If you asked someone who’s known me for years to describe my strengths, sensitivity wouldn’t be in the top five answers.
Maybe not the top ten either.
I’ve gotten better since having kids but it’s taken a lot of work, mostly from my friends. They’ve put YEARS of effort and patience into teaching me that some people express their feelings and that’s ok.
I’m not very good at being tactful either. I’m a fairly direct person. No one ever has to wonder about what I mean. If I don’t understand something, I ask questions. I’m not being judgmental, I’m trying to figure things out. Some people appreciate the honesty and willingness to have an open conversation. Some people find me rude and a busy-body. Over the years, my friends have corrected me and supervise my conversations pointing out when a question is too personal or offensive. I’m always working on it and trying to get better. It takes a long time and a lot of work to change your personality!
The reason I am explaining one of my very many faults is I want to make it very clear that I am pretty un-offendable and can take a hit. I’m a good place to vent without judgement. You can say what you need to say to me without concern of going against what society says is polite etiquette.
So here we go.
October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss month. I have never had a miscarriage. I have never lost an infant. I never struggled to get pregnant. In fact, if I accidentally high-five my husband without protection, I would end up pregnant. I’m not saying this to be a jerk, I’m saying this to make sure that everyone knows…. I have no idea what that kind of pain feels like. I will go so far as to say, I can’t even imagine that kind of pain. I think that’s the kind of pain that you only know if you know it.
And that sucks.
That’s it. That’s all I can offer you. I have many friends who struggle with infertility or have had miscarriages. I’ve watched them suffer and hurt but there is no way for me to truly understand it. As someone who isn’t the best at comforting people, that’s all I got for you. It sucks. If there was something I could do or someone I could kick for you I would but other than that, I got nothing.
Here’s what I can offer you. A safe place, free of judgement.
I can’t imagine what it must feel like to watch people decide to have a baby and a month later be pregnant. Or have to go to countless baby showers. Or listen to the endless parade of bad jokes like, “did you try getting drunk?? Worked for a bunch of girls in high school!” Or answer the mundane chit-chat questions, do you have kids? When are you having kids? Why don’t you have kids yet? How come you don’t adopt? Have you tried IVF or standing on your head?
I have no idea how some of you get out of bed in the morning. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to see all the kids and babies running around in stores. There are pregnant women EVERYWHERE. Most pregnant woman I have talked to complain about being pregnant, myself included. Completely worth it and I’m grateful to be able to do it but it’s still not my favorite. I don’t like it, at all. All I want to do is binge drink, eat sushi and soft cheese, go skydiving, and maybe start a crack habit. It seems like a good time start a city wide gang war. Basically, anything that is bad and not allowed is what I want to do. Once the baby is born, all those feelings disappear and I regain most of my sanity but there’s no hiding how much I dislike it. And if you’re reading this hating me and wanting to punch me in the face for taking advantage of how easy getting pregnant is, I want to tell you that I’m ok with that.
That’s why I wanted to explain my lack of understanding. I wanted to make sure you knew I was ok with whatever you feel: sad, angry, betrayed, hurt, confused, frustrated. You have at least one person in the world who is on your side even if it that person is a crazy person on the internet that gets easily distracted and struggles with understanding human emotions.
If you want to hate me, that’s fine.
If you want to slap every pregnant woman you see, I’m ok with that. I’m not ok with actually slapping pregnant woman but I’m ok with you feeling like you want to.
If you dread going to baby showers or put on a brave face when you do go and then cry in the car ride home, that’s ok.
If you skip the baby showers, more power to you!
If you do have a baby, making you so happy and excited about your bundle of joy but also feel sad for any previous losses at the same time which makes you feel guilty for not feeling just the good stuff but the yucky stuff too. That’s cool with me! We’re woman and we’re supposed to feel conflicting emotions all the time. It’s how we keep our partners on their toes.
If you decide that you don’t want to even try anymore, I’m ok with that.
If you rudely snap at the little old lady and her incessant questions, I’ll remind you that the old bag probably had it coming.
I just want you to know that I don’t know. I don’t understand and for that I am sorry. I don’t have any words of hope or something profound that helps and I sure don’t have any answers for you. But I do see you and your hurt.
I get that it’s got to be hard. Being happy for someone else while being sad for yourself. It’s got to be tricky to navigate and deal with. It is probably pretty lonely, even if you have a support system.
So I want to offer you this: from a mom who has no idea what you’re feeling or going through, I’ve got your back. I want to make sure you know that there is one person in the world who is on your side no matter what.
I don’t think you’re broken.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you.
I think you’re allowed to feel however you want to feel, whenever you want to feel, and it’s ok to not even know how you feel.
I think you’re amazing.
I think you’re strong.
And I think the world is lucky that you’re in it.