Thursday, November 29, 2012
I'm behind on my days of thanks. Maybe tomorrow I'll catch up...but I don't have the energy for it today.
Mike's back at work again tonight, marking the first day I haven't seen him for more than a half hour since last Tuesday. I had a half day last Wednesday, so we got to spend a few hours together before he went to work. Then I was off on Thursday and Friday, so we got to spend all day together until 4. He was off Saturday through Tuesday, and then he worked during the day yesterday, so he was home in time for dinner. Today he's back to work. It's hard when I forget how much it's a bummer to be here alone. It's so much easier to be happy and distracted when I have another human to talk to.
I'm trying to decide what I want to do on Wednesday to acknowledge Charlotte's due date. I was thinking about going shopping for her Christmas presents. I plan to shop for her as though she's still here, then donating the toys/clothes/books to Toys for Tots. I like to think she would like it if her memory helped another little baby that's still here.
....I miss her. Some days still more than others. Today, I miss her. I wish the wind would blow so that I could hear her wind chimes. They help fill the butterfly spaces when it's cold outside.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
On thanksgiving, i am thankful for the love in my life. Sometimes it doesn't feel like enough...but it's what I need, in times of joy,sadness, and all the times between.
I think of the movie Love Actually...what I love about that movie is that the love we think we want and need isn't always the love we get...but the love is still there. There may not be a happily ever after or two perfect children like clockwork...but there's love.
You have to be grateful for that.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
I feel like there should be a way to stop pregnant people from doing pregnant people things when you have a loss, or around your due date. The doctor should be able to go to the woman and say, "Yes, I know it's normally a 9 month process, but Kait can't really handle hearing about your new baby right now, so it's going to be 10 months for you..." That seems fair.
Charlotte's due date is only 2 weeks away...and I'm struggling a lot more this week with hearing and seeing things about new babies and pregnancies. I'm trying hard to not be swept away by the "should be"s and remember and be thankful for what I do have...I have a lot of good in my life. Especially with tomorrow being Thanksgiving...I want to be thankful...
...it's just hard right now.
For day 21 of thanks, I am thankful for Mia. Yeah, I know, I said her already...but I think she deserves two days. She's the sweetest, most adorable little person in the world, and I love her dearly. She's learning to fist bump...seriously. She also "blows it out" after fist bumping. I don't think it gets much cuter than that. She loves her animals, though I caught her trying to ride the dog like a pony today...luckily the dog didn't mind too much. She is the reason I'm able to be OK.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Day 17 of Thanks--I am thankful for that feeling you get when you finally do something you've been putting off for a long time. I finally folded and put away the last of the maternity clothes, and, while the process sucked and was painful, I feel much better for being done with it. I also, as always, went ten steps farther once I started the project, cleaning out all the clothes I never wear to give away. Really, if I haven't folded clothes since August, and something is still sitting folded in the drawer, CLEARLY I don't wear it or want it, and it should go away. I feel cleansed, literally and metaphorically. It's a good feeling.
Day 18 of Thanks--I'm thankful for hot showers on a cold day. There's really not much better than getting into a hot shower when you're feeling a little cold and dreary. Those are the showers that make you do the crazy, pampering stuff that you usually don't have time for...things like exfoliating your feet, or trying a mud mask, or using a deep conditioner. It's a good feeling.
Day 19 of Thanks--I'm thankful for technology. It's a yearbook deadline today, and I am the yearbook adviser. Much as I whine and moan and get headaches and tear out my hair...I am so, completely, incredibly grateful for computers and the internet and design software. The thought of cutting and pasting and measuring everything literally makes me shudder. I am thankful that I am sitting in my own home right now, wearing my fuzzy, polka-dot bathrobe and mismatched fuzzy, pink socks, getting ready to drink a cup of coffee at my desk...not at school with a ruler and a bottle of glue. Yeesh. It's a good feeling.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Let me be clear: I have DONE laundry...I just put the clean laundry in baskets which make it to my bedroom but never actually get folded. Clothes get hopelessly wrinkled, but they're clean and available. Still, why the sloth? Why haven't I put these things away?
