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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ode to the Baby Makers

Greetings, KuKd Strong'Uns and Inquisitive Guests!

This post is about our perceptions, about how we view our baby-making friends. It's a post in honor of both ourselves and those friends who successfully make babies, and whose mere babies - mere milk-spurting boobs and casual comments about daycare or sleepless nights - cause many of us go ouch. It's an ouch moment because KuKd/TTC hurts women so awfully that it turns us into into alien lifeforms who don't feel the same joy around babies as normal people do (or as we ourselves used to do). For a while, anyway. We become like the ones who didn't get selected for the school drill team with all the popular girls, and we're forced - as mature adults - to do as our mothers would have told us to do back when we were awkward pre-teens: suck it up and be a good sport.

Now, just roll with me on this image here: picture that ONE blond, popular girl - the head of the drill team, so easy to hate because of all the things she has, all the parties you just know she gets invited to, how pretty she is, how she can do a full split in the air and land on her feet. You want to just shrivel up and just hate her to pieces because she's perfect, and she has it all:



The one in the middle. Yeah, that one.

And then, low and behold, she does the unthinkable: she comes up and acts nice to you, treating you like a human being, like a friend - almost unaware, it seems, of the many things she has that you don't, of how treacherous it is to talk to you, of how easily she could say something that would hurt your feelings. It's like, her pure goodness and niceness transcend the fact that she got it, whatever that "it" might be, and you didn't. And then you feel like an insecure shmuck for hating her in the first place.

So, you might already see where I'm going with this analogy (for the record, I was never ever ever brave enough - or even remotely able to imagine myself cool enough - to try out for the middle school drill team), and what the hell that pretty middle girl has to do with *DEAD BABIES!*DEAD BABIES!* (topic of this blog; please picture that phrase in flashing neon lights).

I'll get there, I swear. But first, brief diversion -the kind that people with mild to moderate attention deficit disorder despise. Some necessary background, and then back to the show.

* * *

The past month, I've been bedgrudgingly delving back into my book manuscript. For those of you who are kinda new here: about 4 months after Zach's dirth, I was sitting by myself on a stone ledge in Eduador's teeming capital of Quito feeling like a fat, dead-baby loser with an unnecessarily stretched vagina. It was here, in a small soggy notebook, that I started writing a memoir-ish thing. Not to publish, not because I viewed myself as a *real writer* - just something to write and read and keep and show my grandkids later. If I ever had grandkids. Which I probably wouldn't because my uterus was cursed and the thought of sex made me cringe. Fucker.

Anyway, when you start doing something like that, your mom - who is conditioned to love everything you do, even if it's crapola - goes, "Honey, this is great! You should try to publish it!" So you half-believe her and keep writing, having fun as you do it because it feel so damned good to get these stories out of your system. Next thing you know, a small press says, "Hey, this looks arright. I'll take it." Good timing, because by this point the therapeutic value of writing the story has long dried up, and you're now about so sick of your manuscript that you start calling it a "fuckyouscript" and toy with the idea of lighting it on fire.

But you can't move on yet, even if you're ready , because the publisher comes back and goes: "But wait! Fix these things, and then it'll be ready to go." So you sigh and whine to your husband, feeling like a college student trying to revise a great big project due next week when you'd rather get drunk and go cow-tipping. But finally you do it because you know you'd be screwing yourself if you didn't.

You go back to the beginning of your own story, back to the moment of "miscarriage" first becomes something other than a vague, bad thing that happens only to other people, or back when it first dawned on you that making a baby wasn't going to be as easy as your Catholic nun-teachers made it out to be.

And you start re-feeling those things that you felt at the time.


* * *

OK, back to the real post. Attention deficit disorder people, you can now turn off the cartoons and start listening again.

Right now, as I go back into past moments of my "fuckyouscript," I'm re-feeling old things, remembering what my (warped) perceptions were at the time. It's kind of trippy to do this, to jump out of my current mindset of here, back to a former mindset of there. It's not unlike reading an old handwritten journal from ten or twenty years ago, marveling at the things you thought and felt, how wrong you were in some ways, how insightful you were in others, how ridiculous you sounded in some regards.

I remember feeling like that kid who didn't make the drill team after miscarriage numero uno. Four months to have a miscarriage seemed wholly, stupidly wrong - and everyone else who made it past that 4-month gestation mark suddenly seemed reproductively better and luckier than me. Just out of spite, I wanted to start a KuKd goth club with other gals who "got it" - all of us wear black t-shirts that said something like "Screw You World! We Didn't Want Kids Anyway!" We would pierce our labia and wear black eyeliner and hang out at Denny's with angst-filled, pissed-off expressions on our faces. It would've been cool. I had it all planned out.

But the only friend I knew to invite into my club was J. I knew she'd had a miscarriage somewhere along the line. But it turned out she was hugely pregnant again- which automatically disqualified her from joining my now one-woman club. Dang it.

Later, when pregnant with Zachary, I met other amazing friends - N and C - who of course went on to have their babies (ie: made it to the school drill team!!) after Zach died. Classic story, right? J eventually had another baby, too. So my KuKd goth club remained a one-woman, lonesome affair, with me as president, treasurer, and secretary.

