Saturday, March 8, 2008

Rants of a dead baby mom

I have been stewing over this post for some time and have never really given myself the time to put the thoughts that run through my head every day a voice, until now. Most of you probably read Julia's post the other day regarding the lack of connection she felt to the 'freak' pregnant women, the ones who plan and it works out, the ones with ordinary pregnancy complaints, the ones who have never even come close to shopping for our shoes, the shoes we walk in every single day, much less had to try a pair on. It certainly generated a mighty discussion given the number of comments left, many by anonymous posters who, of course, criticized us, the dead baby mafia, for raining on their happy parade.

I took on one of 'them', one of the 'anonymous' commenter's, over at Julia's place, but didn't want to keep doing it there so I figured I'd finally get that stuff out over here, where I can rain shit all over the place cuz it's my place and no one is the boss of me. At least not in my mind:0)

The thing is, I am so God Damn sick and tired of holding my tongue, biting my lip, grinning and nodding during others conversations about pregnancy, babies, family planning etc., I want to scream. I don't know, maybe I am at the 'anger' phase of grief? Or maybe it's just too friggin exhausting to sit in the middle of a conversation and feel like I can't say anything because what I have to add is, most likely, going to be a huge conversation buzz kill. For example, "How many kids do you have?" Out loud answer, "2", in my head "Do you mean alive or all of my kids?" or "Did you have easy pregnancies?" Out loud answer, "Yes." in my head, "Yes they were all easy pregnancies, it was delivering my dead son that was hard." or the real kicker, "Oh, so you just have the two?" out loud answer, "Yep, just the two" in my head, "No those are just the two YOU can see, my other son, my third child, his ashes are at home on my dresser.". And I could go on, you all know what I mean.

I know these are just 'innocent' questions. I know the people asking them are literally just making idle conversation, mindless banter. I know this. But for me, this is no longer a topic of mindless banter. Why can't I just give my "in my head" answer out loud? No one is stopping me. Except me. Why would it be inconsiderate of me to tell a pregnant woman, I flew through two pregnancies and then out of no where my third, my son just died, right inside me, just like that. No drama, no pain, no signs, he just died. Why is it not okay for me to say that? One of the "anon's" who commented and subsequently pissed me off, first because hey, I welcome any one's comments, but at least have the guts to leave your name/id and secondly, this commenter went on to compare us, the dead baby mom's, talking about what can and in fact has gone wrong with a pregnancy to another pregnant woman, to someone standing at an airport telling everyone who was boarding a plane that it might crash and other ridiculous analogies like that. The more accurate analogy, of course, would be for someone who is climbing out of the wreckage of a burning, mangled plane that has indeed just crashed, right next to the plane the other individual is planning on boarding, and the victim is saying, "Hey, FYI, my fucking plane just crashed, be careful, yours might too, cuz I sure as hell never saw mine coming." Is that being a buzz kill? Is that being inconsiderate? Is that "raining on their parade"?

I mean, I think it's inconsiderate of people to have, as Julia or one of the commenter's called them, their "shiny, happy pregnancy" conversations right in front of me. In fact, it pisses the hell out of me. I don't really want bad things to happen to pregnant women, but when one is standing right in front of me, newly pregnant, and I know she knows what I have just been through, and she is gushing about her pregnancy and her bad back and oh, how it's going to make this pregnancy so much harder than her others, I do, literally want to haul off and slap her, hard. My hands itch with anger. My mind screams with rage, "A bad back?!, Jesus H. Christ, a bad back is going to make your pregnancy hard??? Can you not see me sitting here, can you not remember that 6 months ago I was way more pregnant than you and you asked me what we were having? Do you not remember that my baby is dead!!!??? That is what makes pregnancy hard, you insensitive b*tch, not your back.!!!!" This happened to me at my daughters ballet class, one of the other moms, who is also a teacher there, is now, surprise, pregnant. She stopped to talk to one of my girlfriends and the above conversation happened as I sat right next to my girlfriend. Really is it that much to ask, to expect, that they save that chat for when I am not sitting there? And the thing is, my girlfriend, was keeping her voice quiet and had actually turned, so her back was a little to me so I knew she was uncomfortable, but the teacher/mom stood about 3 feet in front of me and was just belting it out. I really felt like she was doing it to me on purpose. You know, "Look at me, I am pregnant and my baby won't die like yours did". I know that's irrational, but I really think that. Just like I sometimes wonder, because of my, quirky 'habit' of secretly wishing bad things on others (see my meme) if maybe others wish or have wished bad things on me, (I'm nothing, if not consistently narcissistic) and if they had wished those bad things on me, if they feel good or bad now that, indeed, something awful has happened to me??