The loads of laundry I did after Charlotte died were filled with all of my favorite maternity clothes. See this blog post for my feelings on my maternity clothes. The thing is, once I'd washed and dried those clothes...I didn't really want to touch them again.
I didn't want to fold a t-shirt and think, "I should be wearing this today." I don't want to put away the pretty sleeveless top with the lace detail and think, "I was so happy when I wore this the last time." I didn't want to pull out my favorite black stretchy pants that felt like yoga pants but looked like slacks and think, "I wore this the day she died."
I finally put them away tonight. I thought all those things. I thought many other things. It was really hard.
It was actually harder than I thought it would be. If things had been different, I wouldn't be going back to school after Thanksgiving. I would be preparing for my new baby right now. I'd be pulling out the baby stuff and finding ways to meld it with Mia's big girl toys. I'd be washing and folding all of the baby's clothes. I'd be so many things that I'm not now. I know my maternity clothes are just clothes, but they've become this painful extended metaphor for my life, my emotions...maybe my sanity to an extent.. I left them wrinkled in the bottom of a laundry basket, hoping that if I just ignored them and didn't deal with them, maybe I could pull them out when I'm happy again.
But I finally put them away tonight.
Now, to be fair and transparent, I did not put them folded into a laundry basket and into the closet...they're still in the drawers of my dresser. This was not, perhaps the biggest leap in my healing process...but it was a step. I'm not ready to take them out of the drawers yet. I still have hope...probably too much hope, but hope none the less...that I'll need them again soon. I still have hope that I'll feel Charlotte's influence on my life and be able to wear those clothes with happiness again. I'm not ready for them to go away.
Friday, November 16, 2012
I know that sounds very odd and granola, but I mean it. Think about it. When you need something...a prayer, a hug, a hand to hold...if you close your eyes and feel the wind blow on your face, you don't feel so alone. The wind is healing.
In Tibet, they hang prayer flags to be blown by the wind, and they believe the wind carries the prayers up to the g/God(s). They also believe the prayers clean the air of the wind as it passes. Sometimes they hang bells as well which ring when the wind blows, letting them know that the prayers and mantras are being carried. It's a beautiful thought.
I have Charlotte's wind chime hanging on my front porch. I feel toward it similar to a Tibetan prayer flag. It's my prayer and memorial for my daughter, and, when I hear the chimes, I know that my hopes and love for her are being carried. I feel that she's near when I hear the chimes sound. It's comforting, especially when I feel such need of comfort.
The wind is like a fresh start, a prayer, comfort of nature.
For the 16th of November, my 16th day of thanks, I am thankful for Christmas music.
I realize that this is a complete mood shift from the 15th. My bad...but not really.
The local radio station begins playing Christmas music on the Friday before Thanksgiving. They start it when Delilah, the nationally syndicated radio host, starts playing it on her show...which is today. I got to listen to Christmas music on my way home from work today.
I dive down and snuggle into Christmas. I love the tacky claymation Rudolph, the Boris Karloff Grinch, and poor, sad Charlie Brown. I love tinsel, garland, and lights (though not blue lights! Christmas lights should not look sad!). I love setting up my Christmas tree, baking cookies for Santa, and wrapping presents. I spend far too much money on wrapping paper, ribbons, and tags to wrap the presents I also spent far too much money on. I wear antlers. I own a Christmas village. I have a Christmas door mat.
It's strange, really. For someone who feels so alone sometimes, it's strange to get so enthralled by a holiday that is all about friends and family. I don't know why, but I never really feel unloved on Christmas. Something about the holiday, and listening to Christmas music, makes me feel like I am wrapped and cozy in a large, fuzzy, metaphorical blanket.
Actually, I much prefer Christmas Eve to Christmas...strange as that may sound. Christmas is about gifts, traveling between parents' houses, and some form of traditional, gluttonous meal. Christmas Eve is about being with the people I love. We have lunch out, watch men struggle at the mall to find last minute presents for their wives/girlfriends/mothers/etc, go to church (which is really all about singing Christmas songs and being joyful), eat Chinese food, unwrap ONE present (traditionally jammies, but it's negotiable), set out cookies for Santa, and go to sleep: warm, loved, grateful, and happy.
