Can you grieve for someone who only existed for an instant? Whose existence was proven only by pink lines that faded far too quickly? Am I grieving for them, my nameless, faceless brood, or for the loss of the life I had imagined?
After our first loss, in December of 2005 (holy shit - a lifetime ago!) I stopped allowing myself the luxury of anticipation of baby. What I did feel, in abundance, with each subsequent pregnancy, was dread: how will this one end? how painful will it be? how long will the depression last afterwards?
Part of my learning how to be happy - and for me, happiness is a skill set that needs to be built and added onto and regularly maintained - has been learning to tune out the destructive voices in my head. You know, the ones that keep a running tally of all of the babies who have been born to friends and family since we started our journey, or remind me of how old each particular kid would be had they lasted, or imagine how I would look pregnant if I were capable of staying pregnant.
It's a coping mechanism, surely, to build up this wall around my tender parts. I can't help but feel guilty though - maybe if I had named those babies, loved them more, just been better in general, they would have stuck around. The guilt pisses me off immensely, too, because it's proof that part of my psyche is stuck way back in an early stage of grief. I want to be done with it, please. (So that we can try again, and I can get pregnant again, and start the whole stupid cycle over again.)
I've been really distracted lately thinking all of this through, and it shows. While I do consider myself to be a pretty smart cookie, I've been doing/saying some dumbass things lately. Consider the following:
Several weeks ago, I drove down to Kansas City, MO for a work meeting. Since I am fairly new to the midwest, I find Iowans' attitudes towards Missouri quite funny. The old joke is that if the southernmost county in Iowa were to become part of MO instead, the IQ of both states would jump. Basically, many Iowans think that people from Missouri, or anywhere near Missouri, are intellectually challenged. (I'm sorry if I offend anyone from MO with that.) On the drive home, I observed what I thought was an interesting confirmation of this. The conversation I had with Hubby when I got home is below:
Me: So, dude, guess what I noticed on the drive home?
Hubby: What? (trying to play his xbox, or shall we say, crackbox, and obviously distracted)
Me: Well, I noticed that there's a ton of roadkill in Missouri. I mean, everywhere and every species of animal. Literally, like every 5 feet.
Hubby: So? (still distracted)
Me: Well, as soon as I crossed the state line into Iowa, the roadkill disappeared. Virtually none.
Me: And, I'm wondering if that just proves that even the wildlife in Missouri is dumb. (I thought this was fucking brilliant!)
Hubby: (setting down the game controller, even! and looking at me with real concern on his face) Sweetie, all that means is that we spend the money to clean it up. Are you okay?
Duh. The simplest explanation.
Or another fabulous display of my intellect:
I had a friend's Olde English Bulldogge at work with me (I work in a vet's office, if you don't know already) and was walking him around lunch time. He happens to be a very sweet dog who loves people - adults, kids, babies - and he's very handsome, so he attracts a lot of attention. Of course, a lady stopped and wanted to pet him. I was focusing on the dog, not really looking at the lady, while the following conversation occurred:
Lady: Oh what a sweet boy! He just loves people, doesn't he?
Me: (still looking at the dog, and trying to convey that he likes kids too, because some dogs don't.) Oh yeah. Any shape, any size.
At which point I looked up and noticed that this lady just happened to be large. Quite large. And embarrassed. And I had no idea what to say to explain myself.
Open mouth, insert foot.
The kicker is that I come from a family of large people, and I truly would never ever be so mean to someone about anything, including their size. (Well, intentionally, at least.)