Thursday, March 26, 2015

Avoidance

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.




9 comments:

  1. Wow, that is rough. I'm so sorry. It is so not fair that Lydie isn't here. I love you. I love Lydie.

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  2. Ugh. Being surrounded.

    I don't blame you for running away. Did Justin stop and talk to them? Do they know what happened to Lydie? I mean...I know it's probably impossible to avoid them forever, and you won't feel like this forever, so really, if they're your friends in any way...they'll understand.

    What you did is OK. It's not fucking fair. It's not fucking fair that all of them got their babies and you (and me, and most of us reading this) did not.

    Giving up on those plans of future playdates and classmates is the fucking hardest thing ever, because you have to watch them get their future...and put Lydie's future to rest...It fucking sucks. I'm not gonna lie--I still struggle with that.

    It gets easier. That's all I can tell you. Time doesn't heal, but it puts space between those dreams.

    That's all I've got. And it sucks.

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    1. Yeah, they know about Lydie. They sent a card and brought a meal right away (I made my mom answer the door). I think they've realized we're not up to seeing them and haven't pushed themselves on us. Justin did in fact talk to them. I was kinda upset that he didn't turn around with me, because besides the panic attack, I felt so very ALONE at that moment in time, like he totally bailed on me. He just didn't want to cope at that moment by avoiding. He said it was hard.

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  3. First, if you haven't already, read 'glow in the woods' most recent post. The one entitled "from the archives: life's leverage". Though years have past, I remember living what he writes and it seems like it's the exact place you're in.

    Lovely Heather…I still avoid sometimes. And I could be accused of running many a time as well, especially that first year or two. What I wish for you is that neighbor would now take this opportunity to reach out, write a note with flowers and/or a gift card that says something along the lines of "I heard about your beautiful Lydie, and words can't express how sorry I am. I can't imagine because I don't want to. I understand how it might be hard to see us and be around us, and of course don't want to cause you any more pain. Just know we'll be here if and when you're ready. In the meantime, don't worry about us and know we're here, whatever you need."
    Y'know?

    We had a young couple move in across the street last spring. A really nice house that most people their age could never afford. She's pregnant of course, due in September. In the back of my mind I think, "She may not bring that baby home, so I can put my big girl pants on here." We welcomed them to the neighborhood, invited them to neighborhood events at our home, etc. But then, on August 23rd, working outside in the front yard, my husband hears a newborn cry and says, "They must have had their baby."
    And I f-ing crumbled. Pissed. Off. Couldn't acknowledge their son's birth for over 3 months. How does everyone I know whom I haven't met through a support group or BLM online connection HAVE THEIR FREAKING CHILDREN?? In a quiet little voice I thought maybe this new neighbor and I would bond over our dead firstborn children.
    Because that's how BLMs think. (The ones I can hang with, anyway) It's ugly, it's brutal, but it's truth.
    So I avoided them like the plague.
    Nearly 5 years after the fact there are some situations you just…need time. Sometimes there never becomes a time it's okay.

    One thing I learned a long time later after Anna's death was that the only pressure to be normal again was coming from me. Looking back I can have much, much more compassion for myself that I ever did at the time. This is the depths of hell. And you're upright (most of the time). That's about all anyone can ask. Anyone that asks more of you just doesn't get it and you don't have time or energy for them. For real. Run, cry, do whatever it takes to survive one more day. It WILL change. I promise.

    Love. Love love and love.

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    1. Oh Julie, I hadn't read that one yet. Just did, and you're right, Chris sounds like he was in a similar place as me. I like this line: "How do we hold on to the good that remains all around us while our guts trail behind us like a nauseous shadow? How did we come to this? This limbo? This World where everything is dangerous and uncertain and somehow still stunning? And how, while in this World, do we get up every fucking day and just go do shit that needs to get done?"

      I always think similar things when I see pregnant women too. Well, there's no guaranteeing that baby will be born alive. But odds are? They will be.

      Thanks as always, for your thoughts and your support and for letting me know I'm not completely crazy. Love to you and Brad and Anna and Cate.

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  4. I'm so sorry Heather! I wish I was closer to give you a big hug.
    You are right it's not fair that Lydie isn't here. Call me later if you want to talk. I love you!

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  5. Whoa! That is just too much--more than anyone should have to handle. Just awful! I probably wouldn't have had the guts to run, I prob would have plastered a fake smile and then sobbed my ass off all night. I was really bad about not putting my needs first and doing what I thought I should do. It didn't help me at all--I think it made things worse. So kudos to you for knowing what you can handle and running when you know you just can't deal. Xoxo

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    1. I agree with Molly. I'm glad you made the choice that was good for you. The situation just sucks from every angle.

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  6. Would've totally turned around. I'm not sure my husband would've either. In fact, I'm fairly certain I HAVE turned around before. Except, we have lots of kids in our neighborhood, but not lots of babies. I'm the only one who was still procreating in 2010 that I knew about. It was a bit easier in that regard, and also... Ben is your first and Lydie your second.

    Hell, I'd still avoid that nursery room at daycare. Ick. Ick. Ick. The feelings it brings out are just horrid, you know? I simply hate it.

    I'm so sorry. Baby loss is no joke and messes you the eff up. Wish I could say I've been cured. Two babies later and... nope. I still look away at the sight of 4yo kiddos. I avoid conversation with their parents. I don't ask questions. It's too hard.

    Eventually babies will no longer hurt because those babies will be 2 and 5 and 7. Instead, the hurt will be the age they were. At least that's where I am in the most pain, still.

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