But here's what amazing, what I didn't understand back in during the time when my manuscript takes place, but what I now know through pure hindsight. They all stuck around fearlessly, fiercely, sweetly, confidently, and continued to view me as a friend and human being. Which is to say: they trusted themselves - even in this strange, foreign new reality that was filled with potential land-mines for all of us - to just be there. They were, in fact, like that pretty blond head of the drill team that still comes up and talks to you, even when you slink away with a bit L sign on your forehead.

Just think for a second about much courage it must take for a woman with kids or a kid-in-utero to come up and talk to a KuKd or even TTC woman, to be there for that person as a real friend, even knowing she has something that other person wants so desperately. Imagine how awkward and treacherous it must be for her, and how much easier it would be to run away and hide in Babyland forever. Think of how many opportunities there are to colassally fuck up and say something hurtful without even meaning to (does anyone EVER mean to say hurtful things?), something that will cause that KuKd/TTC woman to post a big'ol rant on her blog about "you'll never guess what insensitive thing so-and-so said to me!"

And why not rant about it? Losing a baby, not getting the baby you want to create, hurts like hell. Totally, undeniably valid feeling. I felt it myself. And I mean, god. All N had to do was like...look at me in a certain way, or mention her son's name once, and I'd go off into a depressed funk for the rest of the day. One offhanded comment from C about baby food or breastfeeding, and BOOM - hurt. I was like this hypersensitive sad person who you could touch with a light index finger and create this huge bruise for days, even weeks.

In hindsight, who in their right minds wants to be around someone like that?

* * *

Good, brave friends. That's who. So my point is this. I look back at my fuckyouscript and see this tug-of-war that was going on in my head back then: needed my baby-maker friends, but at the same time couldn't bear to be near them. For me, now, I need to give utmost credit to N, J and C who - although couldn't be a part of my doomed KuKd goth club, had the pure goodness of heart, courage, comfort in their own skins to not back away from me and Kevin, but keep being our absurdly supportive friends. They had the trust in me to someday return to a relatively normal mental state, one in which I could reciprocate the friendship and support them in return. And, although I'm sure they knew that some things they said - the kids they had - were hurtful to me just because of the way things were, they had faith in me as a human being to someday, one day, see beyond those little unavoidable thorns and embrace, accept the very real friendship lying beneath.

So yeah. I retreated for a bit, but held on. And looking back now, I was nowhere near the baby-supportive friend that they, in turn, needed in these huge moments of their own lives. But they all give me space and time to do that, forgiving me for sinking into my own mind-spaces and uber-neediness for a year-and-a-half or so. THANK GOD, too, because now we have dinner plans coming up - and I get to catch up with my amazing, brave, baby-making friends.

So, Ode to the Baby Maker friends who stick by.

9 comments:

Heather said...

It doesn't seem to matter what you say, I just always seem to find myself nodding along. I'm 9 months in and 2 of my 4 friends in life are having babies. And I'm their only Mommy friend, and I try like hell, over try at times, to be a good Mommy roll model and person to turn to. But sometimes its like swallowing a knife, and they're all gracious enough to hear Logan's name ten times a conversation while comparing pregnancy notes and labors. I give them a ton of credit because deep down I know that it would've scared the hell out of me to have had a close friends baby die, and then to turn around and get pregnant with my first baby within days. I would have probably shrunk off into my own world and pretended nothing happened. But these ladies, they do their best to include me and Logan into their little baby worlds too. And that means a lot to me.

Tina said...

Well said Monica...as always! I can't wait for the "fuckyouscript" to be published!!! I am so glad your friends continued to be there for you when you needed them...I am sure it wasn't always easy for them, but that just goes to show how great they really are! xx

Karen said...

Brilliant, Monica. Here's to the friends who stuck by you and gave you the space you needed. Can't wait to read your book some day. (((Hugs)))

Frustratedfairy said...

This is such an great post...you have such wisdom!

Greg said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chicklet said...

Totally unnecessary and unsolicited assvice, but you could give them all little notes/cards saying almost what you said here - just acknowledging that you know you've been tough to be around, but you love them for doing it anyway. They don't need you to make it up to them or apologize in any way cuz how could you NOT act the way you did, but I bet the acknowledgement from you of what they did would be as huge to them as them being there for you is to you:-)

Lindsay said...

I've been reading through, and can I just mention?
I love your blog. I hate the reasons it appeals to me, but I really admire your attitude and sarcasm.
Lindsay

Penny (PennyFull O' Thoughts) said...

Thank you for this post. A former bwitchy co-worker and I were finally starting to mend things when she blurted one day, "why do some people who deserve kids not get them and others who [insert derisive one-over here] don't get one?". She was so mad at me for having my son, as a single mom, while she was supposedly the deserving one since she was married to her high school sweetheart.

This woman knew nothing about how I came to be a single mother. I was not out there spreading them to the world, as she implied. My son's father and I planned our pregnancy. I went through several pseudo-pregnancies before really being pregnant with my son. Two weeks of celebration later, my son's father found out he was getting an insurance settlement and decided he didn't want to "waste it" on a baby. He told me to choose between him and "it". When I chose the baby, he started trying to beat my son out of me. In the middle of the night, I literally packed up and drove back to my family's ranch. Two states away.

S's bitterness and anger wound up costing her a lot of friends, potential friends, her job and even her marriage.

KuKd Chick said...

Chicklet - consider it done.

Lindsay - thanks, dude.

Penny - thx for the story. Wow - that one sticks with me.