Saturday, August 21, 2004

surprise, surprise

Well, I've been thinking and thinking and trying to come up with a way to talk to people about this, but I'm just too...I don't know. Shy? Confrontation-phobic? Whatever.

Anyway, here's the deal. We're having a baby. Again. For various good reasons, this is a shock (to rather understate things). I've run the whole gamut of emotional responses this week- joy, guilt, anger, terror, and a sadness almost akin to grief. I am having a hard time believing it most of the time, although the constant pain in my legs is testimony to the truth of the situation. I want to be deliriously happy, but I know how much my back and legs hurt by 2nd trimester last time, and I only had one kid then. Money, too, is a constant worry. Especially since I won't be working next summer, as I was planning to.

I'm going ahead with school for now, at least the winter term. I don't think I'll make it for spring, unless the profs are generous and let me sling the babe to class the last few weeks- we'll have it sometime in the spring. Fat chance of that (the slinging part). The plan is to welcome this one at home. I just have to double-check everything with my midwife and make sure she's comfortable with my history and whatall. One of the bright spots is, although we weren't planning on more children (and yes, we were taking precuations), for the first time, we did this right and I'm not going to have to deal with PPD and SAD at the same time. Maybe I won't have PPD this time! One can only hope and pray.

A friend of mine, Abby, who lives in Maine, is going to a birth blessing ceremony this weekend for two women who are near to their time...I'm trying to work out if this is something I want to do. The guests are bringing beads with symbolic meanings (one example, someone is bringing a bead with a boat to symbolize a journey, and a clear one for clarity of mind), and a piece of poetry or a quote or blessing.

We have so few positive ceremonies and rituals surrounding pregnancy and birth in this culture- all I can think of is the baby shower. And those aren't really my thing- I had one with Allie, and I got a lot of stuff I really didn't want- a playpen, bottles, that kind of thing ("oh, you'll want to give her a bottle once in a while!" um, no, I really won't- it's more trouble than it's worth!). As far as I know, we in this culture don't have any rituals to mark the loss of a baby, whether early pregnancy, late, or in infancy. Funerals, yeah, if the loss isn't early in pregnancy- but, personally, it doesn't seem like enough, by any stretch. I have more than a few friends who have suffered this unimaginable kind of loss, and it just seems unthinkable- the things they are told, the way they are treated. "Oh, I had that happen once", a fellow patient in the OB/Gyn waiting room told my friend Kristin right after her second miscarriage, as though she was talking about buying the wrong brand of toothpaste or getting stuck in the rain.

Are we so absolutely incompetent when it comes to dealing with any sort of emotional or spiritual pain that when we are confronted with it in this distilled, crystal-hard form, the loss of a child, that we feel we must intentionally trivialize it- because facing it is too difficult? Is it so hard to offer hands and arms for comfort without the burden of our words, which will always fall short, and too often wound instead of heal? I know for me, the answer is yes. The temptation is to talk and talk and talk and talk, because the words provide a distance from the pain. We tell people, basically, to get over it, "oh, you weren't really that far along, were you? It's not like you lost a baby", to get on with things, because grief is a naked thing, and this culture dislikes nakedness (unless you're selling beer). We are so addicted to the quick fix, the fool-proof plan, and emotions are so messy. Grieving people don't play by the rules.

I don't know why I am in such a sarcastic and caustic mood tonight. I think I am just really hormonal and conflicted right now. I am feeling so strongly what Jenell said a few days ago- this is so obviously unfair. And I just don't know how to deal with that. I just don't know. I just know that I'm glad it is the weekend and most people at SP won't be reading this till Monday morning. I'm just not feeling very up to dealing with facing my mixed emotions right now. I'm sorry, everyone.

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