My own post and Julia’s from yesterday about pregnancy have me thinking. Or not thinking, as the case may be these days, and just feeling, the cold chest-hardening sensation of “I can’t deal with it.” Pregnancy is still so fraught with pain and fear and jealousy for me. I suppose some people, like those who dare to criticize the women at Glow In the Woods, would attack me for that.
Here I am! With a gorgeous living boy! And I had a relatively easy birth experience with him. In a hospital yes, with some drugs so a bit of a failure(*kidding*). I am so lucky. You know, if I could just focus on the positive that whole nasty “dead baby” thing would stay in the past where it belongs.
Well guess what jackasses who might agree? I have never truly begrudged a woman a happy and healthy and easy birth. Pangs of jealousy are inevitable though. Seriously, I call b/s if you tell me you’re never envious of anything or anyone, or don’t feel pain if you’re faced with something precious you lost.
I do not call feeling choked up when you’re reminded, under any circumstances, of the baby or babies missing in your life shameful. It’s just a real emotion. I have never, ever discussed my experiences with another woman except in answer to a direct question. Or in situations where if I didn’t mention Natan’s birth and death, I would be dishonest or forced to obfuscate.
Goodness knows in any other circumstances I wouldn’t want another person to lie or hide an experience or a loss. Nor would I want them to gloss over the pain for my sake, or for any other reason than their own needs or desires.
Although I do so in many other situations, in this one I’m not setting different standards for myself than I do for others. Natan’s birth and death happened. It hurt more than anything I could have imagined. I am shocked still when I remember myself waking up in my bed at home the morning after and melting down, completely, unable to comprehend how life would go on. I don’t force strangers to confront that woman. But there’s no reason to pretend others need sheltering from the simple facts of his existence and death, and the aftermath. No reason other than some ridiculous idea that his death and birth themselves are shameful.
We are not holding up billboards or spamming inboxes or doing guerilla theater in birthing or lamaze centers of our experiences. Death and pain are part of birth. Jealousy and questions about “why me” are part of human experience and emotions. They need to be dealt with somewhere. If you step into the realm of birth and pregnancy, you might confront death and pain.
It’s a dark and unpleasant reality, and one that I’ve needed a break from for the past year or more. But more so because of the people who think they’re immune, or who would presume to judge our reactions, than from the simple reality that babies die. That I can’t hide from.