Thursday, June 01, 2006

Yay rah! Go team!

Today, I had a woman in my office tell me, "You know, the same thing happened to my niece, and they just decided that it wasn't going to stop them." Presumably this was meant to encourage me to try another pregnancy. And I also presume that the follow-up, "I know it's just so heartbreaking," was intended as a means to make me feel better somehow. But I'm thinking something got lost in the translation from when she heard it in her head to what she actually said. Because what I heard was, "It's been almost a month...aren't you over it and ready to try again?" Followed by, "You're a freak...you're all alone...nobody understands." Yes, these are my own insecurities talking and I fully recognize that fact. But you have to admit that there is some kernel of truth in there.

I know Travis was a half-finished boy, but I can't help but feel like this is the only time when people see that as something lacking. I mean, if I had wanted to abort him, people would have said, "But he's half finished! You can't do that!" But he died on his own, so his half-finished status makes him...less? Less worthy of grief? Less worthy of love? You want me to try again? It took me MONTHS to get past the grief from losing Alex. Why would this grief take less than a month? Because Travis was only 20 weeks where Alex was 35 weeks? I'm confuzzled by all of this. Where do you draw the line? When is a boy a boy? When am I allowed to grieve his leaving me with nobody to give my love and hopes and dreams to? What's the cutoff date? Just decide that it's not going to stop me? How nice of a pep talk. I'll tell ya what...decide which of your children you would like to give up, and after they're dead I'll tell you to, "just decide that it shouldn't stop you."

And I have to be honest...if one more person says, "I can only imagine the pain you're going through," or, "It's so heartbreaking," I may just break down and weep at their feet [present blog company excluded]. When I lost Alex, I held onto my sanity by listening to the voices who simply said, "You are not alone." Now...there are so few people willing to stop gawking at the horror of it all and offer that very simple reassurance. I know people can only imagine. I know it's heartbreaking. I know we are alone in navigating this nightmare. I don't expect you to understand. But I sure do appreciate it if you're just able to hold my hand. You don't have to have magic words to fix things...they're unfixable...we all know that. But you can let me know that I'm not alone...and that's enough. Besides which, there are NO appropriate responses when someone is standing in front of you telling you how they think your life is like a freak show. At least in the blogosphere, I've got fellow freaks telling me what a freak show my life is...and that lessens the sting and the need for a polite response. :o)

So now I have my own little cheering section. I'm apparently supposed to be inspired by women who try, try again. Maybe I will be. But it's just too early for that. In fact, I may never be ready for that. Right now, it's just too early to forget my little half-finished boy. Whether you can appreciate it or not, I love him...he is my son...and I grieve over his death. Stop cheering for a moment and just hold my hand...offer a hug...something other than the incessant chatter that's going to be misinterpreted through my fog of sadness anyway.

16 comments:

Bronwyn said...

One hug coming right up... {{{Catherine}}}

Diana said...

****HUG****

Sherry (Hallesmom) said...

Catherine, this may sound weird so I hope it comes out right. When Travis died, I thought to myself - I hope they grieve. Grieve fully like you did for Alex. Not that you loved Travis any less - but since he wasn't full term it doesn't mean your grief is any less. I am 'glad' to see you are fully grieving - and know you totally deserve that. I am sorry though that others don't understand that Travis was your SON. A little boy with 10 fingers and 10 toes. Just like Alex. Just like Sam.

Holley said...

Another hug.

miraclebaby said...

((((Big Hug))))

A lot of people assumed for me that losing a half-baked baby was the same as a miscarriage, therefore, I needed to move on basically. Countless stories of this woman or that woman who had a m/c and then went on to have 12 happy babies. That never helped me in my grief. All that helped was hugs. Just knowing someone was there.....

R said...

I love you, friend!
How's that?

R said...

One other thing - or a couple. I don't view you as a freak show at all. I think it sucks that this happened. Freak show? No way. It could just as easily have happened to me. There's a quote I love tha tI am going to put here...just a second... "Do not rejoice at my grief - for when mine is old, yours will be new."

For some reason that made me think of you and all you're going through. People do tend to look at it like a bad traffic accident. Never realizing it could be them just as easily.

And as far as you needing to move on? I still mourn the loss of Lucy's precious little twin - and she was only 13 weeks. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her.

Half-finished? A boy is a boy is a boy. Those feet, those feet.

I'm rambling.