But where was I? Oh yea, me, again. So that whole ballet thing, should I have just said, "You know, I find it really painful to have you stand here, in front of me, and whine, I mean complain, in front of me, about your pregnancy, in front of me, do you think you could fucking move???? Why can't I say that or something like that, only nicer?? Would that make me insensitive?? Is that kalakly being too emotional about her issues???

I don't have it out for pregnant women, I don't. Really, almost all of us here are trying like mad or will be soon, to get pregnant. And I know how badly I want it to happen for all of us. I am reminded of a comment Ashliegh made a while back about not liking being around pregnant women and yet she now has to look at one in the mirror everyday. The sad, bitter irony of her words that day broke my heart. Because none of us will ever, truly enjoy a pregnancy again, like we should, because, obviously we know what does happen. Not just what can happen, what does happen. For all of us, should we get there again, it will be 9 months, hopefully, of quiet anticipation, and 9 months of waiting for the other shoe to fall, and then maybe, if we are really, really lucky, a healthy, alive baby. Maybe Ashleigh and Julia have different perspectives on this, they are already there, I don't know, it's just how I see it now.

So maybe the anger is tied up with a bit of envy. Envy that those 'freaks' don't know, or don't have to know. Envy that they still feel arrogant enough to bemoan the "inconveniences" of pregnancy. Envy that they don't say "I'm pregnant" they say "I'm having a baby!" and they do. And also, a whole lot of sadness because, well, we used to be them too.

This whole notion of having to spend the rest of my life censoring myself is making me crazy. And it's not that I want to spend my whole life talking about dead babies every day either. I just want to feel as though what I have to say is relevant, does matter and that I am not reveling in my grief or stealing someones happiness just because what I have to say is different and yes, sometimes painful to hear. But I have to live with it every single God Damn day of my life, why can't they talk about it for one single conversation??? A perfect example of this kind of BS is what happened to CLC when she tried to share her pictures of her beautiful Hannah with her brother. Jesus, if your own family reacts like he did, how the hell can we expect the general public to treat us? We might as well ask for our letter and refer to one another as Hester.

Finally, yes, if you are still even here, finally, what really pisses me off is that here, where we can be open and brutally honest with one another, our one place of true sanctuary, even here, they find us and feel as though they are entitled to criticize. The commenter's, anonymous of course, who say we are dwelling on it, who felt entitled to jump all over Wabi because she had joked, huh, what joked??, about sticking a fork in a pregnant women's belly (trust me if you read it you'll know exactly what she meant) and then 'anon' goes on to judge and lecture us on how to be more gracious and how we should stop all this "women bashing" and divisive behavior. Give me a fucking break already! When we, the dead baby moms are here, in our self created blogoverse, lamenting our isolation, venting our rage at the disconnect, to use Julia's phrase, we feel from the world we used to live in, do not come here and tell us how what we have to say is hurtful, that we are looking at the glass half empty, that we are denying others a happy, peaceful existence by our words and our actions. Comments like that represent EXACTLY what we are complaining about. We can not speak about the truth, our truth, because it shatters your bubble. It makes you uncomfortable. You want us in your world but only if we behave, sit quietly in the corner and shhh, don't talk about the bad things because they don't happen in your world. They only happened to us, because we must have done something wrong, something to deserve it. You say to us, "Join us, just put on a happy face and then shut up. Oh and yea, so sorry for your loss, would you like a cookie?".

Here's what I think. We are not living in your world, you're living in ours. If you don't like what we have to say, hey, there's the door, don't let it hit you on your way out. Now, pass me my cookie.

There, I feel better. Well, not really, but it's a start.

26 comments:

Coggy said...

I agree completely the comments on others blogs have angered me recently. Not necessarily for just the content, but for the lame spineless anon factor. Have some balls if you're going to comment. This is our space deadbabyland, I don't leave comments on 'normal' womens blogs telling them to give it a rest and to stop being so goddamn naive. I chose not to bother because I don't want to be mean on their blogs. In real life its different especially when people know what has happened to us and are still inconsiderate enough to rub our noses in it; then we should speak up because the world isn't all roses and its not our fault. I don't say congratulations to women that tell me they're pregnant any more. My acknowledgement has been reduced to Good Luck. To the anons I would say leave your name at least and if you can't then don't leave a shifty comment, none of us need to hear it.

CLC said...

