Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Old wounds

Recently I had occasion to revisit the "miscarriage years," 2004-2006. A friend of mine is experiencing heartbreak in this area, and I bought her some alcohol to dull the pain.

And I started talking and reliving a bit of that time. I haven't been back there in a long time. It took me 2 1/2 years start to finish to get Brody. It seemed like an eternity. I remember the first time I figured out how long it took us to have a child, and thinking how short a time frame that was. I think that every single time I say "it took us 2 1/2 years." That can't be right, can it? Two and a half years felt like four lifetimes, at least.

And now Brody's been here 2 1/2 years, and it feels like he's been here my whole life.

Some friends of my husband sent out an email this week joyfully announcing they are expecting. And my reaction? "You naive, stupid fools."

Nice, aren't I?

I have found I have two categories of pregnant people: people I like and respect, whether I know them that well or not, and everyone else. If I like and respect you, then none of the following applies. If you are everyone else, the following does apply to you, and there is pretty much nothing you can do to change it. Because in the truest sense, this has nothing to do with you.

This is what I do, what I cannot stop myself from doing, what I am compelled to do, when I find out if someone in the second group is pregnant:

1. First, my heart sinks into my stomach. You know that feeling. You get it when you get bad news. I got it when I read about people dying and I got it when I found out a friend didn't conceive this month.

2. Then the voice inside says, "Another one." As if there are only a certain amount of healthy pregnancies allotted and allowed on this planet, and if someone else gets one, then my chances for having one decrease.

3. Calculate how far along they are to see if they are out of the 1st trimester. If they are not, I shake my head and wonder how anyone could be so naive (I was this naive once. Once.) (This does not apply to you who just announced on her blog, because you are in the first group).

4. Figure out how long they've been trying. If you have been trying for a while, say six months or more? Then you get a great big well-wish from me. If not? If you are the fertile perfect person who says "I'd like to get pregnant in January, because I already have a newborn Halloween costume picked out," and it happens for you justlikethat? Probably I will bear some resentment towards you.

(Caveat: if you have lost a pregnancy, or have had trouble conceiving, have a sick child, you are automatically exempt from every single one of my petty grievances. You are part of the sisterhood. You have street cred, as it were. You know what heartbreak is. You, I'm truly happy for you)

And I'm not even trying to get pregnant. And I already have a child. Which, to me, makes me all the more ridiculous for torturing myself.

So this is the question I've been asking myself since I saw the latest email with ultrasound pics attached: will I ever read an announcement of a pregnancy and not feel a twinge of resentment, a dollop of envy, and smidgen of heartache?

14 comments:

Greg said...

I appreciate your comment on my blog, and I enjoy how honest you are in this post. I hope you have a great day.

Carol said...

I am only a mom of four months (well, he's four months old as of yesterday and was born "perfect" in my eyes but not the medical world's eyes) and I know exactly what you mean. It hurts me to see my younger cousins have 3 healthy "perfect" kids and I wonder what I did to make my son the way he is. Thank you for sharing.

tanya or MOM said...

I think you will always have these feelings but they will dull. Us moms who have been through tha ringer and back have a different way about us. It took me 2 years of fertility treatment for Nodin.... We are a different breed i guess you could say (in a good way) :) hugs to you

Dawn said...

I have never been in your shoes, but I think all of your feelings seem completely normal and honest! I am sure I would feel the same way, if I had been through all that you have!!

Hef said...

Love the honesty.

When I got pregnant, my then boss and his wife (both great people) had been trying for years. It was such an odd feeling for me to break the news to them.

I sometimes feel guilty still when I see these wonderful people struggling to have children and here I am- all young and naive and undeserving- with a totally unplanned (but absolutely perfectly incredible) child.

Life is funny.

Anonymous said...

I can empathize with your outlook, and can understand why you might be bitter about some things, but every conception/pregnancy/ delivery and child-rearing story is unique, with its own challenges. I don't think being happy about conception, or sharing that joy makes for a naive, stupid fool. Optimism and compassion are what we all need, now more than ever, as hard as it can be at times. I personally wouldn't wish any pregnancy-related hardship on anyone, or think any less of anyone who was fortunate enough not to experience them. Just my anonymous 2 cents.

Dawna Rockey said...

