Friday, November 24, 2006

"How much longer?... What, are you serious?... But you're so big..." and Other Insightful Comments

Okay, so I realize that people have short memories. But seriously, I was exactly this big at this time 2 years ago. In fact, I was bigger. At least according to the scale, I was bigger. So what is this new fascination the world has with my size?

Why is it okay to comment on a woman's size when she is pregnant? Why are we not socialized to understand that those comments are not okay? In fact, I will admit to you right now that have made those comments myself (though not in this post-deadbaby life).

I have had this conversation at least half a dozen times in the last week:

When are you due?
The end of January.

Are you serious?
[Strained smile]

But you're so big... are you sure you aren't having twins? (giggle, giggle)
I am sure [smile even more strained, looking for escape route].

I have decided that my counterattack to this approach, for those who are aware of the circumstances surrounding C's death and birth, will be to bring up my last pregnancy. Not only are they offering me a chance to talk about C (unknowingly, of course), but it generally shuts people up.

In fact, that may become my new policy to control all gratuitous, uninvited pregnancy talk. Is the baby moving? Why yes. This baby sure moves around in a different way than C did. That's going to be a big baby! Possibly. Of course, I gained more weight with C. and he weighed just under 7 lbs - not so big, really.

Perhaps what I need to do is take a page out of the "normal" pregnancy book. Most second-time mammas take pride in the fact that they have been there before. They are old hands at this. When someone offers unsolicited advice or commentary, they breezily mention their previous pregnancy. All that is stopping me from doing the same is my sense that somehow people might find it inappropriate. And that "excuse" is wearing rather thin these days.


No one really tells you about the destruction that is extolled upon your pelvis in the process of carrying and delivering babies. And it seems as though my pelvis is about to kick the big one. I have pain. Pain that this part of my pelvis has never experienced before. Pain that is currently preventing me from standing/walking/moving my leg.

Check back in 50 years. I will be the one working on her second hip replacement. God, I hope hip replacement/reinforcement surgeries improve quickly. Epiphany: this is where my charity dollars should go (please ignore how selfish that sentiment really is).


I have recently been giving a lot of thought to the relationship that I have with one of my husband's inlaws. We were, at one time, quite close (so I thought). We aren't now.

In those first few months after C's death, I will admit that I leaned rather heavily on her. She was a person that I thought I could trust. For those first 6 months, I would talk to anyone who would listen. I would say the same things over and over again. She seemed to listen with sensitivity and compassion and empathy. How lucky was I?

Then, sometime that summer something happened. She stopped answering when I called. In desperation, and partially to see if I was imagining things, I left a highly emotional message on her machine, about how I wasn't doing well and I needed to spend some time with my family. She didn't return my call for over a week.

I kept up the trailing puppy-dog act until Christmas. Our decision to stay at home so that we could survive the day was never emotionally understood. No offer was made for her family to come to visit us here.

In January of this year, I quit her. I quit calling her, I quit seeking her out in any way. She has never once sought me out in the last 11 months, in any way.

Would you like to know how many conversations I have had with her since we announced our pregnancy? None. I don't count the actual announcement conversation where she could barely muster the energy to pretend to be excited. How many conversations did we have during C's pregnancy? Dozens and dozens. She was my mentor.

So here I sit again tonight, in mourning. I am mourning the loss of an idealized sister-figure. I am mourning that the Babe isn't being doted on in the way that his brother was. I am mourning that the relationship has become so disfunctional. I am mourning my loss of respect for her.

I doubt that I will ever confront her regarding our loss of relationship. I can only begin to imagine what it was that pushed her away. It could easily be the selfishness that I have had to don as a protective cloak since C. died. But I can't and won't apologize that - it has kept me alive. It could be the that she has something of a disfunctional relationship with most of our family members and I just fit into that category now. I just don't know and I won't ever know.

But it helps to tell those of you who have also lost these people in your lives. It is easy to let go of the the ones that never meant that much in the first place. And it is easy to celebrate those unexpected people that came in and helped you pick up some of the pieces. It is not easy to let go of those people that you thought would be there, through thick and thin, and they just couldn't (or worse, wouldn't).


Quick thoughts:

Kate: we are thinking compression from the patterns of heartrate on the NSTs. U/S says cord bloodflow is a-okay.

WTF: I am knitting the blanket using a "pattern" that I made up and intarsia technique.

Rosepetal (and others): I would gladly share the template for my "kickcount" spreadsheet. Let me know if you want it now or later.

All: thanks for the advice re: who you talk to for advice. Seems that most of you follow the same tact as I do.


Rosepetal said...

God, I got those exact remarks when I was pregnant with Moksha. Exactly the same. For the twins one I would say, if it's twins my doctor is incompetent. Your counterattack plan sounds very good.

For your husband's in-law - do you think something bad might have happened in her life? I guess since she is family you would have heard about it on the family grapevine.

I also have friends in whom I've been disappointed. Sometimes, although it doesn't change the outcome that the friendship is somehow lost, I think, well what could you expect in such a situation. No-one is really equipped for such a thing.

But I admit I don't manage to think that very often.

Julian's Mom said...

I lost someone who I thought was my best friend a few months after Julian died. I guess she couldn't cope with it anymore, as she had a daughter who was born a year earlier--perhaps it hit too close to home? Anyway, I have been having anxiety dreams about a confrontation with her recently, as we approach what would be Julian's 2nd birthday. I certainly wasn't expecting to deal with this type of secondary loss.

rach said...

I hope you read this tonight. Can I ask for the doppler cord flow at a regular ultrasound? I go in tomorrow morning for one.


rach said...

p.s. tell them you had a son before. yeah, it will shut them up, but they need it. people are so stupid. they tell me all the time i don't look big enough. or ask if i have the due date right?! um, yeah, january 29...pretty sure of that...

whatthef*ck said...

reading your post i was pretty much thinking, "what the f*ck?" what the hell is/was up with that woman? i would be sorely tempted to call her and ask her, in a non-confrontational way of course, what happened. i say this eevn though my situation with esp did not improve when i contacted her. if it really bothers you, you could ask her what happened on her end so you can just know. but what she tells you may be hurtful. ugh what a dilemma. the not-knowing would make me crazy though.

what the hell is up with the cardiac arrhythmia? hopefully nothing. good lord.