Monday, August 21, 2006

Issues, issues

Do we all have those benchmark children in our lives? I do. I know many other dead-baby moms have them. Those babies that were supposed to be best friends with our babies, since they had due dates a few weeks apart.

I saw my benchmark child for the first time this past weekend. 19 months makes that less tragic for me. So, this is what a 19 month old looks like. This is what a 19 month old behaves like. This is the little person who might have been our son's friend. Huh. There you go.

Surprisingly, I wasn't all that distraught by the experience. I have known for months that our paths would cross - this child belongs to a close relative, after all. I did expect to be more traumatized.

In many ways, I am lucky to have only one benchmark child to live the rest of my life watching. How many of you have half a dozen kids that are the age that yours would have been? We are the childbearing age, with friends and family of childbearing age. Which means that we can mark what we are missing by watching what others have.

I will admit, however, that I don't have much inclination to get to know this child. I don't have a distaste for her, just full-fledged disinterest. It doesn't help me in any way to agonize over the might-have-beens that are so obvious when I see this little person dance around. The walking, the talking, and the chubby legs. I am much better off not thinking about it all.

I have wondered (and am glad to know that there are women who can answer from their perspective) if Mommies who have older living children have the same obsessive-compulsive desire to monitor the growth of the benchmark children in their life. I am simply curious. I know I expend a lot of energy wondering what it might be like to have a 19 month old. Perhaps if I had experienced having a 19 month old before I would spend less time wondering what it would be like and actually mourn what it is that I know I am missing. What do you think?

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Today marked the end of holidays for me. Which meant that me (and my blossoming tummy) went to work for the first time in several weeks. Which meant that there were more people to tell. I think that I was disappointed that there wasn't more excitement at my announcement. I am so bi-polar on this issue - I want people to leave me alone and then they do and I am disappointed. My department is almost exclusively made up of men, which may account for the lack of interest. And, curiously, 3 of the men have had pregnancy losses in their families. So perhaps they were intentionally respecting my privacy. Or perhaps my caution and lack of exuberance set the tone for the whole exchange.

It amused me, however, to have a casual conversation in the cafeteria with two women who spent half of their time glancing at my belly. They will see confirmation of their suspicions soon enough. I have decided to let their eyeballs do the discerning, rather than make some sort of formal announcement to every casual acquaintance that I have at work. Doing that would only open the door to conversation that I may not yet be prepared for. I need a chance to get used to talking to people I trust about this baby before I deal with people I barely know.

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This baby is getting a bit more active. I thank everything for each of those little movements that say there is a little life in there. It is so hard to believe sometimes. I am just killing time until the 20 week ultrasound. I wonder if that will make it all a little more real. I just can't even imagine that in 23 weeks or less there may actually be a child of my blood living in this house. It's like I am not even scared about anything - I just have a really hard time believing it at all.

This is a crazy, crazy world that we live it.


P.S. I haven't seen Snakes on a Plane, nor do I expect to ever see it. Seriously, it looks like a terrible movie. So I get no end of pleasure making a mockery of something that I know nothing about...

3 comments:

chaos_girl said...

I have the reverse situation. We lost our daughter at 18 months of age- but she had a younger sister already born. So each year, now that her younger sister is older then her- I think, 'This is how my eldest would have looked if she had seen this birthday.' For the most part, it's easily dealt with- only with the big milestones do I choke. Like the first day of school...

kate said...

I don't have alot of childbearing friends or a very big family so i don't actually have a milestone child for Nicolas. Well, yes, one exists, but he is my father's wife's first grandchild (from her first marriage) and they live on the west coast now so i have never actually seen him. Thank GOD. She (father's wife) sent me their mass-produced christmas letter that first christmas with all of PJ's pictures and blah-blah. Dumb bitch. I called her on it too.

Aaaaaaaanyway...

Actually my 'milestone' child is one we met 2 years ago, when Alexander started at his school at the time and one of his new friends had a little brother. This little brother is about a year older than Nicolas would be but they are a petite family so he is about the same size. We have become friends with this family (Chloe just *adores* the little boy) and hang around with them fairly often, and it doesn't bother me at all. Only sometimes does it hit -- like last weekend when i was pushing them *both* on the swings in the playground. But it is okay.

Julie said...

I don't really have that benchmark child. Not really. There are times where we are in playgroup situations with Evan, and there is a kid there that is about 3 and a half, and sometimes, I think, this is the age Caleb would be. But not always. But I *do* distance myself from those kids. I stay away from them, if I can.

For me, I constantly look at Evan and wonder if this is what Caleb would have been like. Even though Evan is the younger brother, he's all I have to compare Caleb to. I don't do it AS OFTEN as I did the first year though. I think we will always look at other children and wonder what the ones we lost would have been like.

We were so robbed.