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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Dead-Baby-Daddies: Lemme Hear You Say Ho!!!

Greetings, Guests and Mommas!

Somebody asked me recently how Kevin dealt with losing babies. Actually, a lot of people have asked me that over the years - but this particular question came from a gal whose daughter was stillborn just a few months ago, and who wanted some coping advice for that man-o-hers.

Of course I thought to myself, me? Give coping advice? Kevin? Give male-coping advice? Uh, right. That's like asking us for help with putting up drywall, in which case our simultaneous answer would be: grab your checkbook and find a good contractor. Still, I decided to indulge her and give it some thought, tapping Kevin briefly for advice.

His response was: "Hmmm. I'll think about it after I'm done watching ESPN Sports Center."

Needless to say, that was a dead-end conversation.

So here's some totally unscientific dead-baby-daddy advice I thought I'd put out there, dredged from the depths of my brain, without any help whatsoever from Kevin himself (which says something about how men deal with shit like this), based purely on observation and instinct:

First, congratulations, Dead Baby Daddy! You failed to produce a living baby, which makes you automatically less manly than...say...John McCain, who effortlessly spread his strong and viable seed with a quick flick of the dick (or several flicks, as the case may be). John McCain, whose reproductive powers are a true sign of biological and cosmic superiority.

You, on the other hand, have testicles like little flecks of useless dust; a penis the size and strength of a small hair Scrunchy; sperm the quality and robustness of a dying slug; a testosterone level that barely registers under a microscope. You've no choice, now, but to channel your masculine, seed-spreading energies into other, hopefully more successful directions.

Here are some steps to get you started:

1) Have a home-remodeling side project on hand, not yet completed, and money in the bank to pour into that project, for when dead-baby-disaster strikes (which it will, because - as mentioned above - you ain't no John McCain). The second the news comes in, your primal urge to fix up the house will kick in, so be ready for it. Have your toolbox accessible, plans drawn up, paint colors selected, mallet ready for bashing in walls, spray washer for eliminating cobwebs from the basement.

Don't think about whether this home project actually NEEDS to be done right now, if it's an efficient use of your time and money. None of that matters. What's important is that you are actually doing something constructive, building something, smashing something, bashing something, sanding something, painting something, scrubbing something, hammering something. It is, in fact, the only route back to real manhood.

As you do this, your Dead-Baby-Momma wife/girlfriend/partner will look at you with undying love in her eyes, your inadequacy as a sperm-shooting offspring-producer erased from her mind as she marvels adoringly at your newly acquired handyman skills. You'll enjoy it when she looks at you this way, when she tells her friends and family, "YES! He did that all by himself!"

And you'll feel like a man again. A useful, productive, actively contributing member of the household and of society at large.

2) Plan a romantic getaway with your Dead Baby Mommma (that is: your wife/girlfriend/partner/friend-with-benefits), about four or five months after the Shitty Event. That's long enough for her to not accuse you of trying to make light of the situation, but short enough to where she still really needs you to pay attention to her. She also needs some reassurance that life without this baby is a life worth living. So make that happen.

Go someplace warm and tropical, even foreign - Central/South American are both good bets, as is the Caribbean, and splurge on the room with the ocean view. Tell her often that you love her, even when her face looks like that of a puffed-up sea monster from bawling all night. Buy her some g-string undies for the trip, and assure her that she looks hot in them, even if she doesn't. She feels totally unsexy right now, depressed and disappointed and hateful of how her body looks. Your extra kind words will get extra mileage during this trying time in your lives.

And who knows; you might even get laid (no guarantees, though).

Although this piece of advice seems more about her, it's really about you, because you'll be happier if she's happier.

Trust me on that.

Get used to giving and listening a lot, and not getting much in return. Sorry dude, but that's just the way it's going to be for a while. Dead Baby Momma is going to blather and sob and express strings of profanity, even at times when you aren't feeling the punch. Your job will be to listen and take the brunt of all that, even when you're not in the mood for it, so develop some good listening strategies. Even fake-listening strategies are okay; try thinking about basketball tournaments coming up, or aforementioned home remodel projects, if you aren't "feeling it" when your wife/girlfriend/partner/friend-with-benefits is.

Also, get used to fielding phone calls, running errands, pouring through medical bills, making dinner, etc. Many of those things will become your job.