I will own that I had a brief moment of sadness...this Christmas was supposed to be different...and listening to the Christmas music briefly took me back to my daydreams in June and early July...what Christmas would be like with a new baby. Charlotte was due December 5, though she would have been born at the end of November because she was to be a scheduled C-section. She should have been here for Christmas. A part of me isn't quite as excited this year, knowing that someone is missing...and will always be missing. An inordinate number of Christmas songs are about birth and motherhood (rightfully so), which slightly tampers my enthusiasm...
Christmas music is something to be thankful for.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
I'm thankful for the very, very bad brain candy I just finished last night by Nora Roberts. I'm thankful for Jane Eyre. I'm thankful for Goodnight Gorilla (even though I read it no less than 6 times last night...). I'm thankful for books that are made into movies that will never do them justice. I'm thankful for books with tangible pages and dust. I'm thankful for books that exist in electronic impulses (I don't get computers, but that's how I envision it). I'm thankful for the book with the worst name ever (Empty Cradle, Broken Heart) that had the most helpful message. I'm thankful for the memoir (An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination) that put into much more eloquent words the thinks I wanted to say but didn't know how to express.
I'm grateful I live in a place where books are plentiful and I have a job that allows me to not be picky. When I was a little girl, my mom rarely let me get a toy...but I was always, always allowed to get a new book. I want to start that tradition with Mia, and I hope one day she'll be thankful for them, too.
For my 14th day of thanks, I'm thankful for hope. I have a quote on the blog post I did about other people's words that I really like for hope: “Hope is the feeling that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.” ― Jean Kerr
That's true. Really, all hope boils down to a desire for happiness, contentment, fulfillment. If one has hope, it means that one is missing happiness or contentment or fulfillment. I hope for many things. It's not that I'm unhappy or discontent or unfulfilled, really...it's that pieces of me are. We all have so many dreams and wishes...and some of them will come true...and some of them will only ever be dreams and wishes. But we can always hope.
I hope that I am always happy and sure of my relationship with Mike.
I hope that Mia grows up healthy and smart and confident.
I hope that Charlotte knows she was loved.
I hope that we're able to have another child.
I hope that I'm able to forgive the people who weren't there for me when I needed them.
I hope that I have a positive impact on someone's life.
I hope that I will write something, someday, that will have an impact on someone other than me.
I hope that I will matter.
Hope is a beautiful thing. When it's all you have, it seems so frail and transparent...but it's not. Hope is the backbone of our soul. Why else to live, if not to hope? ...I am waxing philosophical at the moment... I hope you won't hold it against me.
Monday, November 12, 2012
My biggest personal insecurity is with the sincerity of friendships. That seems a weird thing to be insecure about...but, yeah, that's about right.
When I was a little girl, my best friend was popular. I was not. When you're little, it doesn't really matter all that much. Kids play together, and it is what it is. I didn't notice anything weird, nor did I care. Then there was middle school...I hit puberty...or, rather, puberty hit me...with a massive weight gain and a loss of good eye sight. Suddenly I was the fat girl in glasses. I also got a short haircut right around the same time...so I was the fat girl in glasses with a white girl afro. For the sake of complete transparency, here is me in 7th grade:
So, at this point, as my self esteem (rightfully so) began to plummet. And then...
I don't know how it came out or why. I don't remember. Maybe I blocked it out. At some point at the end of 7th grade or beginning of 8th grade, I realized that the vast majority of people I held as friends didn't like me. At all. They hated me, in fact. They hung out with me and acted like my friends because they liked my best friend, the popular girl. They thought I was annoying, nothing more. I almost wrote nothing more and nothing less there...but they obviously did think of me as something less.
People I had thought were my closest friends smiled to my face and talked viciously behind my back. No one told me. I was "that girl". The one everyone dislikes but no one bothers to tell. It becomes a joke, how stupid an naive "that girl" is. The one everyone makes fun of...but no one tells. I was living my life believing everything was fine, I had friends, I was happy.
Then it all, inexorably, shifted.
This event has shaped my life. Since this moment, I have had a very hard time believing in the veracity of friends' claims to enjoy my company.
