of God taking one grandson only to grant another to her. BULL. It doesn't EVEN OUT. We are supposed to be a family of four, not three. (((HUGS)))

katie illingworth said... [Reply to comment]

I feel exactly how you describe. Hate seeing babies, PG women, even the aisles at Target with all the fun little girl toys. I hate that people expect you to be over it and also try to give you all sorts of advice about what is "best" for you.

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

That quote is so right on. As is this post. My step sister texted me her pregnancy announcement last week. Our first daughters are 7 months apart. I had 3 thoughts when I read the text; thank god she didn't tell me face to face, this way I can lose it privately, please please please let her not go through what I did/am going through, and the one I hate the most, why isn't that easy for me? I hate being jealous of her. I hate that she was probably scared to tell me. I hate that I don't have the same news.

Becky said... [Reply to comment]

I agree with all of this.
I too would prefer people telling me they were pregnant right away then finding out later because they were nervous about telling me, but it hurts either way. I want to be happy for others but deep down I am bitter. I think its just always going to hurt.

LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

yeah I definitely cannot handle people who got PG after me and are progressing further than I did. You said it perfectly when you said it feels like they're "cutting in line". So true.

My New Normal said... [Reply to comment]

I hate the fact that I'm the person people are nervous to tell me about their pregnancies as well. I think for me that's the worst part.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

It is a lose-lose situation and it sucks. Having another baby hasn't changed the feelings I have around pregnant women and I still find myself feeling bitter/angry/annoyed when people can so casually and confidently announce their pregnancies, assuming they will get to bring home a baby - that it's a done deal. And what really irks me is that those people are the ones who do get to bring home a baby.

Lydia said... [Reply to comment]

I found your blog yesterday from another babyloss blog.. Everything in this post rings so true with me. Although I haven't been told of any new pregnancies lately (maybe because I'm sheltering myself or they're too afraid), I know how I'd feel if I were told. I wouldn't even want to say congratulations to them.. rather, Good luck. You'll need it.
"This is one of the things that I hate most about baby loss. It robs you of the ability to fully participate in someone else’s joy. "
That, exactly.

Thank you for sharing your story.

~ Aidan's mom, aka Lydia in Michigan

sarah said... [Reply to comment]

Yup, so true...all of this (though I, like Brooke, don't really like the Hope in a Jar either)...

Even though I'm now almost 7 months pregnant, I too still have that complete disdain for almost all pregnant women -after we found out friends of ours were expecting their second (and yes, it was couched in the whole..."We weren't sure how to tell you...") I said to my husband, "I wish there were just some way to put all those other people ON HOLD and make a rule that they aren't able to get pregnant until all my babyloss friends have gone on to get pregnant and bring their babies home safe and healthy...

It just doesn't seem right. I hate that feeling of being passed by, of life somehow skipping over our turn to get to do all the fun stuff. And really, even being pregnant, like I said above, the disdain and the jealousy hasn't seemed to wane much.