Saturday, October 29, 2005

We ARE a family

I remember a few years ago - maybe before my first miscarriage, maybe after, I can't quite remember now - talking to a friend of mine who had beautiful a 10-month old baby. In the course of the conversation, this friend made a comment like, "'ll see, when you and S___ start a family..." as though my beloved and I, childless at the time, were somehow less of a unit than she and her husband and child were.

I remember being a little irked at the time, but I'm retroactively incensed.

Just for the record, we are a family, My Beloved and I. We joined our lives together three years ago this November 16th and on that day we became a family. We have three children in heaven, but even before that we were a family. And if we never have any children who make it into our home safe and sound we'll still be a family.

I guess I'm getting more politically correct in my old age - or the shit storm I'm in the middle of weathering has made me more sensitive to innocent, well meaning comments that now rub me so far the wrong way I want to scream.

I know my friend meant no harm. Just like I know the friends who've disappeared since Thomas died mean no harm. But sometimes I think people should try a little harder to think before they speak.

What a wonderful world we'd live in if more people thought before they spoke.

After I had my first miscarriage I was told by a well meaning (albeit ignorant) older man in the choir I was singing in at the time that I was lucky. According to him I was lucky because his neighbour had a stillborn child and that was far worse than losing a child at 10 weeks like I did. I remember being utterly stunned that he felt I should actually feel lucky. My child had just died. I'd spent two days in agony, bleeding and cramping before finally losing my baby in a tiny emergency exam room. I didn't feel lucky at all.

I now know that yes, it was much harder to lose Thomas - a perfect and perfectly healthy full-term baby - just hours after he was born, but that doesn't mean that losing a child to miscarriage is easy. No part of losing a child - no matter how long it's been in your womb - is easy. Miscarriage is horrible, gut-wrenching, and desperately sad. And the very last thing a mother in mourning wants to hear is that she's lucky in any way, shape or form.

I have no idea why I'm writing about this today or why I'm still so angered by both of these careless remarks. Maybe I'm just angry in general and this gives me an outlet to express the anger I feel at losing Thomas.

But, interestingly enough, I'm actually feeling pretty peaceful and happy right now.

Hmmm, maybe that little tirade was long overdue.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Our world does not value empathy. It's sad, but I truly believe this is true. If you haven't been through something, you aren't expected to know what to say. It's the convenient excuse that we all fall back on. The "offender" can just apologize and say, "I didn't realize how stupid I sounded." The "victim" can fall back on, "Well, they just don't understand." Nobody expects the next person to be at all empathetic. We have become accustomed to allowing excuses and apologies after the fact to replace thought in advance. I'm not sure we can demand empathy, however. If people are too lazy to put thought into what they say in advance, then you're not going to change that attitude.

That being said, I think there ARE true accidents. No matter how hard I've tried, I know I've said the wrong thing MANY times...but not for lack of trying. In fact, I think sometimes I've said the wrong thing BECAUSE I overthought it. But I'm a nerd. lol