When I am hanging out with "friends", I spend the majority of the conversation analyzing. Am I talking too much? Am I being annoying? Did they just make a face? What did that face mean? Should I leave soon before I overstay my welcome? Should I even be here? Was I invited out of societal politeness?
When I call someone about getting together, I wonder if they are agreeing out of a sense of obligation or if they actually want to spend time with me. If I am the person doing the contacting for two or three events in a row, I put the person on a mental watch list, trying to let them off the obligatory hook of politeness I may have accidentally stuck them on.
This extends to my family. I notice when someone does something out of the ordinary, shows me special attention, and I can see the puppetry at work behind it. From several of my siblings there is much more of a familial obligation than genuine affection and caring. I try not to hold it against them...they don't really know me, anyway.
The only person I don't put in this category is Mike. Literally, he is the only person I don't worry about...and it took me many years and many, many reassurances before I put him in that category. He is the only one with whom I am just ME...not worried me, or insecure me, or analyst me.
Really, in some ways this insecurity has made me a better person...
I try very hard to listen to other people...a remnant of not believing that anyone really wants to hear anything about me. I found myself sitting for 45 minutes after a meeting at school listening to a woman tell me about the problems in her life. Her house flooded, her daughter was in a car accident, her son doesn't want to take his senior pictures. I don't know that the woman learned anything about me. She didn't ask and I didn't offer. I like to think that maybe she felt better after she left.
I am generous to a fault...a remnant of wanting so badly for people to like me, even just a little. I treat to meals, buy people coffee if I think they'll like it, gift silly things for people just because. I feel very uncomfortable when people pay for things for me. In a way it feels like I'm bribing them for friendship and I feel guilty about my impure motives for my generosity. This of course hurts the credibility of the friendship further, which is a nasty, perpetual cycle....but I think I do some good along the way, too.
I will bend over backwards (not literally...) to make someone's life easier...a remnant of trying to prove my worth. I remember when I was 14 or 15, my sister was home for Christmas and complaining about the lack of mayonnaise in the house. Note, my sister is ten years older than me, and thus capable of going to the store to get some. She didn't. I walked the mile to 7-11 and bought her mayo. I think she might have thanked me for it.
The thing is...all of these things I now do, all of these characteristics I now have, come from a place of selfishness. I have a hard time taking pride in any of them...I'm not generous because I'm a good person. I'm generous because that's all I know how to be. It's the only way I see value in myself. If someone says they see me as a good person, I squirm on the inside because I don't/can't believe that.
Here's the rub: I am in a place in my life where I really, really need to believe that people honestly give a damn about me. I really, really need to feel like I have support. I'm calling in my friendship chips...but my bank is empty. This experience is reaffirming every self doubt and irrational fear that I have.
If people were really my friends, wouldn't they call me?
If people were really my friends, wouldn't they make an effort to get together with me?
If people were really my friends, wouldn't I feel less lonely than this?
If people were really my friends, wouldn't they have acted the way I would have acted if the roles were reversed?
...now, again, to be fair, not all of my friends have let me down. To those that have the link to this blog, it's not your fault...I only gave the link to people who really supported me. You are not among those reaffirming my irrational insecurities...
I asked (multiple times in multiple ways) for people to talk to me about Charlotte...to let me talk about her. They didn't. They still don't. One of the most awkward, frustrating, and infuriating experiences of my life was spending a week at the beach with my family three weeks after Charlotte's birth...and no one said anything. No one spoke her name. No one asked me how I was. Everyone just pretended like everything was fine. It wasn't.
I think that part of this is that they don't understand what I want to say, or why. I think (based on some of the response I did get...limited as it was) that people think I want to talk about how sad I am. Well, yeah, I'm sad. My daughter died. I'm allowed to be sad. That's only half of it, though. I want to talk about my daughter. My DAUGHTER. She lived, if only in me. She was loved. She had a name. She had a face. She died.
When a real person dies...and I don't mean that the way it sounded...I mean someone who was real to everyone, if that makes any sense...when a real person dies, people talk about them. They remember them. They cry for them. They reminisce about them. They don't forget them.
