A blog about babies: the babies I lost, the babies I never had, the baby who made me a Mama.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Birth Day; or, I'd Hit the Bottle If it Weren't Still Lent

Niece #2 arrived at 8:55 this morning, while I was in the middle of showing my students an episode from season 2 of Mad Men to cap off our unit on Constructions of Gender. My husband forwarded me the e-mail from his brother. She's here. She has a name. And there you have it.

I'm feeling a lot of emotions right now. Primary among them: anxiety. The queasy stomach, fluttery heart, sweaty palms kind of anxiety. The anxiety I've felt off and on for the past ten years during crappy times with J and S. The anxiety that used to make me shake with the chills whenever I told a friend or a therapist the story I related to all of you last month, the story of rejection and unaccountable cruelty that formed the majority of our relationship with them for so many years.

I'm also feeling sadness. It comes and goes. It's not linked to any particular word or thought or mental image. Every so often it wells up and I get teary. And then it subsides.

I'm feeling annoyed. I just don't want to be bothered with this right now. My spring break starts next week, and I have a lot of things I need to get done. I can't be distracted by depression. Lawyer Guy's father is hosting Passover Seder next Tuesday. I was banking on the baby coming right around then (S was set to be induced the 29th) and none of them showing up. Now the whole evening is going to revolve around the baby and analyzing every aspect of her face to determine whom she most resembles. And I can't even drink until Easter.

I'm feeling angry and aggrieved. I didn't want any harm to come to this child, and yet I resent the fact that S has never known the pain I'm living. I wish she would. I hope they try for another baby and can't get pregnant. I'm actually wishing the sadness of this hell we all face every day on two people who did nothing but have sex and get a baby out of it. How's that for karma?

I'm feeling guilty. This is my niece. She was born today. And all her life I'm going to have to remember the fact that the day she was born, in my heart of hearts I wished that she and her family would pack up and move to Bora Bora and never contact any of us again. I have to look at myself in the mirror and think about the person I am: so jealous and bitter it warps happy things and makes them sad. Unkind, unfair, ungracious and well on my way to being the sort of old childless woman who snipes at little kids for messing with her cats or picking her flowers.

I'm feeling alone. Lawyer Guy's family is happy. Lawyer Guy is happy. Only I feel no joy. And as much as he tells me that everyone understands and no one will hold my sadness against me right now, that doesn't make me feel any less like an outsider looking in.

Lawyer Guy is going to the hospital tonight. I am not. I can. I could. I'm strong enough to handle it, I know I am. But I don't want to. I don't think they will really miss me all that much if I'm not there, so why should I torture myself just to prove a point about resilience that no one but me even cares about and that I've already proven to myself?

But the other stuff-- the Seder, the possible visit we'll have to make this weekend to "see the baby," the gift I've got to buy; that stuff I have to do. And again, I know I can, even if my whiny inner three year old moans, "But I don't want to!" I know I can, even when my heart feels like a big lump of dead meat in my chest.

On the phone, Lawyer Guy said to me, "I know this will be a hard day for you, and I'm going to try to be sensitive to that and not get upset. But you need to not be upset that this is a happy day for me."

That's the part I'm not sure I can do. And of course, that's the most important part of all.

So guys? I'm gonna need some help. Because these are just about four feelings too many for a Tuesday afternoon.


  1. What a tough day! It makes me sad... for both of you. I would probably go. Of course, if anyone mentions "hold a baby," I am so there. BUT I totally understand if you don't. Be glad that DH understands - I love that he gets how you feel and he gets how he feels. Let this be a "bring us together" day instead of a separation day. Know what I mean?

    I still think your day will come, and I think it'll mean much, much more - because it took so much to get there. Ya' know? I mean... I'm totally convinced that my child is going to be more special than most others, because most people don't have to wish, hope, pray for a baby like I have already prayed for mine. ;)

    So... regardless of the fact that you have a new niece and she's cool... yada yada yada... your future child is SO MUCH COOLER. ;)

    Chin up, deary! Wish I could wave a magic wand and fix it. ;)

  2. Oh sweetie, I so sympathize. I can vividly recall feeling that same set of emotions just a few weeks ago when my BF's baby arrived. Even the anxiety--my heart was pounding, my back got all crampy like it does when I'm super stressed. And this is someone I love and have a good relationship with, so I can't imagine how much harder it is when it's a more complicated relationship. Try to shake off the guilt as soon as you can. You're not doing anything wrong by feeling upset, you have nothing to feel guilty about. Do something special for yourself (a massage?) or go to mass or go be somewhere beautiful or somehow remind yourself that you are loved and special.

    And on a lighter note, using Mad Men in class = awesome! I bet you're a great teacher!

  3. Oh, hon... I totally get it. As if today wasn't hard enough, now you have so many occasions where you have to "be happy" with family. It's hard enough to struggle and grieve on your own. It's far worse when you have to pretend that you don't feel that way in front of others.

    There is no shame in finding this difficult. It IS difficult and you are not alone. XOXO.

  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog and letting me know there's another needle phobe out there. I've seen your brilliant posts and meant to follow back.

    We need a better word for this guilt-want-someone-to-have-a-bit-of-hardship with fertility feeling. It's like a ball of happiness, smothered by well-meaning, but still intentionally hurtful, pillows of pain. I echo Bunny here, that you ought to focus on making yourself feel better in the short term. But, I've also found that in these situations, sometimes facing the hospital just after a birth is a good thing. Seeing the couple tired, worn out, the woman beat to hell by childbirth, takes an edge off of wanting them to suffer. They do suffer. Granted they get a baby out of it, which is entirely unfair, but it can help.

