Hi KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests! I changed the title of this post because the first was too unwieldy to say. It's been nearly eleven months, almost one year (OMG, has it really been that long!!!) since my Ultimate Shitty Event, and here I am at a hotel in the hilly town of Tartu, southeast Estonia, my arse sore as hell from riding for hours and hours and hours the past three days.
I'm thinking about the day of our Ultimate Shitty Event, and about the many things we did wrong, some intentionally, some not. Things that Books, Grief Counselors, and Social Workers, which I shall hereby refer to as one vast shadowy entity called BOGS, would condemn. We followed our instincts, bumbling blindly through the minutes and days following the news that our baby was dying and wouldn't survive delivery, without bothering to listen to BOGS, or even consult with BOGS in the first place.
Honestly, I didn't feel that I wanted BOGS, some fifty-something white lady with a PhD, who had probably never experienced KuKd in her life, telling me how to think, act, and feel. Probably the type with her own personal problems and insecurities, the type who gets her jollies off other people's drama, making herself feel important by slathering KuKd Mommas with advice. Screw that, I thought. So we went it alone, for better or for worse.
BOGS said to look at the baby's face. We just pulled back a tiny piece of blanket and saw his mouth, wide open in an “Oh Shit!” of dismay, and that was enough for me. BOGS said to see the whole baby, not hidden in a blanket, and give the baby a bath. K and I said no way Jose, because we just couldn't fathom how this corpse of an infant could possibly be our baby. BOGS said to hold the baby for a long time and do things like sing to it and kiss its face. But again, to me this wasn't my baby, just a cheap substitute, a consolation prize of sorts, so I said I would pass on that, thanks. BOGS said to leave the baby room as is, with the cradle and clothing and what-nots still there, so that we could go hang out in that room later on and feel miserable. Instead, we had our friends Jen and Jayson rush over there before we got home from the hospital, clear out that room and hide any evidence of baby-ness in the garage, including the What to Expect book. And it's all still there, probably getting moldy. BOGS said to name the baby and say that name frequently: I couldn't even bear to utter a name until about a month later. When I busied myself by sending out birth/death announcements in cute blue lettering, I just called him Baby Boy LeMoine, because that's all I could bring myself to say.
The one time I did go to a BOGS professional, a grief counselor at Group Health, I got irritated and left without looking back. She was, indeed, a white 50-something lady with a PhD and a box of Kleenex, primarily interested in hearing herself spew forth words of wisdom with a look of self-importance on her face. She looked satisfied when I shed a few tears, as I tried to ignore the photos of her own three healthy kids on the wall, and she finally said, “I can't imagine what you're going through.” Ahh, the truth: she was not KuKd, not a part of the tribe. And I had no use for her.
I wonder nowadays how my ignorance of BOGS's advice affected my H.E.A.L.ing - if I'm a bad person, a weak person, a stupid person, an uncaring person, for not paying attention to all those BOGS. If there were some experiment to see how women fare after KuKd and I was part of a control group - the group that did everything wrong - what would be the difference between me and other women who did everything right? Looking back, sometimes I wish I'd followed the rules.
Actually, I still go back and skim parts of Empty Cradle, Broken Heart from time to time, because it's got some useful bits without the condescending tone of some BOGS in-person (although I still suspect it's written by an aforementioned 50-something, non-KuKd white lady with PhD and a love of giving advice). But what I find most therapeutic, more than any BOGS really, is reading The Onion, and watching the entire season of The Office (British version, of course) on DVD.
Check those things out if there's Wi-Fi and Netflix up there in baby heaven, Zachary. Ignore the profanity, though; only grown-ups are allowed to say those things.