Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Oh Great, She Brought Her Baby

Disclaimer- This post will probably come across as very self centered. I don't usually live in that all about me place, but today I am. As a Baby Loss Mom I reserve the right to act and feel things in a very selfish way sometimes. I don't actually admit my true feelings to anyone but The Hubby and all of you, so hopefully no one in my real life knows just what a self centered bitch I can be. End of disclaimer.

As I've mentioned before, I'm an American Expat living in England. When I first moved here I joined a club for other expat women (from all over the world, not just the US). The women I have met through this club have been my lifeline and I know for sure that I wouldn't have gotten through the loss of my son without them.

Because I can never do anything half-assed, I am of course on the board of this club. Our board meets monthly to talk about what's going on and to make decisions that affect the membership. These meetings are very casual affairs held in the mornings and young children are welcome. So there are usually a few toddlers there running around while we all chat.

One of the members of the board just gave birth to her son a few weeks ago. I've written about her a few times before, most recently when I was invited to her baby shower. You can read a bit about her if you like by following this link but it's not really vital to today's story. But if you're a new reader and want a bit of background then there you go.

Having just given birth a few weeks ago I figured she would take a pass on the next few meetings. I mean, who wants to bring their newborn into a room with so many women and possibly toddlers?? Talk about a germ-a-palooza. So I figured it would be a few months before I had to endure her waltzing into the room with her brand new baby boy.

Wrong!

I found out the night before the meeting that she was coming so at least I wasn't totally surprised. But that wasn't really much time to prepare myself. I have done a good job of avoiding all newborn babies since my son died, especially baby boys. I just can't be around them because they are the physical manifestation of what I lost. My newborn son who will never grow into a toddler, or a boy, or a man. Just writing that brings tears to my eyes.

So I was hoping that she wouldn't come for a few more months, until hopefully I will have my own newborn baby. I keep thinking that once I have a real life living newborn then seeing other newborns won't hurt so much. Once I have my own newborn then seeing other newborns won't feel like a stab in the heart. Because right now, even the thought of being around a newborn baby makes me anxious, and nervous, and stressed.

I had a hard time sleeping the night before the meeting. I could feel the anxiety running rampant in my body. How was I going to handle seeing a newborn baby boy? Would I burst into tears? Would I be able to look at him? What should I say? How should I act? Would everyone in the room be able to see my discomfort and sadness? How on earth would I be able to cope?

I seriously considered not going. It's something I thought about all night and while I was getting ready the next morning. I could just not go, that way I wouldn't have to deal with the situation. Such a tempting idea,,, and yet it felt wrong. I won't be able to hide from newborn babies forever so maybe this was the time to test myself. In the end I decided to suck it up and just go.

So I get to the meeting and a few minutes later she strolls in, pushing her tiny newborn son in his buggy. My stomach dropped but I kept a smile on my face. I welcomed her and made some comment about being impressed she was out of the house and back in action so soon. I'm sure she didn't get the subtext that I was actually horrified that she was at the meeting. I don't think anyone else did either.

Of course everyone swooned over her new baby. So I figured I was off the hook because she would be so distracted with all the attention that she wouldn't notice that I was pretty much ignoring her and her baby. I figured that once the meeting got started I could focus on what we were talking about and pretty much forget that there was a newborn boy in the room.

Wrong again!

She ended up sitting right next to me. A situation I managed to wiggle out of by offering my seat to someone who had to leave early and needed to be closer to the door. I was feeling quite smug about now having a buffer sitting in between us. But alas, my smugness was short lived.

Wouldn't you know? This woman sitting between us wanted to hold the baby! Not just hold him for a few minutes, but hold him for most of the meeting. When he got hungry she also wanted to feed him. I figured he would be taken out of the room to be breastfed but his ever-so-prepared Mom had pumped a bottle for just this occasion. So now I'm sitting next to the woman who is feeding this baby, and burping him, and settling him back to sleep.

I wanted to die. Or leave the room. Or burst into tears. Or just sit somewhere else. I wanted to be anywhere besides where I was.

But the meeting was underway and I was stuck. So I did my best to focus my attention to the topics at hand. I actively participated in the discussion,,, anything to keep my focus off the newborn baby sitting inches away from me. I am amazed at how I held it together. I didn't cry or even tear up. I don't think anyone even noticed my discomfort. I was a total fake and I think people bought it.

On the outside I was the perfect face of happiness, on the inside I was crumbling into a million little pieces. Why did she have to bring her baby? Why couldn't she just have stayed away for a few more months. Doesn't she realize that the presence of her perfect, living baby boy is like torture to me? 
 *See I told you I was going to a very selfish, all about me place!

Somehow I managed to get through it. I'd like to think that my son was sending me strength from above. Or maybe I'm just getting better at faking it these days. Either way, I made it to the end of the meeting without the humiliation of bursting into tears. After it was over, I treated myself with a nice lunch at a very posh and grown up restaurant and did a bit of shopping. A reward for holding it together.


So there you go. A totally selfish, all about me post. I know there are other perspectives to see this situation from, but at the moment I can only see mine. And for now, I'm OK with that.

Pouring my heart out with Shell.


22 comments:

  1. I am so sorry... :( That is HORRIBLE to have to go through. You're not being selfish AT ALL.

    Sending hugs...