That was kick ass rant. And you are so right, these women should at least have the balls to identify themselves if they are going to enter our world and leave comments. I am so over trying to make other people feel comfortable around me and ok with my loss. If my situation makes you uncomfortable, then f- off. I am going to talk about it, I might even cry about it in front of you, and I will never ever say "congratulations" to a pregnant woman again. And not because I am not happy for them, but because I am realist now, and just because you are pregnant doesn't mean you are going to have a living baby. The woman who said we were bashing other women has got it so wrong. It's not bashing people because they are pregnant, it's just wanting people to be a little bit sensitive to our painful situations and not have it rubbed in our face. It's sad that most adults haven't acquired the skill of sensitivity. And sadly, their children won't learn it either.

Tash said...

Wow, I just read through the comments on Julia's post -- don't know if you got to the bottom, but someone there is trying to tell us that pregnant women actually are a sign of hope. Clearly she hasn't spent too much time in these parts, knowing hope is dead and that we want to stick forks in pregnant people, eh?

Here's my deal: having been through infertility and a dead baby, I think everyone needs a big lesson in common civility when talking to friends and strangers about children. It's a two parter: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, and IF YOU OPEN THE DOOR, BE PREPARED FOR WHAT FLIES IN. On the first: don't ask about if the person has children yet (if you've been talking about it for 5 minutes and they've said nothing, they don't), don't ask them if they're thinking about it, or when they will, or anything. If they have a kid, it's fine to comment on something in front of you, but don't go tangents about who the kid looks like, guesses on whether the kid is adopted, if the kid has siblings. NOT YOUR BIZ. Two. If you say stupid ass shit that's none of mine, like how you timed your pregnancy pretty much giving me the 411 about when you ovulated, you can now be prepared for me to dump my unwanted shit on you about how my child died. About how Amnio failed me. About how it felt to remove my child from life support.

Maybe we should take out some public service messages. Now you've got me all pissed off.

Julia said...

Hey, Kalakly, I never thanked you for taking a nice stiff 2x4 to that anon. I meant to, and than got sidetracked by the weekend run. So, sorry and thanks!

Awesome rant over here, too!

B took care of that other anon you saw (the one who thinks just because there are non-bereaved pg women who are thankful, we don't get to talk about being alienated from the world of those who complain about things we perceive as inconsequential), and I just left a response to the one Tash mentioned. I am having a tough time understanding why they feel the need to tell us we are not doing "it" right, even misquoting and misrepresenting things we (ok, I) say, except that maybe it is that thing about the "reason"-- if we can't handle "it" properly, maybe we are the bad ones, and it won't happen to them because they are the good ones. Whatever.

What I said to that last anon is that I don't bring my story up with random strangers, but I won't sensor my answers. I answer that I have one living child. Smart and sensitive people pick up on that and react gracefully, and I do not mind them. I mind the asses who are programmed for only happy answers and can't handle the truth. Emotional cripples, they are, and I won't change my answers to accommodate them. So I am basically with Tash on Teh New Rules (TM).

I am so sorry about that stupid ballet teacher. I would probably keep my mouth shut there too, but oh, I would so resent it, mightily. I am sorry.

Michelle said...

Hear, hear!

If people have another voice, at least leave a name.

Every time I say I have 3 children instead of 4, it's like I'm losing her all over again. They have NO IDEA what it's like to live with a box of ashes.

missing_one said...

there are a lot of trolls out there. They will get theirs some time, in some situation. We all lose people in our lives. Maybe then they will understand, just a little.

Death is so evident in life, you cannot go on forever without losing someone close to you. We had the unfortunateness of losing our children, NOT in the right order of things....but then again, my husband's coworker just lost her husband in a car wreck a few months ago......

they are ignorant. and we all know, ignorance is bliss. they will regret their words someday..and regret..you cannot get back

charmedgirl said...

i was one of the people who didn't think having a dead baby counted, like at all. now, obviously, i feel differently, but i know others don't. i know it's a little shocking for them to hear me say i had a dead baby on her due date in september, but they easily get over it and i get to say it...and say it, i do. every time. i don't give a shit who it is. and hey, if they see me again, they'll already know my baby's dead. i don't have time for the bullshit in my mind about when, where...if we talk about kids, you will find out one of mine is dead.

"...none of us will truly enjoy a pregnancy ever again..."

honestly, i never did enjoy a pregnancy. i was miserable and hated ever minute of it. i think, at this point, if i ever had a chance at enjoying a pregnancy, it would be (maybe, possibly) a next one, if i (maybe, possibly) could even get to again. one of the most painful things about this dead baby trip for me is the heart crushing stabbing memories of how i never appreciated her when she was actually alive. if i get another chance, you better believe i will be happy every minute i get a chance to be.