    Otherwise, seriously don't force yourself into any situation you don't feel up to in the short term. It takes time. I wish there were a magic wand as well, but you will feel less fragile and these emotions will untangle from the hard knot at some point.

    I would love a class where someone showed Mad Men. Where do I enroll?

  5. Wow, I think the Seder is going to be really hard... maybe you should see the baby first, to get used to it. Hopefully it will be a really ugly baby.

    I just read that another one of my fb friends is pregnant, and while that's nothing compared to a niece, I still feel that awful sinking feeling.

    Is all this REALLY HAPPENING??? Shit.

    I am so sorry you have to deal with this new niece, and I'm also sorry that LG is happy. Even worse!! Ugh.

  6. Oh, SS. I am so sorry. This is a brilliantly written post, but heartbreakingly sad, too. I am sending you love and support and wishing I could whip you up a mocktail and just be there to offer all of my support and enable you to be weepy/bitter/sad/[all of the above] on the couch tonight. I love what you said about not needing to prove your resilience to anyone but yourself. It's so true. The fact is, you will love this child no matter what. But today, this week, this month, whatever, for now you need to take care of YOU. ((hugs))

  7. For what it's worth ... I have wished, well, not quite ill will, but difficulties or "something" on those who are among the super-fertile/nothing-bad-ever-happens-too-crowd. So, you are not alone.

    My therapist said it was okay for me to think these thoughts, just not act upon them. I.E. she said it was okay for me to see a Super-Fertile (think very pregnant woman with 3 little kids in tow) and think to myself "I hope you don't get the epidural in time!" but obviously to not trip her, LOL, if you catch my drift.

    Hon, you do whatever YOU need to get through this, okay? And if that means bitching about it on your blog 12 times a day, I am gonna be more than happy to read it 12 times a day and tell you that you have earned the right to be pissed and moody, okay?!


  8. Oh honey, I know this hurts! I honestly think I would be feeling the same way. I don't have a good answer for you on how to get through this other than to fake it. Do it for your lawyer guy! When you get that BFP you will look back on the sedar and be proud of yourself for being so strong when you were hurting so bad.

  9. I think your feeling the same way all of us would feel, so unless all of us are bad people I would just assume that its a natural feeling. When my nephew was born it was really hard, god, it was just like what your describing. I kinda had to just fake my excitement. He's older now, and although I know how I felt the day he was born, I love the snot out of him now. He's his own little person and I barely ever think about where he came from, when, how and under what circumstances. That being said, you need to do what is right for you......there is nothing wrong with saying back to Lawyer boy "I am happy for you, but sad for myself and I need to take some time to sit back and be alone with DH for a while, I will see baby when I'm ready"

  10. Oh, tough day. You've proven to yourself more than once before that you can handle tough situations, even when you don't want to, even when you think you can't. And you'll handle this too. Just remind yourself of all the great things Lawyer Guy has done for you, all the reasons you love him; then think about how important it is to him that you put on a brave public face for these events.
    It's ok to be sad, anxious, guilty... just pick your moments. And then when you have the opportunity: wallow a bit. Be miserable. Get angry. Then shake yourself out of it and go for a nice walk, get a massage or a manicure, treat yourself to your favourite junk food, or something else to treat yourself.
    You can do it!

  11. I'm de-lurking to add on to what the other wise women already have written: be nice to yourself, allow yourself to feel what you feel without feeling guilt about it, and know that there are loads of us out there who get it and who would be similarly torn in such a position (case in point -- I'm dreading this weekend, which I will spend with my two nephews -- one new -- at my mil's house.) But you can do this. Seriously, you can.

  12. You aren't a bad person for feeling this way. I have lived in fear of my siblings-in-law beating me to having babies (I'm an only child, so I don't have any competition from my side of the family), and even though we've adopted and thus beat them to parenthood, with my sister-in-law newly married I'm terrified that she'll turn up pregnant before I do, and suddenly everyone's excitement over our little boy will pale to the thrill of seeing their genes carried on. It doesn't make me a good person, hoping they'll wait to try till after I've already given birth, but I don't think it makes me bad, either. I just think it's one of the sad and inevitable consequences of being stuck in the land of IF. I'm sorry, and I hope meeting baby isn't as bad as you think it will be. You never know--I've found that some of the baby encounters I've dreaded aren't so bad once I'm in the moment. Then again, some are worse. Good luck, and know that what you're feeling is perfectly normal and understandable, given the circumstances.

  13. I agree, right now the priority is YOU. We can't help our feelings, especially in this particular situation. And like your hubby said as much as its supposed to be a happy day, for us that is usually the farthest emotion from our minds. Sure I can say I'm happy for so and so, but the truth is I'm devasted inside, hurting so much I can hardly stand it, and hating that I feel that way in the first place. Just know you are not alone, its awful and it sucks...but it will pass, at least that's what I tell myself. There will be a day we can just be happy again, there has to be. So in the meantime just do whatever you need to take care of you, and know that we're all here for you too!! Hang in there.

  14. So many of the other commenters have said what I want to say (and probably so much more eloquently) - but you are not a bad person for feeling this way. I know how much it hurts to be feeling sad when you want so badly to feel joy. And like Basic Girl said, be sure to take care of you first and hopefully things will look much brighter very soon.

    Thinking of you.