Oh Christine, I'm not sure that I could be involved in this conversation since I'm the mom of six children. I'm hoping that having my sweet Benjamin places me into the sisterhood. I do however remember feeling a certain way when Benjamin was six months old. You see, because of Ben's Moebius (facial paralysis)he doesn't have the ability to show any facial expression. He is now able to show a small smile from the right corner of his mouth, but that didn't develop until 6-8 months of age. So I remember receiving pictures of my niece who was just two weeks younger than Benjamin and there she was with the biggest, cutest smile I had ever seen. At first I was so angry and jealous and bitter. I remember crying my eyes out as I looked at her pictures. At times I couldn't bring myself to even look at them. Of course as Ben's smile, small as it was, began to develop, the bitterness began to fade. I would kick myself because here I was jealous of my precious nieces smile. Her beautiful smile! How selfish of me!!! I had to give myself time to heal.

Christine said...

Anonymous:
Do not misunderstand. I have never, ever, ever wished miscarriage or pregnancy loss on anyone. Good God! You are misinterpreting my post. What I wish is that there was more compassion and support for women who have been through pregnancy loss and fertility challenges. It's not something that goes away, especially when the ramifications of the reasons for multiple miscarriages prevent you from having more children, as is the case in my life. I am still and will probably always be just a little heartbroken, and trying to process all of the emotions with losing 4 children, even after having one child, and knowing we'll probably never be able to have another.

Christine said...

Dawna,
You're in the sisterhood because you do not seem the type to take anything for granted. And you have Benjamin. And those feelings you had about your niece's smile. That's exactly what emotion I was talking about (or trying to explain) that it seems like (in my experience) people do not talk about enough. xoxo

Christine said...

Hef,
I agree you are young, but neither naive nor undeserving. I don't think anyone is undeserving (ok, maybe Octomom). Everyone deserves easy conception, with healthy babies to follow. And you don't take anything for granted, and are wiser at your age than I will probably ever be at any age. For me, I guess I'm astounded that I still have these feelings of resentment, but please know, the resentment is all about ME, not someone else. Even though it has to do with someone else's pregnancy.

Christine said...

Carol, Congratulations on your son! I'm so sorry he has medicall issues. But I know that you didn't do anything to cause them. He chose you for his mom for a reason - because you are the best one for him. That I know too.

Kristin said...

Wow! I love this post! I wonder the exact same thing, "will I ever read an announcement of a pregnancy and not feel a twinge of resentment, a dollop of envy, and smidgen of heartache?"?

I lost a son, Ethan Hunter, at 6 1/2 months pregnant (had to be induced and go through 18 hours of labor with NO epidural BUT was blessed with the chance to hold him for a short while and see his beautiful face) and then 6 years later when Gavin Hunter (notice the same middle name :) was born with his medical issues, I always seem to get the same twinge of jealousy/resentment/heartache feeling when anyone announces that they are preggo. I don't know if I will have any more children, so I especially get kindof sad about that.

But I want you to know that I SOOO "get you" on this post! I wish we lived close and could "hang out". :)

Mommy2JL said...

I have one very happy and very healthy son and I can't even look at pictures that my pregnant friends post on facebook!

The first time I was pregnant I miscarried at 24 weeks.
I waited until I was 28 weeks pregnant with my son to tell anyone.

I haven't been trying to get pregnant and despite my best birth control efforts I ended up that way anyway and miscarried at 5 weeks.

Now, I'm constantly doing the math.
Constantly.
Why? Who knows.

*sigh*

None of my friends were ever pregnant before I was and now that they all are they all come running to me for the answers to all their questions.
I should feel flattered but I don't.
It makes me hate them -- and I know that is a very strong feeling and harsh statement to make but it's exactly how I feel. I don't want to but.. well, you know..

I stare at every pregnant woman I see, I go through all of my old ultrasound photos and study pictures of my very pregnant self from 2 years ago, I don't try but I *HOPE* that I end up pregnant every time Jamie and I sleep together. I guess it just feels like it would fill an empty place or two in my heart..

I hope that one day, soon, I can read pregnancy announcements and not feel resentment, envy or heartache.

I think it's normal to feel but I'd still rather not.

nic @ http://blog.singlemominthecity.ca

Christine said...

Kristin and Nic,
Thank you thank you for sharing your stories. Your approbation means the world to me, truly.
Thank you.