Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Distance

I think I have to stop talking to my sister.

I stupidly asked her how she was feeling or what she was eating or something. And she told me, and I don't know what I asked, but she started to gush (verbally, as opposed to what I did) -- about how excited her husband is, and how she's been telling people because it's getting hard to hide it (at 11 wks), and she's got the NT next week which will be her first appointment with the OB, as opposed to the RE.

And you know, I asked for it. I asked her questions. I found myself asking questions and I just couldn't stop myself. I heard myself asking questions. And she sounds so happy. SO happy. I remember that. The cautious optimism. She's eating, and showing, and planning. Cautiously, but less than before. I can hear it in her voice. She's getting excited. I almost said something about how it's good she's told people, because if something goes wrong at this point, she'll need the support. It just sort of popped into my head, but I didn't want to spoil her fun. She knows that anything could happen. Though, the doctor had said, go ahead and tell people, the risks of loss now are pretty low, it's safe. This reassured her husband, especially. Safe. Will we ever feel safe again?

I find myself doubting almost everyone, full of hate. Worrying that the worst will happen, not just to me, but to people I love.

Initially, it wasn't so bad talking about her pregnancy, but it's getting more and more difficult with each milestone. Thinking about our NT scan and how that's when C really started to get excited. She's showing. Exactly two months from today, on or around the boys' due date, she'll be where I was when my water broke. Except she'll be big and glowing with a healthy pregnancy. I'll have nothing to relate to her about, at least in regards to pregnancy. I could just not ask her about it. But how could I not?

One of my very close local friends is about 19 weeks now, I think, with her second. We're supposed to get together at some point this week, but I'm already getting anxious about it because she'll be so clearly pregnant. How am I even going to be able to look at her? After I lost the boys, we talked about things, and she asked if it was going to be hard for me to spend time with her since she was pregnant. I told her that probably when she was showing, we would have to revisit the issue, that that would likely be very difficult for me.

It is, but not in the way that I anticipated. Seeing big round bellies on strangers is hard. Seeing them on people I love... people for whom I wish only happiness? How can I say, "No, I can't see you, I can't talk to you." These women understand. They know that it's a way to protect myself from further... I don't even know. But they wouldn't hold it against me. And I am so lucky in this way. And yet.

It's another loss. And I am further isolated.

How do you deal? How do you face -- or not face -- those who are living the dream you lost? Is that melodramatic? Screw it, I'll be melodramatic. How do you face pregnancy all around you, especially close friends/sisters/sisters-in-law, those relationships you've come to depend upon? I know that some have essentially lost family members who don't understand or can't relate or underestimate the magnitude of the loss we've suffered. How do you manage? How do you deal with the fact that they just don't get it? (How can they not get it? I hate people.)

Any ideas?

15 comments:

c. said...

I don't deal. I run. I avoid. I ignore. I know I am hurting a very good friend of mine who is only weeks away from delivering. When I lost C@llum, she was still in her 26th week. As she got further and further along in her pregnancy, I began to avoid her more and more. I just can't bear the thought of talking to her about her live baby, while I have to mourn my dead one. It's like a slap in the face over and over again. It's not her fault. She's experienced her own losses. It's my own failing...and I honestly just can't be that big of a person. I just can't.

I can completely understand how you feel. I'm so sorry that you are having to deal with all of this. There is nothing easy about this, is there? It totally, fvcking sucks.

Newt said...

I can't deal either. If you find a way, please let me know. I'm terrible, and bitter, no matter how close I am to the pregnant woman. Just one more thing that sucks.

Antigone said...

For me it's like picking at a scab. I find myself encouraging people to talk about their children and pregnancies. I just have this morbid fascination with being able to act normal while I'm screaming in agony on the inside.

luna said...

I can completely identify with this. I don't have any sisters, but many SILs and girl cousins who I'm close with, and all of our friends have had babies since we started trying and even more since mine died.

it really sucks. when I have to be around them, I try not to ask. I try to avoid the baby talk because that door does not shut. when it comes up I try not to listen or change the subject and feel like crap. it's a horrible feeling. but I just don't engage. my hub on the other hand is always asking how the pregnant women are, and it drives me f'ing nuts. but he's trying to be "normal" I guess.

there were so many conversations about pregnancy that I didn't join in -- mostly because mine whenever went past 21 wks, and ended badly. I especially hated watching women get past that stage...

many times I've just opted out altogether. that's easier with friends than family. and I do it at the risk of feeling even more isolated and alone. but in the end it's self preservation. I told one good friend who just gave birth that we just can't be there right now, it's just too hard. she'll probably never forgive us but whatever. I'd rather live with that then the alternative.

with family sometimes I often suck it up and cry after. everyone expects it's our childless-ness and infertility instead of my dead baby that I'm still grieving. it's been 2 years, so they think I've moved on...

you can still say it's still so fresh and just too hard for you to hear the details and see her progression. and that you hope she can try to understand but you know she can't, really.

I could point you to a few posts where I've written about this. but dealing with the situations IRL just sucks. sorry this got so long, this one just resonates with me. and I'm so sorry you have to deal with this on top of all your heartache. ~luna

niobe said...

I guess I've just accepted the fact that I'll never be close to my family again and that there are some people (a couple of my brothers, one of my sisters, my mother) that I may never see or speak to. I'm not angry at them and there's nothing they could do to make things better.

