Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What is real and what is not.

I came across this great article today on the Road Less Traveled. It is called The Blank Space in Our Family Album and deserves a read. It is a rare moment when a publication like the Times sheds some light on the subject of miscarriage and infertility. But like Loribeth, I also take issue with the authors use of the phrase "real babies." Fact is, my babies were real. They existed, if only for a short time, if only ever inside my womb. But they were real, and their loss was real.

So even a woman who has suffered loss and IF herself can mis-step. With just a slight slip of the tongue or keyboard, a single word reveals the pervasive notion of what is real and what is not. And who gets to decide? For me, this gets to the depth of what I have been going through for the last year: the pain of having to endure the loss of someone who is unmentionable. My lost embryos make people nervous. So, apparently, it is my job to keep quiet about them. I am supposed to ignore that they ever existed. I am supposed to suck it up and put on a happy face for the festering ring of pregnant women around me-- because they never knew that I felt my babies presence. That I knew they were there. That even after they were gone, my body could still trick me into believing they were still there.

Some things in the world we can not see. And other things in the world we choose not to see. Miscarriage and infertility fall into the latter. It is easy to ignore something until it envelopes, until it swallows you whole and takes you to that unmentionable place. Alone.

I feel better about being alone every day. With J. gone, I spend whole days not talking to anyone. I don't miss my fertile friends as much as I think I thought I would. It makes it easy not to see them when I know they would fumble around me. Or perhaps I am just numb to the pain of loosing them. Or perhaps I just don't care. Probably another unmentionable subject. But there it is.


sara said...

I think it's interesting what you say about pretending or putting on a happy face among the pregnant or other people you're around. People I work with ask me how I'm doing with everything sometimes...and I always smile and say okay...but little do they know the hurt...and constant aching I feel inside. People at work know me as the happy optomistic nice person who never is in a bad mood. Well this is sometimes an exhausing front to put up...sometimes I wish that I had just been negative from the start and then people wouldn't expect so much. Hang in there...I'm keeping you in my thoughts girl!

loribeth said...

Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked the article, I thought it was great overall. I love what you had to say about what we choose not to see until it swallows us up. So very true.

Anonymous said...

hi, I came over from mel's roundup. I love this post, you hit on something very "real" here. I think it's absolutely true that our "lost" embryos and babies are not considered "real" because they aren't real to anyone else but us. with every loss and failed cycle, we lose not just our children but every hope and dream we ever had for them -- yet these things are invisible to others, or maybe as you suggest refused to be seen.

I think I've also grown numb to the loss of some of my fertile friends, realizing I don't really miss the company of the most ignorant or insensitive ones, and not caring enough about preserving some other friendships simply because it hurts too much. I guess numbness seems like a better option for self-preservation...