Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The new me

I have so many thoughts rattling around in my head lately. And that's fine - better lots of thoughts than none at all - but every time I think I'll sit down and sort them out, a whole new pack push in and scatter the crowd.

But one thought that seems to keep pushing its way to the front of the pack - a thought that has been slooooooowly dawning on me these days - is that I don't have to pretend that everything is as it was. That things don't bother me now. That nothing is harder than it used to be. That I'm always okay in every single situation.

When I asked, hypothetically, what people think of me now - what they see when they look at me - a friend recently told me that they probably don't think anything at all. Because, she explained, after three years they likely just think "I'm over it."

She fought an epic battle with infertility. She knows you don't "get over" things like struggling in vain to make your family complete.

But I was startled to think that other people may simply assume that I'm fine - all back to normal - just because I can and do manage to function. And because the calendar has flipped 41 times since Thomas died.

On the one hand I'm happy to think that I look and act like a person who has her shit together. This is excellent news. But on the other hand, I was very taken aback by the notion that people might truly believe that trauma as terrible and aching as losing a child simply slips away like smoke up a chimney.

But I suppose I have myself to blame. I'm an enabler. I've been a "grin and bear it" baby loss survivor, subjecting myself to things I wasn't ready for in order to make other people more comfortable. And, admittedly, in order to deflect attention from my sorrow in a desperate attempt to shut down the great, big pity machine that makes me want to run screaming into the night.

I'm not a saint. I did what I did for me - because it made me feel better to make other people feel better. And because it made me feel like I must seem more "normal" in their eyes. More like the old me they used to know. And I wanted to be that girl. Badly.

But I think I'm slowly accepting the fact that she died with Thomas. In fact, part of her died with that very first miscarriage nearly five years ago. And pieces of her have died with each loss and with every moment I have struggled with infertility.

And that's okay.

I mean, it's not okay that all this happened. Of course not. But it's okay that I have changed. Because how on earth could I not? How do you lose your heart five times and remain unchanged?

Now my challenge is to let this new person be. To let her feel what she feels without guilt. To help her understand that she is brand new in a million different ways. To allow her to advocate for herself and stand up to ignorance.

To teach her to embrace herself with kindness, respect and love.


bleu said...

This is a part of loss and of IF I truly hate. I think people assume you got over it because to think you are not over it is too uncomfortable for them and it has always pissed me off.

After my first m/c I had a complete breakdown but I was very fortunate that 3 months later I went on to get pregnant again and have my son. After my second m/c after a long struggle to get pregnant I was pissed and others backed away not knowing what to say. I am the kind of person who if you ask me how I am I will actually tell you and it made even some very close friends too uncomfortable to hang around me.

As the IF went on and on after that loss it, as it often does, continued to consume my life as it still does. When I would see friends or talk on the phone they would ask how I was and what was I up to. I would say how Bliss was and then I would say where I was in the effort and with the losses. People didn't want to hear it and I think many resented me for it. It angered me.

Then after I lost my twin pregnancy I completely quit trying to talk to any old friends at all.

Now this pregnancy I have told exactly 3 people and one I didn't even want to. And even though I have told 3 I have discussed it beyond once with only one.

The thing is I am not ok, and I am not going to pretend, and I am done feeling guilty about it or like I should somehow be ok. If someone is uncomfortable with my truth then then can take a hike. I truly feel that way now.
Some small part of me hopes some day I won't feel that way anymore but I refuse to not be true to my feelings.

Anyhow I wish you so much love and so much grace.

Catherine said...

Well, I didn't know you before...and I think you're a pretty awesome lady NOW.

Molly said...

I don't know if people assume you've gotten over it, necessarily, but that there is more to you than your baby loss. If they look at you and think of your loss, they think of how strong you are, how you have changed and grown since then. Or, they think about your fab haircut...
There is no way of knowing.

Rosepetal said...

I wasn't a grin and bear it person and people didn't always like it, including some people close to me. You can never win. I have cut people off as I felt I could no longer be myself around them. And I don't miss many of them, I have to say.

It is so soul-shattering that I'm always surprised when people expect there not to be any "ugly". What exactly do they think "ugly" looks like?

The kindness, respect and love thing, to treat myself with it is also something I'm still looking for, even now.

Heather said...

I'm not as far into my journey as you are, but I've already tired of faking it for the sake of others' comfort. I agree, we have changed, of course we have changed. To pretend to be the same person is to do a disservice to who we are now.

I love your blog. I'm so sorry for all the horrible things you've been through.

B said...

Go Ms fitzia Go Go GO.

And then you can show me how to do it too. It think maybe I am also learning.

cjzben said...

Well you are one of my most very favourite people in the world and I think you are wonderful, inspirational, generous, kind, hilarious, snarky and an excellent baker of cookies. Though I cannot fathom the idea that someone would think you are *over* losing Thomas or any other of your angels...that is their insanity not yours.