To me, when my family (and everyone, for that matter) doesn't acknowledge that my daughter lived and died this year, it's as though...I can't put it into words. It's not that something bad happened to me. It's that my daughter lived...and then died. It's not an event...it's a PERSON. It's a LOSS...my loss. It's like they can't differentiate the difference between the event and the person, and to ignore her existence doesn't feel like just a lack of support...it feels like a slap in the face.
It feels like they think she didn't matter...as if she only mattered to me (and by me, I of course mean me and Mike...but it would confuse the matter to use a plural word form here when talking about how everyone else acts). They care that I'm sad or upset, but they don't honestly CARE that my child, my CHILD, MY child is gone. I don't want pity; I want someone else to give a damn that my little girl, who looked so much like her big sister, who liked to kick me when Mia was taking a bath, who was so deeply loved and wanted, is gone.
Yes, I want to tell people about how sad I am. I want people to care that I am grieving. This is step one. But, more importantly, I want people to care that there is a hole in my family that a child should be filling. The world is a little darker because her laughter will never fill it. Someone should care about that.
Less than a mile down the road from our house is Leesylvania State Park, which is a wonderful park right on the Potomac with walking trails, a nice, big playground, beaches, and a little wetland area with turtles. It also has a boat launch, if one had a boat to launch...which we do not.
Mia loves it, and it's close enough that I can decide, spur of the moment, "Hey, let's go to the park." It's so close that I just grab a couple of bottles of water for me and Mia. I don't even bring my diaper bag half the time. If we need something that would be in it...we could just come home!
We spent an hour between lunch time and naptime here yesterday, so I'd like to be thankful for it for the 11th. Here are some pictures of Mia enjoying the park yesterday...
For my 12th day of thanks, on the 12th day of November, I am thankful that I am blessed with a daughter who is everything an 18 month old is supposed to be. It's an absolute miracle that people manage to come into this world, and it seems an improbable, astronomical miracle if they aren't struck with some sort of issue. I know so many families whose children have problems, big and small. Children who can't hear, or speak, or whose brains don't process things correctly. Children with heart problems or diabetes or needing surgeries. My family was supposed to have that with Charlotte's gastroschesis, but she left us to give us a chance for a healthy child. I don't take this for granted. I am grateful each and every day that my daughter is healthy, that she is smart, that she is strong, that she is loved.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Today, November 10th, my 10th day of thanks, I am thankful for having the ability to spoil my daughter. Today I went out to get her a small Abby Cadabby plush doll...the pink fairy from Sesame Street. She loves her. A lot. So that's what I went out for. I also got her three books, a pair of jeans and a shirt, a coloring book and markers, and an animatronic Elmo (that's for Christmas, though...does that count?). I am very thankful that I am able to do this. I know that I go over the top, but I love to see her little face light up when she reads a new book...
As a side note, I do plan to pay this one forward. For Christmas, I am going to go Christmas shopping for Charlotte as I would have if...I'm going to buy her clothes and toys and books. I'm going to give it to Toys for Tots. It hurts my heart that I can't spoil Charlotte as I do Mia, but I feel like her little spirit would like to be remembered by me in this way. If I believe that she was selfless enough to choose to give us a healthy child in the future, I also have to believe that she would want a little baby without parents as lucky as we are to have the material things that are rightly hers. I wish I could wrap them and put them under our tree...but some baby out there just like Charlotte should have them.
Friday, November 9, 2012
I'm feeling really down today. It's another lonely day. A very self-pitying, self-depreciating, low self-esteem, depressed, lonely day. Someone asked me a while ago (maybe a month or two, now?) what caused the "bad days". That's the funny (or rather, completely un-funny) thing about bad days. Absolutely nothing causes them. Everything causes them.
I've gained a lot of weight since Charlotte died...or maybe before she died, too. To be honest, I didn't lose a lot of the weight I gained with Mia. But now...good God, I'm enormous. I can say with relative certainty that, according to all those height and weight charts, I am obese. Awesome.
