I read a blog yesterday that has had me thinking ever since. No mean feat given how busted up my weary brain is these days.
The blogger was wondering aloud if she still belonged in the dead baby mama"club" since, after losing her first child, she has gone on to have a second, and is now pregnant with her third. Her concerns seemed to be for those of us who are still childless, who she believes may not think she belongs anymore because she is a live-child mother.
I'm not going to lie. I have thought a lot about the whole "us vs. them" situation over these last few years of childlessness. There are just a small handful of us left who have lost and not been able to gain. We are the minority, and not an especially vocal one, for the most part. We often just watch from the sidelines, unsure of what to say or do next. In life, not just in blogland.
It's part of the reason I quietly disappeared from the blogosphere last summer. We'd decided to stop trying, I wasn't parenting living children, and having lost the last of my babies two years earlier, I just didn't know what was left to say - or who was left to read any of it anyway.
We move on. It's what we do, we baby loss survivors.
So I faded away. Until I realized that there are still volumes left to speak. Of course there are.
Because, as it turns out, moving on doesn't mean you have nothing more to say. You just have different things to say instead - a whole different voice to go with your whole new life. And for me, it's all about coping with a life that looks nothing like I expected it would. It's about grieving for my lost children, sure, but it's also about grieving for my lost family. I constantly find myself contemplating what that loss will look like when I am old. When, maybe, I am well and truly alone.
We are not what you'd expect. We are two - not three, four or five as we might have been had things been different.
And yes, in many ways I do feel like I don't belong in the same category as the babyloss mothers who have gone on to have living children. I can't understand their new world anymore than they can understand mine. But I'm also uncomfortable with the notion of putting people into categories and neat little boxes. I feel different enough without actually defining and labeling myself as such.
We're all different. Even amongst those who have gone on to have living children there are differences. I'm sure this must be true.
We come from a common place of grief, but we fan out from there, moving along different paths, in different directions and on into different lives as we continue to cope with our loss and sorrow in the best ways we know how.
My road brought me here, to a childless existence with My Beloved and our motley collection of felines. Sometimes I limit my exposure to pregnancy, babies and children when my heart is feeling too tender. Sometimes I seek out ways to interact with the children around me whom I love when that same broken heart is aching for contact with wee ones. Because my soul still longs to mother, even after all this time.
I think it's about respecting each others' journeys and recognizing that we're all doing the best we can with the burden of sorrow we were handed. Until someone gives me a manual for this grief, all I can do is what feels right for me. And that's all I expect from my sisters in sorrow.
We do the best we can. All of us.