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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Don't Mess With the Alpha Queen Bitch

Howdy, KuKd Strong Mommas and Inquisitive Guests!

I like anger. I believe that anger has its legitimate uses in life. Sarah Jessica Parker, her obnoxious shoe collection, and the Bush administration all make me mad, and it feels good to rant about them. I also believe that anger is a totally natural part of the grieving process. Finally, I believe in becoming a pissed off, over-controlling bee-yatch for the sake of my own health - but only over things that I actually can control.

I came across this organization called the National Stillbirth Society ( I'll call it NSS for short. NSS seems to be comprised of a group of folks who want to duke it out with Mother Nature; they want their stillborn babies back, they harbor lots of resentment, and they want the rest of the world to be as angry as they are. Hey, I can totally relate to that sentiment, having felt (notice the past tense) that way for months on end. There are several things that bother me about NSS.

First, the website implies that stillbirth can be prevented. And if someone is going to tell me that there are things I can do to prevent KuKd (other than the obvious, like not smoking crack and doing belly flops from the high dive), then my next pregnancy (if that happens) is going to be a filled with stress and anxiety. You may as well start calling me Pregzilla right now. The website's glaring red "STAMP OUT S.A.D.S" (Sudden Antenatal Death Syndrome) logo irritates me, partially because I think the font and color are kind of fear-mongering, and also because it suggests that we can and should fight against something that Mother Nature orchestrates, like stinky cow farts or thunderstorms. Why affix KuKd with a label like "syndrome?" Isn't KuKd caused by all sorts of things?

NSS also seems to be big on generating mass hysteria around stillbirth, like it's this crazed monster that must be stopped. Excerpts include:
  • "Stillbirth is an 'Equal Opportunity Destroyer of Dreams! Norman Rockwell type mothers can have stillbirths and 'crack mothers' can have live births!" (read: even YOU, law-abiding, socioeconomically stable Caucasian female with lawyer husband and McMansion, can be affected!)
  • At present there's no way to predict who will be next!" (be afraid, be very afraid!)
  • "There is no excuse to allow stillbirths to continue on as it has for all of recorded history!"
I have little use for such sweeping propaganda right now, for it just doesn't square with any of my H.E.A.L survival strategies for KuKd. The "L" of my KuKd Survival Strategies: LET GO.

To digress for a moment, one thing that was both refreshing and frustrating about teaching in Uzbekistan for 2.5 years was that people didn't seem to get angry about much over there. If the bus driver pulled over for an hour to do vodka shots, if the school dining halls served tasteless rice-like slop with pebbles mixed in, if the water stopped running, people got over it. At first, I was like, what is wrong with you people! Rise up and fight the power! But after a while, I learned to relax and stop trying to control everything. I even threw caution to the wind and started drinking water from the spigot outside my house, even though I knew it meant dooming myself to shitting water at some point, and just accepted that I would never ever ever get anywhere on time. Some things were simply beyond my control.

When KuKd reared its ugly head, I was angry at first. Angry at the doctors for not taking me seriously when I told them my baby wasn't moving enough. Angry at the fetal medics for not fixing Zach's heart problem or coming up with any answers. Angry at my mother for asking me once a week what the answers were, even though I continually told her I didn't know. Nobody knew. And now, nearly eleven months later: I've let go of most of that anger and control syndrome. At least I'm trying to. I'd venture to say that our entire American culture has issues with control, but that's another conversation.

Hey, I respect Mother Nature - she's an alpha queen bitch, the head cheerleader who was always gorgeous and confident, the one in charge - and I'm not going to mess with her. Trying to rearrange her plan is like pushing hard against a wall of air. Totally unsatisfying.


Natalie said...

There are some things I like about the National Stillbirth Society... I like how they are promoting research, because yes I think it's important that we do what we can to prevent stillbirths. But a lot of what you said ran through my head too. It just sounds so ANGRY. And yes, of course it makes you angry. Stillbirth SUCKS. But blaming your doctors and everyone around you... I don't know. It doesn't help. Like you said.... nature is the alpha queen bitch and some shit just... happens. I know what happened to my son was just a freak accident and there was nothign to be done to prevent it, no one screwed up, it sucks, but that's just how it is. And I'm at peace with that (mostly).

Monica L. said...

Natalie, I'm so glad you commented. I support the research, more targeted efforts such as detecting fetal heart failure more early on in a pregnancy. Part of my...well...healing process is to give up this idea of being Super Perfect Prego Girl - ie Pregzilla. Letting go. I need to do that, Zen is telling me to. Which is why the tone and tenor of this NSS website just isn't for me right now.

Sharon said...

Monica, sorry I've taken so long to respond to your post. I read this one a couple of days ago, but was unsure how to respond. I cannot imagine what it must be like trying to recover from the lost of Zach! But I bet you've spent hours/ no probably days/months years looking for reasons. I truly hope you get the peace and healing you deserve!