Thursday, October 22, 2009

Silence is golden...

I was talking with a mom from my daughters school today. She doesn't know 'the story'. She met me last year, right around this time. I was 9 months pg. She saw me only as one of them, the shiny, happy them. Today she was holding Cason and commenting on how quickly a year had passed and she couldn't believe he was going to be one in just a few weeks. Then she started asking more questions, the ones we all dread. Questions that a few years ago would only have been idle chatter, how many, how old, what grade, smile, nod, smile, nod, go on with your day.
Now, of course, those questions trigger the inner dialog in my head. The 'outloud' answer and the 'inside voice' answer. And for me, even more sensitive to the ever prying nature of those questions is the age gap between my daughter and Cason. 7 years to those looking in from the outside. And I can see them wondering and wanting to ask was Cason an oops baby.
Most people don't ask it, but I know they think it. She had that look. Not a judging look, she is really a sweet lady from what I know of her, but still, I knew when she asked me the ages of my others, the thought had crossed her mind.
And before I could think it through I said, there was another one, a baby boy, we lost him in between her and Cason. He was stillborn. And I watched her face transform. And I watched the air disappear and I felt bad, I felt like I had to fix the damage I had just done. So I quickly blurted out,over her attempt to offer words of sympathy, "so Cason is our magic baby". I have no idea WHERE that phrase came from. And I hated the sound of the words as soon as they left my mouth. And I hated myself for trying to gloss over Caleb. And I hated even being in that room for another second.
I don't know what I expected, I don't know what I wanted, I don't know what was going on in my head. I do know, it will be a long time before I let myself go 'there' again.
Will I ever figure out how to answer those damn questions?

16 comments:

Michele said...

Maybe I'm a bitch, but I feel like if people are open enough to ask they questions, then they have to be open enough to get the answers. Dont feel bad. You gave her honesty. It's a shame that she wasnt able to embrace it.

And he is a magic baby. :) They all are. :)

Coggy said...

I've got more awkward with those questions. I thought somehow they would get easier to answer and I would, by now, have perfected my answer.
Not so. Mainly I avoid the answers. Sometimes I use them like verbal slap in the face when I feel people are being too smug with me or when I feel people need to STFU.
Not a nice thing to do I know.
My point being I'm still stuggling over here too.

angie said...

I have those moments where a word that I absolutely reject like angel, miracle, blessing or magic leaves my lips, and I want to go back in time and explain, "I'm just trying to make you feel better." And I think that is it, those moments I think I have practiced in my head are entirely different each and every time in real life, depending on my mood, the audience and the context. With love.

charmedgirl said...

HA! just yesterday at the post office the postal lady asked me if the three were my only children, and i said yes. recently, i realized that they are the only children i HAVE, so yeah, they are my only children. she said, "well if you have another one it'll be so easy!" and then i told her i did have another one, but she died. she got that look too. everyone does. when that happens, i say, "it happens, ALL THE TIME." because it DOES. like, wipe that shocked look of your fucking face! IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME.

it happens all the time.

and yeah, magic baby is kinda weird, but whatever! that's what came out. caleb is magic, too. we all know that!

Ya Chun said...

i need better replies too - I need a little cheat sheet, or notes on the palm of my hand

Shannon Ryan said...

strange how those ?'s catch us off guard.. even though we go over the answers in our head so often..

Sue said...

Since I have no other children, and I'm not pregnant yet, I don't get a lot of questions. Not yet.

But I do talk about it. More than I think many people are comfortable with. In my research class, I was part of a group talking about phenomenology as a research method, and, in answering a question from a classmate, I talked about grief: it comes from different events, us DBMs all have had different experiences, but our feeling of grief is very similar.

Somehow the air changes when I mention it. Loss and infertility, too. I imagine some are thinking, This, again? Does she have to keep bringing this up? Again?

People get uncomfortable, and somehow, that is satisfying. Not very nice, but then, so what?

It's such a hard thing to discuss -- I find myself torn, sometimes, between not wanting to talk about it and then wanting to get in people's faces with it.

You'll find what works for you, I think. Something that you can live with, can be at peace with. I know you'll get there. This is still all so new.

Jess said...