...I will own (here, at least) that I am totally a comfort eater. I know I should do other things. Find other ways to seek comfort. Be productive with my negative energies. I know this all on a cognative level. On an emotional level, it's easier to eat a bagel with honey butter. Again, when Mike is gone to work, and Mia is gone to bed, I am left to myself, with my thoughts, with my emotional swamp. Pass the trail mix...hold the raisins. No one likes the raisins.
The thing is, I am so completely uncomfortable in my own skin right now. I feel puffy. I feel bloated. My wardrobe has been reduced to the fattest of my fat clothes. They look bad, and I am constantly readjusting my shirt so it doesn't cling to my flabby stomach. I don't want Mike to touch me half the time because when he does all I think about is how muffin-top-like I must feel to him. I am the anti-sexy.
I can't make myself care enough to actually do anything about it. I'm so disgusted with myself that I...have a piece of pumpkin toast. I have such low self esteem that I...drink another cup of coffee. I think I may actually be trying to goad my body into self destructing. When I was pregnant with Charlotte, I was so careful to take my vitamins, not drink caffeine (even the one cup we're allowed to have), not eat foods that could be harmful, not take hot baths...now, on the other side of loss, I just want to say, "screw it" and let my body fall off the metaphorical cliff.
...I'm wondering where the bottom is. At some point, I imagine I'll get myself caught with a whipped cream can in my mouth, an empty ice cream carton, and cookie crumbs on my shirt...maybe the shame of that display of pure gluttony will jolt me back to reality. I am not that person yet...I am still a handful of trailmix as a snack too often kind of comfort eater. I clearly don't aspire to the disgusting depths of the pure glutton...but I worry that maybe my inner conscience's tendency to say, "screw it" will get me there.
I hope not. For today, it's just a bad day, emotionally speaking.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
For the 7th, I am thankful for my abilities. It seems strange to almost be thanking myself for something..but it's true. I am thankful that I can do a lot of the stuff that I can do.
For example, I can McGuyver stuff. Half of the things in my house are held together by rubber bands and chewing gum, but it all works. I'm not afraid to try to do things that I don't know how to do for fear of messing it up. I'll just mess it up. If it's broken or undone to start with, what does it hurt if I mess it up a little more, first? As a result, if you ask me how to do something, I'll help you. It doesn't matter if I know how to do it. I'll figure it out as I go. I just learned how to mail merge in this fashion last week. I installed my own car stereo with directions not written in English and a YouTube video. Cool stuff!
I also am very good at being vaguely advanced at things. I don't excel at anything. I have nothing for which I can say "THAT is what I'm good at." I can, however, say to most anything, "I'm not half bad at that." I'm not half bad at many things: teaching, photography, writing, sports, speaking intelligently, being a wife and mother...I do not excel at anything, really, but I am very, very good at being slightly above average. I'll take that.
For the 8th, today, my 8th day of thanks, I am thankful for my home. I was tempted to write my house, but that's not the point. I love my home. I love my smart cat, my dumb cat, and my attention-sucking dog. I love that the comforter on my bed doesn't match anything else in my bedroom in the winter but keeps us so warm. I love the feeling I get when I finish cleaning the kitchen and the whole house somehow feels relatively clean by association. I love how lucky I am to have a house and family and love that make my home. I do recognize it...and I love it.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Monday, November 5, 2012
They are currently out of town (and have been since October 22) and will continue to be out of town for the next two weeks. It's strange how much I sort of take for granted that I can usually call them up any given night of the week and ask if they want to go out to dinner...I miss that very much right now, particularly on nights Mike is working and I feel alone.
They're always willing to try to help me out, even when those efforts don't go so well. I mentioned once in passing that the hinge broke on my bedroom door. Three trips to the hardware store, four trips to my house, a seemingly infinite parade of power tools and different sized screws later, and my dad had installed a new door...and it almost works, too!
I worry that my parents won't get to see Mia grow up. They were 40 when I was born, a rarity in those days, which means that they are now both 71 years old. I don't think of them as "old", but...really, objectively, they are old. They live in a retirement community, split a seniors' omelet at IHOP (I'm not kidding) and have been getting AARP in the mail since I was in high school. I know their time is finite, and it frankly scares the hell out of me...
