Relief and Thanks.

November 14, 2008

First of all, thank you to everyone who commented on my last post.  I was so shocked by my reaction that I couldn’t see clearly to realize that it was a perfectly natural reaction.  You all made me realize that I wasn’t over reacting, it was okay to say, “no, not this year.”  As several of you pointed out, it’s not “selfish” to take care of me.  As soon as I sent out my “thanks but no thanks” email, I felt immediately better.  It was like a huge weight had been lifted off of me and the anxiousness that I had been struggle with was immediately gone.  I was honest as to why I felt I couldn’t participate and the response I got was very supportive and positive.  Not that I had a doubt that it would be nothing but kind words but it’s always scary to tell people about something so personal (of course, I broadcast my life for the world on this blog but…).

I want Quincy to complete his therapy dog training at the beginning of the year and I agree with Kelly, that will be a good use of my time if I do need a “distraction.”

Thanks again.

I recently went to an “event” with a bunch of women, not people I know personally but I know “of” them.  Now, there is a stereotype that when you get together with a group of women who have children, they will only talk about children, being a mommy, and in general, exclude anyone who doesn’t have children.  That has not been my experience as my very good friends.  When we get together, we talk about work or Barack Obama or whatever good book we are reading or the sale at Ann Taylor and just, in general, be the chicks we were when we were in college (I often wonder if this is because we all work outside the home but don’t start sending me hate mail).  I went to this event and thought, “cool, a chance to forget about losing the babies, getting pregnant and all that crud…I can just hang out.”

Some background and stick with me here.  I have struggled with what to say to people who ask, “do you have children?”  “Yes, I have 2 boys who died” should be the answer, right?  But the minute I tell that to any person, the dynamics between me and this person totally change.  I’m either Debbie Downer for saying anything at all, I’m seeking attention and sympathy for the loss of my children or they want details.  Now I don’t want to tell a total stranger, who took it upon themselves to ask me a very private question, exactly what happened (but I will tell you in a blog, right?  I know, it’s a little hypocritical).  I made the decision before returning to the real world that if someone asked me, I would be strong enough to tell them the truth, that I had two twin boys who died and if they pressed me further, I would tell them I am not comfortable discussing that with them.

Now this “event” that I went to had nothing to do with children, it was supposed to be a “girl’s day out” for a group I belong to.  At lunch, after the small talk was over and of course, someone asked me, “do you have kids?”  I said, “I do.  I have two boys and they didn’t make it.”  Everyone was sorry and sad and they politely moved on.  Groovy, I thought, this is a “safe place” where I can be me.  Yeah, right.  Just then, about 8 of the women launched into a discussion about one of the women who had recently had a baby and how hard it was to care for a newborn and how they cried and they wanted to be fed and held and it was just so hard and “those of YOU who don’t have children just didn’t understand the magnitude of what an undertaking having a baby was.”  That’s a direct quote people.  This same person also said, “I probably would not have had children if I had known how hard it would be to take care of a baby, you just have no time for yourself.”  Let me remind you, I had just, not 10 minutes before said to this whole group of people that my boys didn’t make it. 

As she said this I thought, “really?  Seriously?  You had no clue what it meant to have a baby?  No idea that they cried?  No idea that they are totally dependant upon you for like 18 years?  And so tell me again why you went off the birth control and went ahead and had a baby?  Who twisted your arm again?  And where did you go to school?  If I were you, I would get my money back because they didn’t teach you jack, sister.”

Instead, I took a deep breath and said….”I would trade places with any of you any day of the week and twice on Sunday.  I would give anything to have vomit in my hair, dirty diapers in my bathroom and dark circles under my eyes.  I would trade you ANYTHING not to have this pain in my heart.  I would trade the experience of going to the hospital pregnant and not coming home with my baby for your experience of hearing your child cry for the first time.  I would trade your memory of your child’s smile for my memory of the look on my husband’s face when the doctor said, “he has no heartbeat.”  I have stretch marks on my boobs people and nothing to show for them.  I am so sorry you have no time for yourself, it really does suck to be you.”

Oh yes, I did say that, every word.  I got up from the table, found the waiter, cancelled my order and left.

You see, I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone – not my worst enemy.  But I also won’t put up with people who know what I have been through and still refuse to be grateful for what they have.  You know I lost my babies but you want to complain about your children?  You come back and talk to me when you have to hold your dead baby in the hospital.

Learn a little gratitude people.