I'm trying to find a way to answer the question myself. A few weeks ago I started grad classes, a girl was making small talk with me & brought up the fact that I had mentioned my son the night before when talking about her kids. She then spent a few minutes talking to me, not really asking how many kids I had, but was obviously waiting for me to tell her. She started out with, "Yeah, you mentioned your kids...uh, kid. Or kids. I don't know how many you have. One...two..." & she just trailed off. I stood there feeling stupid. I didn't want to bring it up the 2nd day of classes in a room full of strangers, so instead I just let her ramble while I pretended to not notice she was waiting on me to tell her how many kids I have.

I could just claim Jules. I could claim them both. But either answer brings guilt. If I just claim Jules, I feel guilty for the son I don't claim. If I claim both, I feel guilty that I've just met someone & brought them into a depressing convo they never thought about before.

Standing there stupid is usually easier at this point.

CLC said...

I struggle with this as well. I don't know why I care that people seem uncomfortable. In fact, my yoga instructor (not that I go anymore) asked me how old my first was after Denis was born. He never asked me before so I never offered anything up. So I said, oh, she passed away. He looked sticken and said I'm sorry. And I felt so bad for the way he looked I said very fast "It's ok. I mean it's not ok, but you know what I mean, right". WTF? I told someone that the death of my daughter was ok. It came out so fast, I had no control.

I like Charmie's answer about it happening all of the time. I think I might try that one of these days. I think we all should.

Aunt Becky said...

I LOVE "magic baby" and I have no idea how you are supposed to answer that one in polite company. I struggle with how to explain Ben's parentage without making people shit themselves with apology.

Rivalen said...

My first day of grad class I ended up sitting near a girl that had a baby right about the same time Joel was stillborn. She just kept talking about her son, as she should, and everyone joined in with stories of their children. I just sat there, wanting to share, wanting to tell them to shut-up, wanting to enjoy fellow parents, wanting to acknowledge both my beautiful boys without raining on the class mood. So I sat there quietly and eventually nodded off, as is my tendency in class. Now, as I've decided who annoys me and who doesn't in that class, I find myself tempted, just as someone else has said in this post, to get them to STFU by playing the DB card. I don't, of course, but the guilty thought crosses my mind.

I asked off work for a trip to visit friends, specifically friends that helped us through the time around Joel's death, and in my request-for-leave I had to give a reason. Considering the school board would be reluctant to let me go to Vegas for a week, I included my reason for visiting these friends. I didn't play it up too much, so I don't think I played the DB card, but I still feel a bit guilty for it.

but hey, this is why we all get together online, because no one knows how to talk about this. Good to know we aren't alone in wanting to share the words we don't have.

G$ said...

Wait, what... I am supposed to talk to people? I usually just look at them like I can't hear them and then walk away.

And they think I'M the freak!

Magic leprechaun baby, that Cason.

loribeth said...

Well, he IS a magic baby. : ) But I know what you mean. And I don't think I'll ever be able to figure out how to answer those questions either.

Amy said...

Haven't been here in a while...reading thru comments made me realize...YOU ARE NORMAL! Not that I didn't think that before! Funny how that inner voice won't escape and say what you want it to on the outside!

Rainbow, Miracle, MAGIC...yeah, he's magic, Cason is magic and he carries along with him Caleb who is also Magic!

Hugs to you! Much love and peace!

Amy said...

I guess, I should clarify the Caleb being magic too unless you wish to ponder that one for yourself then skip the below!

I think he's magic 'cause he's with all of our others keeping us tied together still even though some have living Magic babies and some of us not even an idea of when/if it will happen for us.

Yes, your Cason is magic...But I do believe all of our babies are magic! Heck, I'm amazed any of us in blog land have made it this far...magic or not...whatever you make it out to be...they are words. Maybe not the ones we would have chosen had the inner voice had the choice but they are the ones we use.

Make any sense or am I just babbling here??

Again, hugs, love and peace!

Mommy (You can call me OM) said...

It seems in an attempt to make things more comfortable for others, we somehow risk making it appear as if our lives can just be tied up with a nice pretty bow or some sort of happy movie ending. I don't know how to answer 'the question' either. So far, I don't think I've ever not included E because just the thought of doing so makes me ill. But there just is no easy way to answer it, is there? I wish I had the answer.

Peace, my friend.