I have, rather unexpectedly, run across a new phrase that I hate.
"Gone on to have a subsequent child." (or phraseology close to that)
It's not that there is anything WRONG with this phrase per se. It's just that it makes me feel...I don't know...
Gone on...to lose another baby.
Gone on...to be even sadder than before...more pitiful.
I know it's offensive to people who have lost a child to assume that a subsequent child lessens the pain at all. But, quite honestly, that is a kind of feeling of offense I would love to be able to take part in.
Everyone has those stories. You know the ones I'm talking about.
My aunt had a stillborn baby and went on to have three healthy children...
My grandmother had three stillborn babies and went on to have two healthy girls...
My college roommate's first cousin twice-removed had a stillborn baby and an early miscarriage before going on to have SIX health children.
I don't know why it's sad to think that nobody will ever say, "She went on to have x number of babies." What will people say about me? How will they refer to me?
Not...gone on to something better.
Not...gone on to find even a sliver of her previously anticipated happiness.
She was crushed by the sadness of two stillbirths? (Don't I sound like some sort of character in a historical romance novel?)
I was twelve or thirteen, at Girl Scout day camp, when I participated in a writing exercise predicting my own future. Where will you be in 2001? I was going to be 29, married, and have two kids and a dog. Today I am 35, married, with one living kid, two dead kids, and six dogs, three cats, two horses, and seven fish. If I predicted my future today...it would be about the same.
And it's not really bad. But I can't help but feel sorry for myself. A phase of my life is over before it barely got started. What I "go on" to do from here will always be marked by that turning point in sadness and loss. No matter what success I create...no matter what happiness I find...it will always carry with it the footnote of what might have been in its place. History (and I have no delusions of grandeur here...I merely mean personal family history) will forever remember the distinction for me.
When family remembers me, they will remember that I went on to...find happiness in something other than what I truly wanted. Will they know why? Will they understand? It was because I had to. Because I was afraid. Because I had no choice. Because I couldn't risk myself. Because that was the only alternative for me.
***Email from a friend that says exactly what I was trying to say...only better.***
I can imagine how the "gone on to . . ." phrase must sting. It's like the "happily ever after" at the end of every fairy tale. No matter what the hero or heroine goes through, there's the silver lining at the end. "Gone on to . . ." makes it sound so perfect, so pain-free and wonderful. It makes it seem as if, well, if you can't say "gone on to have another child," then you don't get your happily ever after, while almost everyone else around you does. I wish I had something to say to make it hurt less, or to assure you that one day you will feel you have "gone on to" find a measure of happiness and fulfillment. You've already "gone on" to do wonderful things -- it just isn't "happily ever after" at all, though, is it?
*On a somewhat related note: I think I'm going to take a little break from reading other blogs for a while because I can't help but compare myself to the women I read about...and it just hurts too much. So if you don't hear from me in your comments sections, please know that I wish you nothing but happiness...but I have to engage in a little self-preservation before I lose my mind completely.