So, today, I am thankful to have my parents in my life.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
This one was a little rough...I woke up this morning feeling not particularly thankful. On our first cycle of trying again after losing Charlotte, we had a chemical pregnancy, and my period just started up again today. Woke up a little bitter...
...I've been thinking on it all day though, and I've realized something in it that I'm thankful for. I'm actually thankful that I was able to be joyous and happy about the possibility of a new baby for one day. Yeah, I got one day of happiness followed by a huge let down, but I still got that day... I also am thankful, strange as it sounds, that we had a chemical pregnancy instead of nothing. That sounds weird. I mean, a chemical pregnancy is really just a super early miscarriage, right? Shouldn't I freak out about that a little?
I'm choosing not to. I'm not HAPPY it happened, and, given the choice, I'd obviously choose the easier route of getting pregnant again on the first try, but....in a weird way I can see Charlotte's influence on this. I've been praying every day that we will have another child soon, and that Charlotte will see her little brother or sister safely into the world...and it's not that we didn't get pregnant this cycle. We did. It's that this baby couldn't come safely into the world. There was something wrong with this baby, and that little spirit is waiting for a stronger host. In a corner of my head, it's like I can hear Charlotte saying, "See Mom, you're going to have another baby...we're going to get through this together...and I'm protecting you from the bad stuff."
This is what I'm choosing to believe...and I'm thankful for that.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
I want to refer back to someone I'd written about a month ago HERE. A person I had considered a close friend never said a word to me after I told her of Charlotte's death. Three months later she still has said nothing. No "I'm sorry." No "How are you?" No "I remember that you're alive and going through a traumatic experience and I'm supposed to be your friend and maybe, possibly give a damn about that."
So I saw another trivial post from her on facebook today. Every time I see a silly trivial post from her it makes me angry...she has the time and energy to post about her husband liking a radio station that she doesn't, but she doesn't have time or energy to talk to me about my daughter's death. Really? I decided I didn't need this anger in my life, so I decided to unfriend her.
The problem is, I've never unfriended someone before, so I felt the need to preempt my unfriending with a message explaining the reasoning behind it. This was my message:
I had thought that you and I were fairly good friends. I know we didn't talk nearly as much after I transferred schools, but still...
When I sent you a message, about Charlotte's death, I was really surprised that you didn't say anything. I know that I requested people not say the stupid things, things like, "You can always have another" or "It was just not meant to be", but every other person at least acknowledged that they had received it. They all sent brief, marginally acceptable sympathy messages.
I thought maybe you were just looking for the right words. I excused it for a long while. The thing is, it's been over three months now, and I truly believe that, if you really did care about me, you would have acknowledged my daughter's death. Really, that seems like a decent, human thing to do, even if you weren't my friend. I know you and Thomas were trying to have a baby, and it's a sore subject for you...but my daughter died. She died. A friend would care.
I don't expect you to say anything. I don't need anything from you. I just wanted to unload the burden that's been on my heart, because I feel like I have enough of a burden to bear, and this one shouldn't be mine to carry.
Instead of an apology, or an explanation, what I got was basically a defensive rant about the way in which I told her. She was offended that I hadn't "bothered" to tell her I was pregnant in the first place, and then I told her of Charlotte's death though a group message which she felt was "Inappropriate, impersonal, and awkward."
OK, I will grant you that it's a jarring message to get, but you don't get to judge the form of the message when the content of the message is that my daughter died. Sorry. It's not about you at that point. It's not about what you wanted, expected, or thought. When you hear that your friend's daughter died, your job is to offer support and sympathy. Period. I mean, really, most people would do that if they heard a stranger on the bus had lost their daughter. (as a side note, I hate that euphemism)
It made me realize something about myself. In any other circumstance, I would have accepted the blame. It happens a lot: I call someone on something they did wrong. They deflect the blame back on me and I end up feeling bad about myself when I didn't do anything wrong. Not this time, though. I refuse to accept blame for the stupid crap other people did in this situation. It's not my job to make it easier for you to support me. Sorry, dude, it's just not. My daughter died, and I can grieve any damn way I want.