Beruriah said...

Wow amazing Kalakly! My first time here and I agree with every word. Maybe next time we should just say, Stuff it and go to hell.

Becky said...

I'm so damned sorry that other people treat you like this. It's so unfair, and it's crappy, and it's terrible. I don't understand where people get off treating other people so shabbily, and I think it's complete crap. I was an OB nurse for a long time, so I don't even pretend that every pregnancy has a happy outcome or that life is remotely fair.

It's just not.

It's just not.

It's not, and I'm sorry.

Genuinely sorry.

And I would be MORE THAN HAPPY to lay the smack down on these people. For serious.

meg said...

That was one amazing kick ass rant. Truly. I'm going back to Julia's to see what I missed.

Amy said...

Totally agree, I think you took the words right out of my head and put them all in your blog!

I read the comments at Julia's and started to rant myself. I decided better off to leave alone as I had too much to say. Just as you did. I agree with the 'anon' thing, can't they have balls to leave a name. "Bashing", WTF, we don't bash around here. We may talk about it but we are the most compassionate group of women they will ever find! I like you am incredibly dismayed at the fact that they can still find us here in our sanctuary of sanity. I wish we could put a lock on the door!

I appreciate your rant and agree with all of it. May, I please have my cookie now?

kate said...

Excellent rant! You are so totally right! OMG did those anon people piss me off.

By the way i am not sure if i have left a comment for you before so i should say i am sorry for the loss of your son. Mine also died that way -- in utero, no warning, no reason, ashes on my dresser. Which reminds me i need to go clean the dresser top & dust them off. Five years of dusting off my kid's urn and it still bothers me to leave him out when people ask how many i have, but i do leave him out now because it is easier. I tried the 'X living children' answer for awhile but eventually it also took too much energy.

Anyway my blog is invite only but you are welcome, just email me if you want an invite.

G said...

Rant on sista! I went over and read those comments and didn't get fired up because you already did for me :)

Although I will say... I will admit... I was that stupid obnoxious pregnant woman. Really, why? It took me so long to get pregnant, I just got so wrapped up in myself. I never stopped and thought about what another woman might feel. Ok, wait, not never. But mostly.

I wonder how many people I hurt. :(

Angelisa said...

awesome rant. you nailed so many of the unfair situations that we find ourselves in when our mouths stay shut. and there are so many!!! i wish i had the balls sometime to be "not so nice" and not so accomodating to other people's ignorance, insensitivity, and awkwardness around this.

unfortunately, life experience seems the best teacher of compassion.

Antigone said...

Now I'm headed over to Julia's.

If any of you want to know who anon's are in the future, there's a straightforward way to set it up on your blog if you're not doing it yet btw..

kalakly said...

Tash, You are so right! We should make a "Dead Babies for Dummies" manuel. That'd be a bestseller no doubt!

Julia, I carry a big stick and I'm not afraid to use it...people say I often weild my honesty like a blunt instrument, I'm glad I didn't offend:0)

Meg, Let me know how fired up you get, it's not pretty over there!

Antigone, DO TELL!!!

Ashleigh said...

Amen to all of it. I actually applauded as I read this. Man, kalaky, do you ever give good rant! =)

Sometimes now I wish our society would go back to Victorian times and earlier when pregnancy wasn't discussed in polite company. Maybe it was that way because loss was so prevalent then and more woman than not were deadbabymamas...

ms. G said...

Bravo. That is all I can say. BRA-freaking-VO.

niobe said...

I loved your eloquent, passionate post and the equally heartfelt comments.

Depressionista said...

I agree with what you've said and what Julia said on her blog. I read through the comments and just shook my head at the 'normals.'

While I was reading your post I got to thinking...whose idea was it anyway that pregnancy was an experience to "enjoy"? I mean, that has to be a pretty recent concept, since 100 years ago there was a pretty good chance the mother, the baby or both wouldn't make it through the ordeal.

Here's what I think: I think all the happy pregnancy talk reinforces the idea/social construct that pregnancy is all about feeling good, enjoying it, having the experience you want, planning nurseries and thinking about baby names, etc.