You'll handle them fine, because you're a man, and because you'll appreciate those abundant opportunities to be busy, to make valuable contributions where other chances to contribute seem few and far between.

4) If you manage to go to a support group, be prepared to come away wondering why you just wasted a perfectly good evening sitting around with a bunch of weepy women and less-manly men than yourself, everyone talking and sharing and caring like some sort of elementary school story time. Ask your Dead-Baby-Momma partner, gently but with conviction, if she wouldn't mind instead going out for steaks and beers next time, promising that the two of you can talk about stillbirth to her heart's content. She might even say yes, and feel flattered that you're taking her on a meat-and-booze date.

5) At times, your nose might feel prickly, and hot water might gather behind your eyeballs. This is called "crying," and you should be ready for it. It will probably happen to you at least once (indeed, perhaps ONLY once) during this ordeal. When it does, it will shock you to all hell, because it might not be something you've ever done in your adult life.

You'll see yourself doing it in the mirror, hear your own voice trembling, feel your lower lip quivering, and you reach frantically for a wad of Kleenex. Embrace this sensation, and just go with it. It won't come as naturally or as often as for your Dead Baby Momma counterpart, but when it happens, she will love you more than she ever has before, hurt by the sight of your tears (she'll get over it, though). She'll tell her friends and family members proudly about how you cried, and they will all secretly commend you for your ability to emote in the face of tragedy. You will have proven yourself to be a real, feeling, quality man - the kind of man that Salt-n-Peppa discuss in that song, "What a Man, What a Man, What a Mighty Good Man."

There's more, but those are a few strategies to get you started. You'll just have to wait until my next book comes out, "Knocked Down, but Not Out: The KuKd Man's Man's Guide to Getting Through Stillbirth."


Michelle said...

I think you did a great job of nailing that right on the head! I think if the men expressed themselves like we did that is exactly what they would say they just don't know it...until after they are done watching sports center. :)

Hope's Mama said...

Eerily familiar! We just did the tropical vacation and we also haven't been back to a support group. And Simon is also chief phone answerer.

Monica LeMoine said...

Good - glad this sounds eerily familiar to some of you so far! I will let Kevin know that he's "not alone," and he'll nod and say "oh" without really giving a rat's ass.

Brenna said...

Much familiar there. We did the trip (Vegas--which was foreign enough for my taste!) and there've definitely been a few conversations when I'm pretty sure Bruce was reliving a recent football game in his head. (To be fair, he tells me he gets a lot out of our support group meetings--I'm going to chose to believe him on that one.)

Megan said...

Sometimes I forget that my husband is going through this too. But then he will make some comment that will cause me to realize that he is hurting too. Then I feel like a real asshole.

leahjane8 said...

Omigod this made me laugh (and tear up). My husband did tons of work on the yard (while I laid around and watched TV and read). And we went to Cabo....

sharonvw said...

Hahahaha! Great post Mon! You made me laugh and cry at the same time (actually the fuckin IVF hormones made me cry)!
Great advice! I'm going to give it to my hubbie to read, he's also of the opinion that he'd rather stab himself in the eye with a used IVF needle than talk about his feelings!

Barbara said...

We're so predictable aren't we. As if there was a script.


Cara said...

Cape Cod - check.
Phone - went unanswered
Project - Fixed the wall where he put his fist threw it.

Hey - sometimes you have to make your own project, right?

Heather said...

OMG!! You are hilarious in a very dark way! I love it. I am so like that. People don't get my sick humor. But, it's how I cope. My dad said to me upon meeting my 13 month old daughter (don't ask) "You done good kids!" and I responded with "Well, the first time anyhow!" no one laughed. I thought it was funny, and it was true. My first pregnancy went perfect, the second one was anything but. I sent this blog to my husband because I am sure he will appreciate that I am not the only one out there who is darkly humerous. Thanks for posting this. It really made me day.

Lani said...

well, we did go to panama around the 5 month mark. my husband happens to be an anomaly i think- he is pretty much right there in sync with me every step of this. he is one of the babylost bloggers, i kinda just started writing on his blog to help me get through this shit.

but, its true that he definitely did more of the phone answering at the beginning. and he definitely would rather have steak and beer instead of going to the support group.

we actually laugh about what a group of babylost dads would say to each other. "yeah, totally sucks, dude...wanna beer?"

namastemom said...

And my husband to the ESPN watching crowd. I chant the mantra "Men grieve differently" and keep silent.