Unintentional Salt

on 19 September 2011

It took us a while to get pregnant again.  It was hard.  Hard to the point where I still don't really like to talk about it.  And fortunately, I have my lovely Sister who's been through it all before, so I tend to confine those conversations to her.  After all, talking about it with Chris only intensifies the matter, he struggled with it as well.  But my lovely sister, well, she's on the Great Other Side of this particular trial, so she's perfect for perspective.

I mention this because I've been thinking a lot lately about the ways in which people unintentionally pour salt into other people's open wounds.  Wounds that no one really sees or knows about because they're that private.

In the trenches, when everyone and their dog that I knew was pregnant and Chris and I were just stuck in that horrible in-between land where people start to look at you quizzically because you have this great big toddler and clearly are young, and clearly love your child to pieces and hey, "Why the heck aren't you having another kid right about now?"  Several women that I'm not particular friends with, but whom I know, announced rather cavalierly that they were pregnant and one of them piped in with Hey it's TWINS!  I told a friend of mine that it was a sore trial for me to resist wanting to throw a shoe at her head.

They were terrible moments, moments of pain where logically you knew that no one was trying to hurt you intentionally but oh, it still hurt.


A friend of mine (the younger sister of one of my good friends) just lost her baby.  She was 27 weeks pregnant with her first when they found out the baby had stopped growing at 21 weeks.  I sat at my computer a cried and cried.  And then promptly turned it off and walked away.

I wanted to write about how we're celebrating our girl around these parts lately.  With feminine flannels and lots of homemade knitted things.  How we're slowly gathering together tiny pink things.  How we've finally picked a name and how adorable the Boy is with his perspective sister.  I was going to post pictures of all the unbearable cuteness of it all.

And then I remembered the Salt.


I haven't actually told that many people that we're pregnant again.  I mean, I've told YOU...the ephemeral blog.  But in person?  Not really.  And it's not for lack of excitement.  We're both so happy it borders on ridiculous pretty often.  But I can't forget what that felt like...that place of wanting another child so badly and not being able to have one.  I can't forget how hard it was, other people asking me to be excited and happy for them when I was nursing a battered heart.

And I can't stop thinking about that other darling girl who is so funny there are no words to describe it.  That girl who was also expecting a baby girl.  Who was so excited to bring her daughter home, who had the crib and all the unbearable cuteness as well.  I don't know if she reads my blog or not, but just in case...

I would so much rather hug her and let her cry on my shoulder than pour salt in her wounds.


Chris thinks I'm over-thinking it.  That I can't live my life tip-toeing around other people because I don't want to add to their own personal grief.  But I find myself thinking that maybe those 2 years wouldn't have been quite so painful if other people had only been a little softer with me.  If they had been a little quieter in their own celebrations, or a little less harsh in their judgments of me, maybe it wouldn't have hurt quite so badly.  And yet.  I'm adult...I could have spoken up at any time.  Hey, I could have just posted a sign that said, "I hurt right now, please be nice."  Maybe it's unreasonable to wish that people would just be a little more aware of the people who live and breathe around them.  Maybe those days are gone and it really is every man (and woman) for themselves.  I don't know.

And because I don't know what to do with any of this, or what to write here, or what to say to so many amazing women who struggle and hurt and still live their lives with courage and integrity, who still grin and bear it all...I write nothing.  I say nothing.  I wait and watch and take note and say prayers and go on with my knitting and sewing and gathering and hoping.


The Mom said...

And this is called " no more disposition to do evil" Well done!!

Rae said...

I love The Mom's comment here.

I heard a woman in Ikea this weekend say with a familiar melancholy tone "everyone here is either pregnant or has a baby." Pushing my baby in my cart, I nearly ran away from him for a moment to hug her and say "I'm so sorry. I've been there, too." I remembered a grocery trip where I nearly ran to the car and cried to Chris how we couldn't shop there anymore, there were just too many babies.

Having been through infertility and loss, I can say that your sensitivity is something I would have appreciated, especially with the similar timing of your pregnancies, and both being girls. Your tenderness and restraint towards your friend shows true love for her. Because with both infertility and loss, even after babies, the hurt doesn't go away.

Cel and JP said...

I struggle with this very same dichotomy. I don't have any advice for you. But I'm always here to listen and think you're amazing. I thought that even before you made me beautiful baby blankets when I know it was heartache for you. Thank you. xoxo

the MuLLinS said...

Love you M. I hope I haven't added any unintentional salt, ever, in any way. It is such a hard balance to find, celebrating your life and being cautious with others. I am sorry you're in and have been in pain, and I want you to know I love you!!

Sibley Saga .... said...

Friend, anybody who really knows you would know that the last thing you would want is to rub salt in their 'fertility' wounds. Just don't apologize for being pregnant and being excited for being a Mama to that sweet little girl of yours. THAT is something sweet and wonderful and even your friends who may be struggling with fertility are truly happy for you. Even through their own tears. It's honest happiness for you.

Love you.

Miss Sarah in Georgia said...

I've been thinking about this post for a while. And then I read this one, and I liked some of the points that it made. I agree that you should be sensitive to the pain of others, but that you also should celebrate your joy.

One of the hardest times in my waiting-for-a-baby journey was when my sister-in-law announced her pregnancy without any recognition that we had been unsuccessful in our attempts up to that point. And when my other sister-in-law announced her pregnancy with that recognition, it made all of the difference to me.

Brett said...

I love you. Thank you for being you.