And as far as trying again...trying again won't bring your boys back. People want you to band-aid your pain so they don't have to look at it.

don't do it.

Lorem ipsum said...

More hugs!

And take your time. We'll be the ones waving the lanterns.

Sherry (Hallesmom) said...

R - that is a very insightful sentence
"People want you to band-aid your pain so they don't have to look at it."
There is so much truth to that.

Kathy McC said...

I remember when I lost my first baby girl, everyone was so sorry. SO supportive. I got lots of cards...and everyone told me that it was such a fluke, there was no way it would happen again. I was an idiot to believe that, so I got pregnant as soon as I could. And then she died, too. Suddenly, no one was there. I got one card. No calls. No nothing. Everyone avoided me and even my Mother wouldn't talk about it. A few people even said things like, "Well maybe it was too soon after the first one." As if it was my fault. When we found out that both girls had chromosome defects, then I started to feel like a freak. Here I was with two dead babies, and no concrete reason for why they had such horrible abnormalities. I chose to stop listening to all of the bullshit. I just decided to listen to my heart, and (what I think was) my girls. They told me when it was time to try again. I don't think I'll ever get past losing my girls, but I don't dare tell anyone that. I smile and say everything is fine. Why wouldn't I want to move on with two beautiful boys?? It's too hard to forget. I don't want to forget my children...but I suppose no one will ever get that (except for you all). So I don't even go there anymore. It's just too painful.

Sarah said...

For you to lose Travis, was a wake up call for me that I can't get too caught up in everyone's "Next time everything will be ok" comments. Because we can never know that. I think people say those things because they don't want to imagine it coule happen to them.

I don't feel like you are a freak show... I feel like you must be at just about the most fragile place a person can be. And a lost of us out here only feel like we are in a slightly better place, and know that we can return to the rawness of new loss again.

Sorry to babble. If anything I say to you hurts you I am sorry, and please let me know... well if you want to (of course!).

Hugs

Ersza said...

But you're *not* alone. I have been following your blog, thinking of you, praying for you, hoping that you will have ease and joy in your life again. But you need to know that you are not the first person to experience stillbirth/late loss twice in a row. My mother-in-law lost three advanced pregnancies (one at 7 months) between her 2nd and 3rd child. You talk is if you need to complete the grieving process before you move on. But it's not like that. It will always be with you. This loss is an event unto itself. It's up to you whether, thirty years from now, this loss will be the end of your story. If it is, a lot of people will feel sorry for you. Trying again is a risk, but it could change the story in a big way.

Catherine said...

You talk is if you need to complete the grieving process before you move on.

No...I talk as though I should be allowed to grieve in my own time and NOT forced to listen to cheerleaders telling me to move on. My son hasn't even been dead for a month! Just because he's the second and was only 20 weeks doesn't mean I'm ready to forget about him already. I just wish people would pay attention to MY feelings and not be so ready and willing to hurry me along away from my grief. Let me grieve...there is no shame in it...it is healing. I'll move along when I'm ready. Thank you very much.

vixanne wigg said...

I have struggled with the very same things that you wrote here...it's strange how people (even myself) don't know how to feel about the "half baked baby." What a weird term...but it's true, isn't it? I've often felt embarrassed using Charlie's name, even though babies at his age now do survive.

I hope you do decide to try again, because I want there to be a happy ending for you. I KNOW that no happy outcome in subsequent pregnancy is going to erase the pain of losing Alex and Travis, but going on what I feel with Gideon it is has taken the sting out. But of course you need to process what you are feeling in your own time, and taking another risk would be very very very hard. I think that my desire and other people's desire to see you try again is probably somewhat selfish...people don't want to believe that something so bad could happen to someone good two times in a row. You having a healthy baby would give THEM hope. But you don't owe that to anybody.

Hugs.

kate said...

(((hugs))))) Yes, what Rach said. And Sarah too.

And you are NOT a freak show...

GLouise said...

Big hugs to you.

People are so strange, huh? They want the quick fix, the happy ending "right away." And then I think that often people just babble away to fill the dead air time, and avoid "awkwardness."

When I saw your comment about the person who offered "the same thing happened to my niece," I am reminded of all the friends who provide me with the "happy endings" to others' infertility woes. "She got pregnant as soon as she stopped thinking about it," etc.
I sometimes think- "Well- great for that person! But what about me?" That doesn't change my situation.

Sometimes people just need to stop talking :-)

Sending you an e-hug.