Trying

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.

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2 responses to “Trying

  1. Bravo!

    And boy, do I have it in for chickenshits who get offended by us daring to soil their pristine little pregnancy/childbirth houses of peace and beauty. That is to say, I am right there with you, calling bullshit.

  2. This year, in class introductions, I find myself mentioning IF and loss. Nothing specific, just that I’ve been dealing with it for a while, and I get the feeling that while folks are supportive, I’m making many uncomfortable. Why can’t I just “move on”? No one has said it, or even really implied it — it’s just a look in their eyes when the subject comes up. Or maybe it’s that I can talk about it without breaking down. Like I should be a wobbly mess every time babies or loss come up.

    I think that choked up feeling is important. I think there is so much pressure on women to *love* pregnancy and the so-called miracle of reproduction. I hated it. I was weak and hungry and puking. Exhausted. Thrilled that I would have my two and not have to go through it again. Like I was betraying a sisterhood, or something.

    Right after my loss I felt like I needed to get pg again right away. A few weeks later, I couldn’t even consider the idea without being wracked with anxiety and tears.

    I’ll echo Julia, and call bullshit.

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