Tuesday, November 06, 2012

eloping and miscarriage

There were very few things that I didn't love about the way I married Bunny. Eloping was perfect for us, and our moms had a great time being our witnesses and it let them feel involved in our wedding which was important. One thing though did drive me nuts.

The classic elopement question: is she pregnant??? In some ways I was lucky in that very few people posed that question directly to me, but friends and family posed those questions to our moms with a fair sense of regularly. Because oh two introverts are eloping after they've tried to plan weddings to make other people happy, the must be having a baby. (Well, that's my sarcastic take on it. A lot of people don't realize just how introverted Bunny and myself actually are.) In all fairness as well, most of the people posing those questions didn't know that we have had an open conversation on eloping as a potential way of getting married and it was always an option to us. Hell, it was always my preferred option.

The fact of the matter is a pregnancy did spur us towards our decision to elope. Just not in such a traditional way. We didn't formally make the decision to elope until after the miscarriage. The rationale behind our decision to elope was very complex, emotional and not always easy to articulate. Mostly we'd just been through too much heavy stuff, and supported each other through it, and it was ridiculous that we weren't married. The miscarriage was in some senses the straw that broke the camel's back.

When people posed that question it really, really hurt. It felt ignorant. It felt like the people asking had no clue who Bunny and I were, as individuals and as a couple. It felt like they were trying to boil down a complicated decision into the easiest of lowest common denominators, and that they didn't trust us to actually think our choices through. A lot of those feelings were just my very emotional interpretation of things. These people were following a cultural script that suggests the only reason people elope is that they are having a baby, and maybe they were being a little thoughtless by jumping to that question instead of asking more opened ended questions. These are people who love us and who we do love back. But man did I want to punch some of them in the face. (I promise, I did in fact control myself. And I recognize that people don't know the emotional minefield they've walked into when they ask us that question.)

In our case the prevailing script was way off. It couldn't have been more mistaken and because of how torn up I was the questions hurt. A lot. The take away? Don't assume you know people's motivations for their actions. If you're curious ask, but ask in an open ended way. Reproduction is complicated. (Just like weddings) It's emotional. (Just like weddings.) And most people don't share their reproductive difficulties or decisions with the whole world, so be aware that your questions may open an emotional minefield for people when you least expect it.

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