I have so much I want to write about. I think I have started at least 400 posts in my head. Of course, I have already forgotten 200 of them....but the other 200 will have to wait for another day. Something happened today I need to talk about.
We have volunteers at my work. The volunteer today was a woman, with a 3 year old, currently pregnant with her second child. We are not close or even super friendly but we do chat here and there. She knows I had a baby in December, but that is all she knows. She has never asked the "Is she your first?" question, probably because she has assumed it.
*Before I go on, I know you are all wondering- Yes, I have had a wee bit of a hard time with her pregnancy. Yes, I am jealous, yes, I feel slightly uncomfortable when the topic comes up, Yes, I feel anxiety and tension when lighthearted comments are made about "when" the baby comes. Yes, Yes, Yes, I admit it, okay?*
She was telling me a funny story about her 3 year old waking up early lately. I asked if she trys to put her back down or just gets up. She said it wasn't too early and they usually just get up. Then she tells me they have been really lucky because she slept through the night at 2 months. (*Another side note-why do mothers always mention this in a *braggy* tone?) Then she says,
"Yeah, the first time she did it, I freaked and ran to her room"
I nod here, and murmur agreement, the first time A slept long, I panicked, though I'm sure our panic was at slightly different levels.
She continues, "I mean, I just thought, as I walked to her door, is she dead? Do I want to go there? I mean, I don't want to see that"
But the part that I am not sure I can convey appropriately is her facial expression and tone. It was lighthearted, she smiled and actually laughed as she said it. I would say it was almost like an embarrassed laugh, like when you can't believe you did something.
I stopped smiling immediately. I felt very uncomfortable. I can't exactly describe my thoughts. For some reason, her lighthearted tone made me squirm inside. I felt chilled. Only a mother who has never looked at her dead child would say it that way.
I changed the subject and moved on. I couldn't even nod in agreement anymore, because when I have felt that panic with baby girl A, (more than once!) I could not laugh at myself later. My panic was real. And when baby girl A is shown to be fine, I feel relief, and absolutely no silliness at my thoughts. I mean, baby girl A doesn't sleep in her own room yet, because I am not ready to give up quick access to her or quick access to the sight of her chest rising and falling with breath.
This conversation was another reminder I am not like other mothers. Oh sure, baby girl A works like a costume for me, lets me pretend in public I am like everybody else, but the truth is, I'm not.
I felt so many feelings in this moment. Sadness and anger mostly. Sadness that this was my life, but also sadness that she took it so lightly. She has no idea..... Anger that she took it so lightly and some anger that she said something like that when she knows nothing about my life. I know she doesn't know, but still. Be careful what you say is good advice in life.
And of course, I thought of M, of seeing him dead. And I thought of A, of how seriously I take each of her breaths, of how I have looked at her and felt gratitude drip over every inch of me. And some of that, maybe a lot of that is because I did see one of my children dead.
It seems so odd for me to say this, but that is where my sadness for her came in. She doesn't know that level of gratitude. Not that I want her to. And I don't mean to sound as if I think only us dead baby moms can truly appreciate our children. I just felt like there was something there, some level she will never feel. Weird thoughts, I know.
I felt relief when the conversation was over. I wonder, if she ever does find out about M, will she remember this day, and realize her error? Probably not. And that is okay. I hope she gets to keep her innocence, though I am glad I never sound that lighthearted when mentioning death and my children.