So I was all set to write about how, when I wrote about my “perfectly ordinary” day on Tuesday, I just wrote about the day. That is, I completely forgot to philosophize, or tie it back to my personal demons, or to even mention (as I had originally planned) that these are the kind of boring blog entries I would probably write if I didn’t have those annoying demons in the first place. Which is all just another sign of progress, right? To actually pass a day that resembles that parallel universe: life without miscarriage, without divorce, without regret?
Sigh. And then… And then today.
I’ve never been as apprehensive about posting something as I am about posting this. Not even when I first started writing and had to tell my story from the beginning, including that horrible moment when I told Doug, “Of course there’ll be a baby.” Not even when I wrote that letter to Monica – my last-ditch attempt at getting back one of the most dynamic friendships of my life – and wondered whether she would read it, whether she even thinks our friendship is worth saving. Not even when I came clean about my most embarrassing moment, like, ever.
The story I’m about to tell may be smaller than those stories, but it involves an awkwardly painful interaction with a coworker, whom I consider a friend, who reads this blog and who is therefore probably going to read every word I write tonight. And that’s the part that makes me nervous – that I won’t be able to explain myself well enough, that I’ll hurt her feelings, that I’ll somehow offend her or start an argument I don’t want to have.
But I can’t not write about it. Because it’s important.
I walked into the breakroom today, looking for free food and free coffee and a spot on the couch for ten minutes. My friend was in there with another coworker, and no sooner had I walked into the room than she turned to him and said, “Did you hear that [some mutual friend of theirs] had her baby?”
I sat down on the couch between them, which means that when my friend passed the guy her phone so he could see a picture of said baby, she passed it right across me.
“I didn’t know that,” the guy said. “She was just in here last week. But she didn’t have the baby yet.”
“No, last week she was huge. I mean, she was so big, she looked like she was having twins. I guess she just blew up at about 28 weeks…”
At this point, I’d had about enough, so I did what I normally do when someone’s pregnancy talk is making me uncomfortable. I calmly got up and left the room.
Then I thought better of the “calmly” part, so I slammed the door on my way out.
Here’s the thing: she reads my blog. I just couldn’t believe someone who knows so much about me would start a conversation about some pregnant chick in front of me. And yeah, maybe she wasn’t thinking about it – maybe not everyone is as obsessed with my feelings as I am? But this girl is generally pretty sensitive, empathetic, and emotionally charged.
She confronted me later to ask if she’d upset me, and I admitted that she had. She claimed they’d already been talking about the baby before I entered the room, and even though I didn’t believe that, I can’t prove it either. And then she said, “My friend had a baby. I’m excited for her. I’d do the same for you, if you had a baby.” And then she said, “I’m not going to censor myself for you.”
I didn’t really say anything. We were on the sales floor, with the customers, and I didn’t want to get into this in front of them – and I also felt put on the spot, and kind of stupid. I told her it was okay and waved her away. Then I spent the next five minutes staring into an open case of sliced cheese, wondering how it was going to get itself onto the shelf, because I was emotionally frozen and about to cry.
I walked into the back room, and stood there, just inside the double doors, trying to compose myself. And suddenly my friend burst through the doors and hugged me, and said something akin to an apology. (I don’t remember exactly what.)
“But I thought you were getting better,” she said. “I thought you were embracing it.”
She makes a good point. I have accepted – maybe even embraced – my role as a miscarriage survivor and my place in the infertility community. I have accepted – maybe even embraced – the fact that I will forever be someone who is sensitive to people’s pregnancies and pregnancy stories (that goes for both failed and healthy pregnancies). Which, to me, means I won’t ever be as happy for, excited about, and awed by someone’s pregnancy/new baby as maybe I would have been, had I never miscarried. I’ll do my best, sure, but I’ll always have those other feelings thrown into the mix as well.
And I really hope my friends and my family can understand that about me. It’s not personal. I’m not begrudging anyone their happiness. But I am asking them to censor themselves – just a little – for my sake.