Thursday, April 8, 2010

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before

So, when does it become inappropriate to bring up the apocalypse that was the birth of my daughter? I'm asking because I feel like I can't stop bringing it up.

Actually, that's inaccurate. I really don't talk about it all that often, not for lack of interest. It's amazing how freely I could jabber on about a three-month-past catastrophe, the single most life-altering event of my heretofore existence. Nope, I'm cool with that. But I don't, as a rule, bring it up in every conversation.

It would be awkward, and weird, and, well, it's hard to make that segue appropriately. Friend:"Hey, you want a popsicle?" Me:"Sure. Did you know that the last time I had a popsicle I was in active labor waiting to deliver my dead baby?" Friend: "Jesus."

Anyway, as the weather turns warmer here in the frozen north, people are out. People are doing stuff--and this broad brush of "people" includes me. And C. And E. We walk everywhere, we head to the zoo, we spend as much time outside as possible. Errands are becoming less pile-on-every-article-of-clothing-and-jam-toddler-into-carseat, and more bust-out-the-stroller-and-go. Which is wonderful.

But I keep seeing people who may or may not know about, well, you know. People I used to run with, casual acquaintances, fellow moms. Who knows when the last time I've seen all these humans, let alone at what point of gestation I'd been at, if any at all. So it goes something like this:

Me:"Hi! How are you?"
Them:"Good! What's new?"
Me:"Not much, um, what's new with you . . .?"
And then more blahbbity blah until something comes up and I have to be all:
Me: "Uh, well, uh, do you know about what happened to . . . us . . . uh,"

Which leads me to tell these unassuming acquaintances, and then I feel a little indulgent, like I'm begging for sympathy. Which I'm not--truly. Truly. I don't need any more, though I'll take it if someone's offering.

What I feel like is, well, like I'm addressing the elephant in the room--whether that elephant is apparent or not. I don't know. Am I being self-indulgent? Is it past the point where it's appropriate to talk about it in polite company? I don't want to be that girl who's all, "Hey! Remember that one time when we colored our jeans? With markers? In sixth grade?! Remember that time?!" Like it's all I've got.

Because it's not-I got a lot. But when it comes to her, my baby, my girl, it IS all I got.


  1. Welllll...I guess it's a bit of an awkward thing for everyone. I mean, I don't know if this in on your mind all the time, but I'm willing to bet that the entire expereince is somehow or the other on your mind about 98% of the time. The other being excepted for those totally overwhelming toddler moments where all other thoughts must be blotted out or you will lose the battle and the war all at once. Like the aforementioned popsicle conversation-real or imagined, isnt' that how it all goes when you go through something life changing..."gee, this time last year...last month, last week...". We all mark these things-the same way you probably marked the birth of E or marrying C. "Damn, last week I was in paradise with my new husband", or "Can you believe that three days ago...". You know? So, for example when I run into you at the big W to buy dinner, I'm thinking that you're probably thinking about Calla, so I'm not sure if I should say-hey man are you together or about to come apart-because I'd hate to have to have you turn around with E and rush home cursing my name. On the other hand, I want you to know that I am thinking about the aforementioned elephant, the disaster and the miracle that was Calla. But, it sure is a hard way to buy chicken wings. So, unfortunately it ends up falling to you-which is a bitch. Boy, am I rambling. I guess it's just a mess all around and it sucks that this is the update you have to give-because it was life altering. For my part, I'll try to be a little less awkward-then again, I'm a bit of an awkward person anyway. Also...I'm going to direct you further into blog land, if you'd like to go. A colleague lost his children in a car accident last year. His ex-wife lives in Pittsburgh and has been writing about the last year since losing their children. Her writing is like yours-honest, thought provoking, cathartic, poignant-she is at If you are interested. Anyway-what a mess this comment is. I'll go now-thinking of you.

  2. I just came across your blog and just wanted to write you a note to say hello and that I really relate to this post, especially when you have not seen the person yet - they must not know if they don't say anything about it right?