Friday, September 01, 2006

I did it too...

Being someone who is larger than average, I was very, very proud of my pregnant belly once it finally stopped looking like one too many cheeseburgers and started looking like a proper pregnant bump. I loved it to death, that little belly of mine. I was kind of shy around people I knew for some reason, but when I was with strangers it was a different story. I loved knowing that they could tell I had company just by looking at me sideways.

This sounds ridiculous, but my favourite time at Mass was going up to communion. I know my favourite time should have been something less me-centric and more God focused, but it was what it was. And it was sweet. See, because I was getting too big to properly clasp my hands below my tummy, I'd rest my hands on top of it while I shuffled up the communion line with the rest of the congregation. And the whole time I was excitedly thinking that anyone who looked at me would know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was having a baby.

Last Sunday as I sat in the same spot I always used to sit in when I was pregnant, I started thinking about that. About how I so proudly showed off my pregnant tummy and how I hoped people would look at me and smile.

And that's when it occurred to me that women who had experienced miscarriage - maybe even stillbirth or a loss caused by birth injury, abruption or congenital defects - saw me. They watched me holding my tummy lovingly and protectively, and they felt the dull ache that I feel now when I see the same thing innocently paraded in front of me.

I caused the same pain I feel now. And it never once occurred to me while I was pregnant, even after having two miscarriages before getting pregnant with Thomas.

I was horrified. I sat there in utter horror feeling miserably guilty that I caused this kind of pain. Unintentionally, of course. But just by being visibly pregnant, I know I must have made someone wince and look away. I was a reminder of what someone had and lost - or of what someone never even had to begin with.

It was a sobering thought. I tend to think that no one in my world knows this kind of sorrow, but people are good at hiding the horrors they live with and the sorrows they bear. I'm sure I opened wounds. God, I must have.

I don't quite know what to do with this. If I get pregnant again I know I'll feel that same pride - maybe even tenfold because of the lengths we've gone through to coax my body into cooperating and carrying a life again. But I will also now be aware that my joy could be the cause of someone else's pain.

The worst of it is, there's just no way around it. My hard won joy is going to cause someone else pain. It's inevitable.

Ain't life grand?


miraclebaby said...

It is inevitable. And it's hard to know what to do with it (at least for me). But somehow, even having made it this far, I still cry to David about not believing I will have a living child out of this whole thing. Sometimes, I look at other pregnant women and envy their obvious ease. There's always something. I say, when the time comes, enjoy what you can out of it, but be sensitive when the opportunity arrives.

Sandy said...

I truly don't think there's any "right" answer here. My husband (wise man) always said to me after our loss (after an appropriate time had passed) that he prayed for me that I would eventually be able to see the joy in new life without the heartache. I struggled in Mass. I struggled when we'd get hit with a "surprise" baptism. But I did eventually get to the point where I could realize the pregnant or new Mom wasn't purposefully torturing me ... she was simply living her joy. And that's what you were doing when you went to Communion. Thinking of you and hoping you don't beat yourself up too badly over having allowed yourself to feel joy at that time.

kate said...

Yes. I try to remember this on bad days, when i turn from pg women -- that i don't know their history and they don't know mine. It is nobody's fault, it is just the way it ((((((hugs))))))

delphi said...

I am about to go to my first support group meeting since my belly began to expand in this subsequent pregnancy. I don't really know what to do about it - I can't quit the group; it is the one place I actually am encouraged to talk about my son. But there are going to be some really tender souls who's hearts fill will pain at the sight of me. I am about to knowingly cause the pain that has hurt me so much in the last year and a half.

Catherine is right - it is what it is.