Saturday, August 24, 2013

Learning to deal

Last night I had a new friend over from my pregnancy loss support group.

We gorged ourselves on yummy snack food (ok, I gorged ... She politely ate) from Trader Joes.

And we talked about all the normal stuff when you have a new friend (how you met your spouse, why you chose the career you did, where you're from) ... And the not-so-normal stuff (did you name your baby, how you found out about your loss, and dealing with others' pregnancies after your miscarriage.)

We had a good solid couple of hours to eat, chat, and pamper ourselves with a footsoak and facial.

Afterwards I stayed up far too late watching my new guilty pleasure Drop Dead Diva (thanks Sarah for getting me hooked). At the end of one of the scenes, one of the main characters goes to the cemetery for the first time after a loved one died.

And all of the sudden, I've got tears streaming down my face.

Sure, we'd been talking baby loss all night. Honestly I "deal" with it all day long. I deal with it every time I see some one else post on fb about a pregnancy. I deal with it every time I see little miss. I deal with it every time my period comes. I deal with it every time I look at my flat non-pregnant belly.

It's not like I'm always consciously dealing with it. It's just something I'm aware of. Kinda like knowing what day in the week it is. I don't have to actively think about the fact that it's Saturday to be aware of the fact that we are indeed in the middle of a weekend.

It's just something I know to be true.

But every once in a while, there's a trigger that can't easily be ignored or waved away. And for whatever reason, seeing that cemetery brought so much to the surface.

I wondered what the personalities of those kids might have been like. I wondered if they would have been like Maddy at all, or completely (completely) different. I wondered how my story turned out the way that it did. And I wondered if I'm scarred forever.

Last night I dreamed that someone wanted to know what it was like dealing with other's pregnancies.

[And I say "deal" because it's really something you have to manage. Before our loss/infertility/whatever, I never had to deal with another's pregnancy. I was always happy for them. It came quite naturally, and besides the occasional shower or baby announcement, their good news didn't affect me too much.

Then came loss. And all of the sudden, you really have to learn to deal. Jealous and bitterness tip their hats to me, and say "Come. Stay with us a while. Be our friend." And I have to CHOOSE not to go there. Or at least not to stay there. I have to make myself say a congratulations, and mean it. I have to choose happiness for them, while at the same time, I acknowledge my sadness for me. I have to learn to deal.]

Back  to my dream.  I asked this person (in my dream) to imagine what it was like to have a family vacation planned. Everyone's going. You've planned it for months. It's coming up, and everyone's excited. Talking about excursions, and places to eat out, and clothes to pack.

And then all of the sudden, you find out there's this mistake, some random fluke from the airline, and you can't go anymore. You don't have a ticket. The plane will leave without you.

And you're still surrounded by everyone else making plans. They are sad you can't go, but there's so much to plan, so much to coordinate, that they still chat and talk about it in front of you.

It's like that -- except so much more complicated.

And so, today I really had to learn to deal. I opened my FB newsfeed, and the very first thing was a pregnancy announcement from a friend. And I don't mean, like Facebook friend. I mean friend friend. It stung that I heard about her new baby on the way from Facebook. But it was also a reminder that I don't tend to make it outside of my first trimester. But I was also really happy for her because I know she wanted this. Again -- complicated.

Shortly following that in my newsfeed was a gender reveal. And after that, a birth announcement.

Lots of dealing today. Lots of emotions I have to keep in check.

How do you deal?


  1. Sorry it was a tough night for you. Everyone copes differently. For me, it's seeing pregnant strangers or hearing people I don't know very well talk excessively about their babies/children, that really bugs me the most. Fortunately, these moments are fleeting and I cringe inwardly and then move on. Hugs.

    1. Thanks Marcy. Honestly, I'm glad that the hard nights are fewer and further between than they used to be. And "dealing" with others babies/pregnancies has gotten easier too. I think because I know this time that I will make it through, and my relationship with their babies/with them will survive as well. It's still hard -- but easier. If that makes any sense.

  2. I'm not sure you always need to keep your emotions in check - you have every right to feel how you feel and express those feelings. I like the metaphor in your dream of a trip. i think it reflects the experience of pregnancy loss really well.

    I thought I had been dealing this past month until I found myself bursting into tears walking through a baby clothes department on my way through to home furnishings today. It was odd, its not like i haven't seen tiny babies outfits in other stores since my loss but something triggered it today.

    I am meeting close friends' new baby for the first time tomorrow. I was genuinely happy for them when I heard their news, but maybe thats because they lost their first little boy to at two months to mitochondrial disease. After today I'm a little nervous.

  3. Yes! This is just so well-written. It really sums it all up.

    I recently had a similar experience- an extremely close friend, who knows what I have been through, chose to announce her pregnancy to a large group of us all at once, rather than giving me the 'heads up' beforehand. It hurt me so badly, because I honestly thought she would have known how tough that would be on me. I'm still 'dealing' with that...

    I 'deal' by running. And cooking. I can lose myself in both of those things.

  4. Well written Rach. Very well said. Mixed emotions are so hard to untangle and learning to "deal" is indeed complicated and not an easy fix by any means. I think for me I try to remind myself to live life as fully as I can on behalf of those I have lost (baby, foster daughter, grandparents, close friends, etc). We do all grieve differently and making room for that variety is important as a friend. I would also say honoring those friends who perhaps have also lost and now are expecting or who have just given birth. Putting extra care into their lives is important. Of course it's that whole idea of once when you've been there you can for sure empathize much more. And in other ways such as cooking, baking, planning for the future yet living in the moment, blogging, writing, taking pictures...I've learned to "deal." When I'm unable to write, as I have been unable lately, I experience a huge void so much so I feel unable to function until I can get words out on screen or paper. It's a horrible feeling not being able to deal as I can best.