It's sad and I wish things were different, but, if wishes were horses....

G said...

I am a chicken shit. I run the other way as fast as possible. I don't deal with it, I hide from it. Occasionally, I email my friends who just had a baby/is pregnant/is about to try for her second. Email. That's about all I can give right now.

If people don't understand it, then too bad. Like Luna said, it's about Self Preservation at this point. I have to look out for A#1: me, because if I lose my small thread of sanity just because I am trying to be "there" for others, then I am lost anyways.

Hell, I even use the bathroom on a different floor when the girl who just had a baby two months ago is here in the office. Color me crazy. Sorry I am no help. I find comfort in the isolated world I have created. For now, at least. I am slowly creeping back out.

Tash said...

Self preservation. If the pot burns, don't touch it. We drifted out of contact with two family members who were pregnant when we lost Maddy and had their children a few months later. One of them is totally understanding; the other now doesn't speak to us and is apparently awaiting an apology for "not sharing in the joy of [his] child." (I'm actually posting about this next.) The extremely cool, kind woman a few doors down who I imagined us getting together to breast feed the kids? Who had her daughter a few weeks after Maddy died? Haven't spoken to her in a year. I know she inquires after me through my husband, and says "whenever I'm ready." Maybe someday I will be.

If you do this, you're a far stronger person than I. If you don't, no one will blame you one iota. Listen to your gut. If you can't, don't.

STE said...

Thank you all so much for your responses! I guess "self-preservation", as Tash says is what's key. I hate that. Seems like life is going to be about making impossible decisions for a while. Do I chose my friend or my sanity, when my friend, up to this point, has been helping me maintain my sanity.

I tend to push things until I can't stand them, too. Perhaps just not talking about things will help. Just staying away.

Luna, one of the very first posts of yours that I read was the one about being the only childless couple in the room and I really related to that. I still think about it (and another post) as I contemplate a potentially childless future.

I assume at some point it gets easier to deal with them. Pregnant people. People with children.

And if wishes were horses...

Ann said...

It's still hard for me to deal with people who got pregnant after me, and I'm even pregnant again.

The only thing that somewhat helps me is thinking about all the other people who have pain I can't even imagine (just like our relatives and friends can't fully imagine our pain). I was lamenting to my former supervisor that people just take pregnancy way too lightly, and I never can. They always say the wrong thing. My supervisor's son committed suicide five years ago. She told me people still make jokes about suicide around her, and it still hurts.

Sometimes, the world just sucks all around.

CLC said...

I have been in avoidance mode. I barely talk to my girlfriends that were pregnant when I was. And my brother and his wife had a baby three weeks ago that I still have not seen. I am extremely close with them, so this seem pretty drastic. Luckily, they have been very understanding and tell me that whenever I am ready to meet him is fine. I don't know if I ever will be. I am aiming for a few more weeks before I try. As for the friends it sucks, but sometimes being straight up honest is the best policy. And if they are true friends they will understand.

luna said...

ste, it's good to know that post resonated with people who have felt the same way. here's another one from january (these were all babies in the family too):
http://lifefromhere.wordpress.com/2008/01/12/another-baby-birthday/

annacyclopedia said...

I just came over from the L&F. I've never experienced a loss, but dealing with my 2 sisters who have both had babies within the last 6 months has been very difficult at times. It's hard for me to hear them talk about the bad stuff, and it's hard for me to hear them talk about the good stuff. And in the midst of all of that, I'm judging myself for not being a better sister, because I should be happy for them.

For me, it's been important to really honour where I'm at and get to know how I'm feeling. And then to use that knowledge to set boundaries when I have to. I definitely don't do it perfectly, but it is empowering and soothing to my heart when I can say what I need - whether that is time away, or just not talking about it so much.

I'm so sorry you're having to go through all of this. I truly hope you can be gentle with yourself in all of this - you are just as important and deserving of consideration and love as any of your family and friends. It's ok to put yourself first right now.

A.M.S. said...

I'm doing serious avoidance right now. I leave the room when the conversation turns to the children. I look the other way when the pregnant bellies come into view. I don't know. Is that the right thing? Am I wrong? I just know that here at 8 weeks since Zoe's death and just four weeks from my due date, I can't handle it.

Kami said...

I did / do what you do. I hide or avoid or whatever I need to do to survive. I also stopped feeling guilty about it. If I was invited to a party where there would be small kids I would say, "I will see how I feel on that day." If I attended and it became to difficult, I would leave.

Other people don't have to understand - you still need to survive and if that means hiding for a while then hide.

We lost our son at 27 weeks about 3.5 years ago. I am now 28 weeks pregnant with donor eggs. I just found out that a couple IRL friends who are newly pg after infertility (first IVF, no losses past 8 weeks) have distances themselves because I am too negative. Because I no longer trust that my pregnancy will create a real live baby, they don't want to be around me. I thought they would understand and support me, but they can't. I just think that it is nearly impossible to understand unless you have lived it.

Sorry for the book from a stranger. I am very sorry for your losses.

meg said...

STE, 99% of people don't get it (family, friends or strangers). I hate to tell you that, but that is what the last 5 years have taught me.

Tash, is right, it is about self preservation. Do whatever you have to do, to SURVIVE. If that means avoiding people or avoiding all talk of pregnancy, then do it.

And I know I shut down my blog, but if it helps, you can email me anytime.