Too Chicken

The pink and blue ribbon for Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day is peppered across my social networks today. I’m actually surprised I haven’t seen it in my reader here at all. In an unrelated coincidence, I was reading Mel’s (non-sad) post this morning, in which she posted a link to the song “Say Something.”

And I clicked it because I’ll always follow the scent of that song whenever it wafts into consciousness. When I was inside the MRI machine at CHOP, they gave me headphones to drown out the noise, and that song came on whatever runny-mascara, heartbreak satellite radio station they were tuned to. (Strange choice, honestly) Then I had a little panic attack inside the machine, and we had to stop the test until I calmed down because my reaction was making the baby flip all over the place, so it was impossible for them to take clear pictures of exactly how screwy his organs were. I don’t know what to label it now, six months later: ongoing catharsis or stubborn gluttony (for punishment)? Multiple traumas rolled into a long-term emotional concussion, like those football players who get tackled so many times they go crazy?

Anyhow, I felt compelled (briefly) to add my own Facebook post, which lasted about 93 seconds before I deleted it. All the emotions came tumbling, and I started thinking of people in my husband’s family who never even acknowledged that it happened seeing this post and ignoring it again. Nope. I do this a lot, apparently – post impulsively and delete.

Anyhow, here, in my anonymity, I have the courage to spread awareness to my very targeted audience of people who probably already know. Love to all my girls and the babies who live on in memory.

i carry your heart with me(I carry it in my heart)

27 thoughts on “Too Chicken

  1. Many others are probably too chicken also which is why I have not seen the ribbon in my feed. I just updated my profile pic. Thanks for sharing, I finally do not care who knows that I have lost a child. Hope you are well Ms. A or as well as you can possibly be. I want to post your blog to the CCRM FB page to give perspective and to share your story as you eloquently convey many of the emotions we all feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gosh, I’ve been feeling so rotten, it makes me sad that it’s a thing ppl identify with. Good for you going public! It’s a service to those feeling isolated and scared. And, um, as far as sharing, I just don’t want an army of maniacal Schoolcraft fans descending on my page to defend his honor.

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        • Yeah those rituals never did much for me, tho we did plant a tree and spread the ashes, but a lot of that felt to be more about being respectful of his life as a real thing and not just a ‘cluster of cells’ as they say. After it’s just, like, over and the candle…well, you know.

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  2. I don’t think this makes you chicken. You are only protecting yourself. I was married later in life. I have been struggling for almost 2-1/2 years to make a baby. No one in our families know what we’ve been through. His side: they are sweet, old fragile people who worry about us and this would be too sad for them. My side: upon telling me mother I was engaged, she said: your not going to have kids, are you? She’s also pointed out celebrities and said “they’re too damn old to be having kids” or “IVF is wrong, God didn’t intent for people to grow in test tubes.” I’m not on Facebook. I love not being on there. At times it can be very painful, you know? And if I was on there, it’d feel weird to come out on such a personal matter. I remember back in the days of MySpace, when my dad died, I said nothing. I didn’t want to share such a personal sad fact. It would make me incredibly vulnerable. I have a hard time asking for sympathy. I rather get support from more comfortable places–forums and reading blogs like yours. A few people who I work with ask me if I want a baby, which I think is cruel. (Married 3 years and I’m 40). In a perfect and sensitive world, I’d educate them on diminished ovarian reserve, blocked tubes, and polyps. But it’s none of their business. At least family has followed my cues and have quit asking.

    I’ve never had a miscarriage. The death of a life long dream, yes. Canceled IVF cycles, yes. Collateral damage–yes, totally. But a miscarriage I have not had. Yours I believe was at 20 weeks. And your whole family knew. I am so so sorry that they did not acknowledge this loss. They seem like the chickens. Avoiding an uncomfortable (for them!) talk with you. Is it so hard to say “I’m sorry, I’m here to listen if you need to talk.”

    If you want to say something in Facebook–great. I just wanted to grab Chrissy Teigan & Tyra Banks a few weeks ago for coming out so beautifully on their show in regards to infertility. It’s nice to know that when we are “too chicken” to talk, that there are others that can do it for us. I’d like to think one day I will have a Facebook, or can challenge my mom as she holds court at her kitchen table and spews out hurtful opinions. I will give them all a piece of my mind. But for now, I just need to protect myself.
    But good for your friends on Facebook with these ribbons! And good for the celebs that speak out for those who are too sad to do it for themselves.