The problem is, as I went to put all of this into words, she blocked me on facebook....and I am left holding the bag of blame. Damn it. So, here was my thought out and heartfelt response, which she won't ever read:
I had told, besides family, a grand total of five people I was having a baby. I had a miscarriage at thirteen weeks before having Mia, and I am thus (now more so) incredibly hesitant to share pregnancy news. Charlotte was stillborn at five months. I went through complete and total hell, during which time I debated sharing her with anyone. I decided to tell the people I thought were my close friends, but I did not have the strength, mentally, physically, or emotionally, to do so multiple times. I can understand not wanting to say things offensive and honor my wishes, but in the three months since I told you my daughter died, you never said one word to me. Nothing.
I'm not coping with a situation, I'm grieving...and please don't use that to disqualify what I'm saying, because I am entirely lucid on this point. The thing is, you go through your entire life believing that, when and if you truly needed it, the loved ones in your life would be there to support you. It's an incredibly lonely and painful experience to realize that many of them wouldn't be.
I don't want to tread repeatedly on these points, but I want to make clear that I don't accept blame in this. This isn't my fault. However awkward you felt, however hard it was for you, it was many, many times harder for me. The thing is, by deflecting the blame in that way you're making it about you, and this one thing was really, truly about me, about my family.
...when one is trying to conceive after a loss, things are harder, and I think I realized why. When one is trying to conceive after a loss, one has already had taken from her the thing she wants...a baby. So then, in trying to conceive again, it's just trying to reclaim what should have been yours already.
It's almost as if one has lost thousands of dollars at the blackjack table...a win isn't a win because you're already so far behind. You start to feel desperate. Any loss is a blow. Any setback seems huge. Johnny Knuckles, the bookie, is breathing down your neck and you feel like, if you don't win it back soon, he'll break your legs. OK, I took that analogy too far. I do that. But it's not far off, either!
...but it's more than that.
When one is trying to conceive after a loss, the pressure and desire are so much more heightened. Every cycle, she tells herself that this will be the one. She has to. If she doesn't she'll lose hope, and hope is sometimes all it feels like she has left. The problem is, it's impossible to contain the hope. The hope grows. It thrives. She starts daydreaming about a positive test, telling her husband, feeling the baby move. Hope is a slippery slope...
When it doesn't work...when the period comes...when those hopes crash and shatter around her...it's like another loss. It's as though she's losing another baby. The hope gets so built up it becomes real, and then the reality is gone in the blink of an eye. It's clearly a different type of loss, as the baby never really existed...but didn't it?
On the third day of November, my third day of thanks, I am thankful for pumpkin flavored or scented stuff. When the weather turns cold, and my lawn, which isn't pretty to begin with, fills with decaying leaves, and school starts back up after the glory that is summer...there is pumpkin. Wawa pumpkin latte, pumpkin roll, pumpkin pie (which is really just a vehicle for whipped cream), pumpkin coffee creamer, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin candles, pumpkin febreeze, pumpkin oil defusers, and so on, and so on. I start ending sentences with, "...but at least it's pumpkin season."
I have to go back to school ...but at least it's pumpkin season.
I'm freaking freezing ...but at least it's pumpkin season.
It will take me ten hours to rake the front yard ...but at least it's pumpkin season.
I had to wake up in the dark to get dressed this morning...but at least it's pumpkin season.
Friday, November 2, 2012
Thursday, November 1, 2012
November 1--Day 1--I am thankful for my husband.
Today I want to express my thankfulness for my wonderful husband. I usually focus on the Meemers when expressing my joy, but Mike is also a huge part of my happiness every day. I am so lucky to have him in my life.
We found each other over fourteen years ago, when we were both in high school. Though there were rough patches (big, gaping, pot hole sized ones) along the way, once we got serious, engaged, and married, neither of us has regretted a day we've spent together.
He is the only person, I truly believe, who really knows me for who I am. He is the only person that I don't worry is secretly annoyed by me. He is the only person who understands me without explanation or excuse.
I often wonder if other people out there are as happy and in love as we are. The answer I always reach is that I hope so...but I doubt it. If they were, there wouldn't be so much hate an ugliness in the world. Having a person (cliche!!) be the piece that you didn't know was missing makes it close to impossible to be ugly like that.