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  2. Not selfish at all, most of us BLM's would have felt the same way. It's just such a sad hard situation. She probably thought because you are pregnant that you wouldn't mind...you know cuz being pregnant again makes us "better" NOT. I'm sorry you were stuck in that situation. Good job for making it through, but it sucks that you were put in that position at all.

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  3. Totally get it. You are not selfish at all. Just a mama who lost her sweet son. People definitely think once you are pregnant again you're "fixed". Unfortunately they don't realize that's not the case.

    I am so sorry you had to be in that situation. It sounds like you did amazingly well despite everything.

    xoxo

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  4. That's rough. Good job holding it together, and can you get out of the meetings for the next few months?

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  5. I don't think that is selfish... And if it is, I am in trouble! ;) it totally natural to feel that way. I can't be around babies either and when they are in the room and cannot be avoided, I do my best to ignore them. It's coping, not being selfish. We can't expect them to stay away, but we can handle it in the best manner for ourselves. Glad you treated yourself after!!

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  6. I don't think you're being selfish at all! You're just stating (and feeling) what so many of us other BLMs have felt. Good for you for being able to keep it together -- I don't think I would have been able to.

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  7. As a miscarriage survivor I found it, and still find it, incredibly difficult to be around newborns, or any child that is around the same age as my child would have been if I had not miscarried. Unfortunately (or fortunately), my family and church congregation seem to be an incredibly fertile group and I've been surrounded by dozens of babies in the past two years.. And, even though it still hurts, I found that it does get easier over time - at least to fake it, even if sometimes I go home and cry the rest of the evening away.

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  8. You aren't being selfish.. you are just trying to survive. I think you did great.. and good on you for treating yourself (and frostina) afterwards!

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  9. I am glad you made it through but hope that you really, truly know that sometimes it is really okay to make it all about you. Not always, not forever, but sometimes. It would really have been okay to explain to friends the reason you couldn't make the meeting and if they didn't understand, then what kind of friends are they? Please be kind to yourself and certainly don't feel the need to preface with anyone that you were being "selfish". You were surviving. You still are.
    Hugs.

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  10. I don't think you're selfish at all. I think you are strong. I would have bailed from the meeting when I heard she was coming. I can't even play with my daughter when she's playing with her life size baby doll without wanting to cry, the real thing would undo me for sure.

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  11. The very fact that you know there are other perspectives suggests that in the long run, you'll be just fine. You don't have to force yourself to like those experiences, ever, and your 'about me' place seems to be quite valid to me.

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  12. I have my second son here and I can tell you that I am STILL jealous and don't really like being around other newborns. Weird, huh? Well, unless they experienced a loss. But knowing that other people got to keep their firstborn (especially sons) makes me all kinds of jealous.

    And she pumped for the occasion? You're kidding me, right? Gah.

    Doesn't really go away unfortunately. The jealousy is still very much present for me, especially around other moms with their firstborns. I hold my second born, but they got to keep their first and not have to be a BLM, endure cremating their child or living on beyond them. I did. We're not equal just because we're all with babies in the same room. :/

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  13. No, not selfish, not at all. Self preservation, maybe. I mean you still went to the meeting, that's huge in itself.
    I think, or at least I hope, it will be easier for you when your baby arrives. In a way it was for me. That said, I still sometimes find baby girls hard, especially first borns. There are some things that will just always sting.
    Love to you.
    xo

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  14. Not selfish. Real. You were right to have those feelings and you let yourself experience them. I think you did awesome, actually. You didn't lose it during the meeting. It's okay to feel that way. Sending good vibes your way, my dear! gin

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  15. my first comment dissapeared into the ether apparently.

    What I said is that I lost my daughter Emma at 14.5 weeks. I was heartbroken. At that point I already had two children and went on to have two more, all boys. I couldn't look at baby girls, I convinced myself I didn't want a girl. Then, I had one and it was hard. It was in my face.
    she is almost a year now and I adore her but sometimes it is still difficult.
    you are not selfish, you are human. Thank you for sharing, I am sure it was difficult

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  16. This post makes me so sad for you. I can not begin to imagine the pain...well, okay, since I have 2 boys, I CAN begin to imagine...but not fully realize. And I pray to God I never will have to.
    I don't think you were selfish. And you are allowed to feel how you feel...no matter what... :(

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  17. I'm so sorry that this was hard on you. I hope you can see that she most likely had no idea that it would have this affect on you.

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  18. My heart is breaking for you. I can't even imagine your pain and if it is any consolation I am sure this new mom couldn't either.

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  19. Selfish and that's okay. It is really awful to lose a child whether the baby was 4 weeks in utero or born still or whatever the situation. I applaud your faking it because I know it is what I would do in your situation. You have every right to continue to grieve for the rest of your life! I'm glad your little boy sent you strength, I'm not sure I wouldn't have burst into tears.

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  20. That's not selfish, that's a deserved "yay me, boo universe" moment.

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  21. I don't think either of you were in the wrong. What you were feeling was totally natural and I would feel that way if I were you. What she was doing was natural, too-- and she probably had no idea it would cause you distress to attend. It just sucks that you both had to be at the same place at the same time (and sitting so close together to boot!)

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