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    • My most recent and most significant loss was at 23 weeks, but the drama with his health started at 20. Shower invites had gone out already. In-laws we see every Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter sent not so much as a text or a card. My MIL went completely off the rails, and I am still not speaking to her.

      Funny you say the stuff about your mom holding court. My mother said once about the daughter of what I can only describe as an unofficial foster brother (teenage runaway my mom took in when I was 10) that she would spend more money on Christmas gifts when it was her “real grandchild.” I will never forget that. I hear it in my head every time I consider the alternate paths.

      FTR, most of the ppl who posted are moms at this point, which is good for courage. Hard to be vulnerable when you’re still so vulnerable (and raw).

      These “comments” have gotten quite long-winded lol. You should probably email me.

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  3. What is it with family evaporating around miscarriage/loss? It’s a slap in the face when you’re already feeling destroyed. Speaking of face slaps, every one who posted baby photos, nursing questions, or birth stories needs one.

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    • It’s selfish but I think it’s just the ostrich mentality in the face of something uncomfortable. You’d just expect more from “family” but family so often fails to act right.

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  4. It’s strange – normally I’m pretty vocal about infertility and miscarriage. I announced one of my miscarriages on facebook, I talk about infertility often, and I’ll mention my losses in conversation if there’s a reason to do so.

    I’d been thinking all month about how to do a post on miscarriage and loss yesterday. And then yesterday came…and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was so sad. They were my babies, from the one whose heartbeat stopped to the two that tried to grow and never really had a chance. I thought about them, and then didn’t want to share them. The thought was like opening a vein and bleeding in front of people – some would have been sympathetic, empathetic, been there themselves, or understood, but others would have been indifferent and I couldn’t bring myself to be that vulnerable right then. So instead, I settled for thinking about them – along with all the other babies I know who died or didn’t make it for any reason – and holding them in my heart the best I could.

    Thinking of you and love the poem – you are so right that it works no matter who it is you are missing.

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    • Sometimes I think maybe with distance and resolution it would be easier to be vulnerable in the name of spreading awareness. Most of the people I saw who posted were already mothers (of 2-4 year-olds) so that time to heal I’m sure goes a long way for making it feel safe to disclose so publicly.

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  5. I did that too on FB yesterday. Ended up not posting anything. Then saw a post from a woman who had 2 healthy babies after several miscarriages. She and all her commenters were “praising God.” This type of post makes me more mad than posts praising Donald Trump. A miracle is something highly unlikely to occur that is considered to be a positive thing – so unlikely that folks think it can only be attributed to God. We need a word for the opposite – highly unlikely and negative. And to whom do we attribute this? Because I’ve been many times in the unlikely .01%, and I’d like to know whom I should be thanking. Anyway I don’t think my FB friends wanted to hear that, so glad I can vent in this space.

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    • Well, that’s what I wrote about in the post before this. If children are “God’s gift” and this all happens according to “God’s Plan” then what about those who have been abandoned him by “Him”? “He” just doesn’t like us as much? We have to sustain major losses (temporary and permanent) to qualify for the gift that comes so easily to most? I don’t have any patience for that line of thinking.

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  6. Every year since losing the twins I thought about posting something on Facebook on this day. And didn’t. Somewhere between too personal and too vulnerable and not willing to take more ignorance. This year I posted a picture of our pumpkin, with two candles and a hashtag for the remembrance day. Do whatever you’re comfortable with – there’s enough discomfort in the situation to begin with.

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    • I eventually posted the burning candle on an event page for the day and deleted it because I got comments from my Facebook friends who saw it in their feed. Definitely too vulnerable

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  7. When I had my MRI they had Pandora and had me pick an artist to create a station from. I thought that was genius. (I chose Sparklehorse, if you’re curious.)

    I lit my candle for wave of light and thought of you and me and far too many others. Honoring them feels right but the pain returns over and over.

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    • Yeah, choosing a station would make sense. In retrospect, i can’t f-ing believe the music they were playing for a fetal MRI in a children’s hospital where every single patient is probably some combination of sad and scared-to-death. Oh, here’s “Say something; I’m giving up on you” because maybe your baby is dying. Jesus!

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