And I think that's a little bit dangerous because, personally, I think it spills over into the medical profession--or the medical profession supports it. The OB office where there's photos of all the happy babies all over the walls. The way the doctor happily announces "Now that you're 12 weeks, you're in the 'safe zone'! Fewer than 2 percent of pregnancies are lost after 12 weeks!" The way the pregnancy books skim over all the possible complications with two paragraphs and a "it probably won't happen to you so don't worry about it" tone. So it's our doctor's responsibility to warn us about all the things that might happen to us in pregnancy? Good luck with that. I never once heard a doctor say the words 'incompetent cervix' to me before I came in bleeding on the day I lost my baby, and EVEN THEN the resident who was examining me brushed me off with a "it's probably just a little blood clot." Until she saw that I was 3 centimeters dilated and the amniotic sac was bulging into the birth canal.

Anyway. That's what pisses me off about shiny/happy preggo talk. Sorry I went on so long. Probably should have written a post on my own blog but once I got the juices flowing I couldn't stop! Thanks Kalaky, for standing up for us.

That attitude patronizes women. That attitude keeps important information from women and puts their lives and their babies lives in danger.

Depressionista said...

Forgot to add that roughly three months after losing my girl, an annoying pregnant woman who knew about my loss told me all about the birth of her other kid. She actually told me it was "traumatic" because of the emergency C-section. I just wanted to say: Try walking out of the hospital after having your baby die. Now THAT'S traumatic. Bitch!"

c. said...

Fab-U-freaking-lous post.

I told one of my pregnant clients the other day that I had 2 live children and 1 baby born still. I felt vindicated in some weird way. I thought to myself, at the time, I wasn't going to just ignore his existence for her happy, pregnant little benefit. No fucking way.

Tricia said...

I basically want to copy your post and put it on my blog.

Thank you.

Cheryl said...

I thoroughly believe in the powers of the mind and that if you have so much bitterness (bitterness that I'm not saying you don't have a right to) that it does affect you physically. Like saying that having a healthy baby is really really lucky -- that's not true, that is the higher percentage outcome. You were really, really unlucky. And it f-ing sucks. And you should punch holes in walls and get up and leave happy-pregnancy conversations if you want to. If only you could meditate somehow and find a place where you don't have to send hate and bad vibes toward people and babies who haven't hurt you intentionally. I completely understand, I was there, too, and it was an ugly unhealthy place to be. It's terrible to say "good luck" instead of "congratulations" to someone who announces a pregnancy. How sad is that? You said you had two other children -- wasn't that a happy thing? But if someone is saying something insensitive like the casual "so, are you going to have another?" then just say what I say: "if it happens it happens and please don't ever ask me that again!" It's ok to be honest. It's a stupid question that people ask all the time. They mean well -- they are saying that they love you and want to meet a child of yours, or if you already have children that they are so wonderful you should make more. But they don't understand the turmoil if they haven't been through it. I say it with a smile, but they get the hint.

Take care of yourself, sweetie. I know it's a rant and you have lots of happy moments. But as much as you want someone else to be considerate of you, be considerate of them. It's ok to think positive about a pregnancy and it's ok not to scare people just because you're mad. It's mean. It's just like your airplane. Flying is still the safest way to travel, even if you've just walked away from a wreck.

Cheryl said...

I thoroughly believe in the powers of the mind and that if you have so much bitterness (bitterness that I'm not saying you don't have a right to) that it does affect you physically. Like saying that having a healthy baby is really really lucky -- that's not true, that is the higher percentage outcome. You were really, really unlucky. And it f-ing sucks. And you should punch holes in walls and get up and leave happy-pregnancy conversations if you want to. If only you could meditate somehow and find a place where you don't have to send hate and bad vibes toward people and babies who haven't hurt you intentionally. I completely understand, I was there, too, and it was an ugly unhealthy place to be. It's terrible to say "good luck" instead of "congratulations" to someone who announces a pregnancy. How sad is that? You said you had two other children -- wasn't that a happy thing? But if someone is saying something insensitive like the casual "so, are you going to have another?" then just say what I say: "if it happens it happens and please don't ever ask me that again!" It's ok to be honest. It's a stupid question that people ask all the time. They mean well -- they are saying that they love you and want to meet a child of yours, or if you already have children that they are so wonderful you should make more. But they don't understand the turmoil if they haven't been through it. I say it with a smile, but they get the hint.

Take care of yourself, sweetie. I know it's a rant and you have lots of happy moments. But as much as you want someone else to be considerate of you, be considerate of them. It's ok to think positive about a pregnancy and it's ok not to scare people just because you're mad. It's mean. It's just like your airplane. Flying is still the safest way to travel, even if you've just walked away from a wreck.

iheartchocolate said...

I can't fathom critisizing a woman on her own blog-after such heartbreak. These people should be ashamed of themselves. You can always look up their ip adresses and compare notes-findem and smackem!

I am sorry about the ballet class lady too. She is a sad woman, indeed.