Thursday, January 17, 2013

other people's babies

Today will be six months since the miscarriage, and when planning what I wanted to say today I thought about a lot of things. I could talk about how I'm ok most of the time but some days I'm still overcome by grief, out of nowhere. I could continue talking about how my body continues to frustrate me with off kilter cycles and hormones. I could have even made a post about what I've learned from the subject.

Instead I wanted to focus on something else. I want to focus on how this has affected my ability to relate to other women who are pregnant or have just had babies. A lot of it is hard. In some senses I'm pretty lucky though, because there is one particular woman having one particular baby that just lights up my life right now and even with everything else happening I wanted to present something that has an element of hope to it.

When I first had my miscarriage, I knew pretty much right away that it would have some affect to how I felt about other people's pregnancies and babies. When a favourite blogger announced her pregnancy and I had a crying meltdown because it just wasn't fair and Bunny actually banned me from reading her blog for a week. (Although she has some of the best pregnancy posts I've ever read and is amazingly inclusive in how she has handled the subject.) I've got a number of acquaintances whose facebook feeds I've blocked because I just don't want or need to hear about how everything is happy happy joy joy for them when some days are still just so terrible for me. Some days I can't even really handle reading about other people's miscarriages and fertility issues, or I end up a crying mess.

So when less than a month after my miscarriage my sister in law announced she was expecting, I fully expected to be in for a rough ride. She had been trying for some time, and while I was genuinely happy for her I had a feeling that it wasn't going to be easy always. Knowing myself, I felt that I would probably have moments of being resentful and jealous and not being able to be happy for her.

I made a fast decision that it was important that I tell her what I was going through. Not to make her feel bad, but to let her in on my emotional landscape and so I could ask for a little bit of leniency if I needed to bow out of events or discussion, or in case I ever accidentally let my inner bitchface out in response to her pregnancy. I was hopeful that I'd be able to be gracious and supportive, but I also needed to know that if I had a terrible moment and it came through that at least she would know that it was about my own situation.

Once I did that, let her in? Life got easier in respect to her being pregnant. Just feeling like it's ok to react poorly to an aspect of pregnancy has made it feel safer for me to engage with her pregnancy. And holy moly am I excited to become an aunt to a newborn for the first time. I've surprised myself by living up to my hopes for being gracious and kind about it.

Somehow my own sadness has had no effect on my ability to be happy for her. Am I jealous? Yes, absolutely some times I'm jealous. Am I a little devasted that we're not having babies within months of each other? Yes. It's not a zero sum game, though. Her having a baby has nothing to do with me having or not having a baby. I love this baby pretty fiercely already. I can't wait to meet him, and have been working away at craft projects just for him.

Having my own ties to this baby makes it easier. I still have a hard time with other people's pregnancies, and a lot of time I really wish I weren't so surrounded by people having babies, and people with babies. But this baby I am super excited about. And I'm proud of myself for being able to be genuinely excited.


  1. I totally get you. I am happy and excited and comfortable around pregnant people that I love and that are really close.
    But random acquaintances, or people I just don't really know well: then it hits me. Then I get that "its not fair!" and "why not us" feelings. However I remind myself that this is my story, my path, the cards I have to deal with and that even if I wish it was easier, different, it has nothing to do with other people's stories. Thinking that helps. And yeah, sometimes I have to shut out, distract myself to stop the comparisons because they are the devil.

    1. Remembering that my own path to babies is completely unaffected by whether or not someone else is having an easy path there has been one of the best things to help deal with the jealousy monster when it tries to rear its head. It's hard to remember sometimes but it's so true.