Monday, January 08, 2007

The ugly truth

It's amazing how relatively together I can be one minute and what a pathetic mess I can be the next. I'm always surprised by this Jekyll and Hyde routine - that it still comes on so strong every now and then. After close to two years I'm mostly even keeled. Mostly. I can control the rage and sorrow and have it blend seamlessly with the part of me that has recovered enough to function with some semblance of normalcy. I can look and act and almost feel normal most of the time.

But on Friday a little of the crazy lady slipped out.

I spent day with my sister and a friend of ours, both of them teachers and still off for the Christmas holidays. We went shopping, had lunch and eventually wound up at one of my favourite clothing stores. I was happily wandering past racks of clothes to make sure I'd selected everything I wanted to try on, when I heard another shopper chatting with a clerk.

The shopper had just had a baby. She was looking for in between clothes because she was too large for her pre-baby clothes and too small for her maternity clothes.

And that's when I panicked.

I started to hear more than I could bear. She had an easy delivery. Not everyone can do it, but she was up and about soon blah blah.

I drowned out her voice by walking away from them as fast as reasonably possible, holding one ear shut with my free hand and trying to focus on the music playing over the store sounds system. I'm not sure, but I might have been humming to it too.

My in-store version of LA LA LA LA LA LA LAAAAAAA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!!

It wasn't quite that bad - I don't think - but I'm kind of surprised that I did it at all. The flight response kicked in so swiftly that I was halfway across the store with my finger jammed in my ear before I even realized what I was doing.

And yet I ask my pregnant friends for belly pictures and cuddle my neighbour's baby every chance I get. Because I want to.

When I make the decision to immerse myself in all things baby it's okay. When I'm ambushed by a loud shopper who feels the need to broadcast her perfect birth story to everyone within earshot it's not.

These rules of mourning are completely unfair and make absolutely no sense.

Except that in some horrible way they aren't unfair, and they do make sense. It's appalling, but true.


Anam Cara said...

I don't think there will ever be a point in my life where I can hear someone's "easy" birth story, and when I am sometimes subjected to them like you were in that store it makes me feel so sick, sad, angry and jealous.
Three years since my Thomas' death because of a delivery gone tragically wrong and I don't even like to hear my own friends/family members' birth stories. I just can't stand all the emotions it stirs up inside me so I would just rather not know. Like you said, la, la, la, la I can't hear you. That is my way of dealing with it.

(((hugs))) to you Kristin.

Laura said...

I agree with Anam--I don't ever think that I'll be able to hear an easy birth story no matter who it is.
Something kind of like that happened in the fabric store the other day. A great big pregnant lady and the clerk were chatting about her pregnancy and that she was due in a couple of weeks and how great everything was. The store is really small, so I couldn't escape very far--all I could do was move away, put my head down and mutter, "shutup, shutup, shutup" under my breath. People probably thought I was completely nuts. But you're right. Being ambushed like that is a totally different thing than deciding on your own terms to participate in baby immersion. It's all so hard.

Samantha said...

I've happened upon similiar talks and itmakes me wonder- IF I am fortunate to get pregnant again and IF I had an uneventful delivery would I find myself whispering the story to friend in public to not upset those like me now.