I've mentioned before that I counted 8 or 9 friends and a cousin that were due with their babies within a month of Lydie's due date. Including a couple who live in our neighborhood. We met years ago through our dogs, and last spring, they busted me pushing around our new double stroller with Ben in one seat and garage sale finds in the other seat. I'm pregnant, I admitted. Three weeks later, they came over to tell us they were too were expecting a baby. I was so excited, telling my friend how we could hang out during our maternity leave, how our doggie playdates could also become kid playdates, how our kids would grow up together and ride the school bus together and be in the same grade.
Of course, those 8 or 9 babies all arrived alive. Gratefully, I didn't really hear about their births. Those friends didn't include me on their emails. I don't go on facebook anymore. I did get forwarded an email stating that my cousin's baby arrived. I cursed and promptly deleted it. (That seems to be my reaction quite often these days). I didn't hear about our neighbors' baby... so I figured, she didn't die.
I don't want more babies to die. But I don't particularly want them to live either. And I definitely don't want to hear about it.
I had an emotional therapy session yesterday. I told my therapist that all these happy families are a reminder to me that they got what I didn't. They got what I was promised for 34 weeks.
Then I grabbed a couple tissues for the road and went to pick up my son from daycare. As usual, I looked the other way when I walk past the infant room. I avoided eye contact with other parents, especially the moms, and especially the pregnant moms. I spend a lot of time looking at the floor.
Once we were home, Benjamin convinced me to go on a walk to the playground. And luckily, no one else was there so we swung and did the slide and the monkey bars until his dad got home, called to see where we were, and walked to meet us at the playground. A few minutes later, we packed it in and started the trek home. And then we saw our neighbors walking towards us, pushing their stroller with the infant carrier. (Of course, I was pushing our stroller too, but the single one, not the double that's sits in our garage, untouched).
And I totally panicked. I said to Justin, "I can't do this," and I swung Ben's stroller around and started sprinting in the other direction.
I totally ran away.
Justin kept walking into the fire.
I started hyperventilating. (And ironically, I had skipped my final night of meditation because Ben and I had stayed at the playground too late and it seemed too overwhelming to get us both home and fed and leave the house to drive 30 minutes to go sit and practice my breathing, but clearly, that's what I should have been doing at the moment).
Here I am, speedwalking away from my friends (who, for the record, totally saw me turn and run), pushing my son in his stroller, with wild tears flying out of my eyes, hyperventilating.
And then I passed the family the other neighbor mentioned - who had their 3 kids in a wagon and the mom about to pop with her 4th child. I wanted to SCREAM. I wanted to throw myself on the ground and pound my fists on the pavement and scream at the world. I wanted to yell, "IT'S NOT FAIR!" (Instead, I started to sprint).
Why is that baby here and Lydie isn't?
I know there's never going to be an answer to that question. I know some day, I have to find my peace with that. I know I can't avoid people forever. (But can I? Maybe?) I know at that moment in time, I did not have it in me to stop and talk to our neighbors, to see their baby, to ask her name. I could not do it.
We finally got home and I curled up on the couch and sobbed more than I have in months. And soon after we put Ben to bed, I went to bed myself. Another avoidance mechanism I've been doing a lot of is sleeping. The more time I can spend not thinking, the better.