I think I am fairly honest on this blog, more detailed than some and more reticent than others. But I’ve become very aware this past week of how vulnerable it makes me, especially when it’s not a completely anonymous space. And I don’t regret that I chose to tell some people I know about it, because it’s hard to communicate what I am feeling day by day to friends and family spread all over the country. I realize, however, that I don’t actually know who is reading this blog. I know that there are people reading it that I know, that I didn’t tell about it. I know that word has spread because I am getting the most hits from the town where I live or from addresses connected somehow to my university. I welcome anyone to read this, but I wonder why most of those people aren’t saying anything – in person or in the comments.
I don’t write this blog as an expert on grieving. I might be an intellectual, but as much of this blog shows, I’m not trying to write as one. I’m just trying to be honest about the feelings I go through, which because of who I am are sometimes experienced through a lens larger than my personal life. And as some comments have revealed, I can be misunderstood and judged.
Sometimes I vent about what other people say because in the real world, I feel pretty powerless, pretty constrained by social niceties, and sometimes pretty damn angry. Most of the time I’m unaffected by what people say, more moved that they have chosen to say anything than bothered by a particular awkward statement. But sometimes the statements are pretty damn asinine. I don’t see why I ought to take that moment to be a teacher or why, as I go through through this horrible pain, I should always have to take the high road and chalk it up to being well meant. But most of the time, I actually do. I am really not so hard a judge.
I see that I get quite a few hits from people from key word searches like, “what to say to a woman stillborn baby,” or “what to say after miscarriage.” [I also get hits from people searching “no symptoms pregnant 8.w 5.d” or “bl.eeding 25 we.eks.” I feel awful for pregnant woman who’ve read the posts where I’ve written those phrases!] My point is, nearly every grieving mother whose blog I’ve read hates the very same statements that I do. Some people who want to help friends and family are reading us. Why not try to learn something from people who’ve experienced this horror if you find yourself faced with friends in our situation? And why not realize that as awkward as you feel, it’s so much worse to be them?
In typical stream of consciousness fashion, this post has gone in a very different direction from where I intended. I began from feeling truly aggrieved by the horrible sentiments unleashed on another grieving mom’s blog and thinking, among other things that have been captured more eloquently by other women, about the vulnerability of those of us who blog about our infants’ deaths and our struggles to become mothers again. I wonder how many people are out there, people who are too decent to spout hate, but who still judge us, for the decisions we’ve made and for the way we’re going about rebuilding our lives. Not that I think I did anything wrong, but of course I replay certain moments, certain decisions and wonder if it could have been different. I wonder, if I were to be as detailed about my experience as the mother who was attacked this week, how many people out there would incorrectly decide it was my fault or that we did something to bring it upon ourselves.