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Sunday, December 13, 2009

To Be Human

Greetings, KuKd/TTC'ers and Inquisitive Guests...

Pardon if this middle-of-the-night post sounds choppy. It was a long day of partying, followed by the hearburn and hyperactive sensation that comes with over-partying. So rather than thrashing around in bed and sighing loudly every five minutes in a covert effort to arouse my snoozing husband (what the hell is the fun in being wide awake at 2am alone??), I did the civilized thing: quietly got out of bed, padded into the kitchen in my moose slippers, gnawed on a cold pepperoni stick, and resigned myself to not sleeping. Which means I'm up, alone, listening to the thunks and creaks of our old house, and hoping to god it isn't the sound of a serial killer climbing through the basement window.

In my last post, I made reference to this super-hoardworthy friend of mine who -after years of infertility struggles and some KuKd brouhaha of her own - just delivered a healthy baby boy. By "hoardworthy," I'm talking - of course - about that tiny handful of peeps that stick by you and hold your hand for months and years to come, even when the others have all drifted away. Here is the friend who - even as she herself was struggling to get pregnant at all - shoved her own problems aside and became sort of like this grief sounding-board for me, a constant listener and supporter (and still is). She sent me, on Mother's Day the year after Zach's death, a silver handmade necklace engraved with his name. Not many people would have the balls to do that, and she did. She also pushed me harder than anyone else to write my book.

Through insomnia-induced brain fog, I remember how it used to feel when friends had babies: this weird robotic numbness combined with the sense of hugging a porcupine or a cloud of nails. I won't go on and on about this to you, who - because you are reading this - probably already know so well this barfy feeling I'm referring to. One could say it like this: KuKd robs a woman of her ability to feel that normal, happy, congratulatory feeling that traditionally comes with a newborn infant. Actually, let me retract that blanket-statement and speak only for myself: I oftentimes felt like I'd been shaped into this subhuman, hypersenstive monster by being propped up with a baby on the way, and then allowed to fall on my face multiple times. Babies - pending babies, just-born babies - reminded me of that invisible shell of a baby that wasn't in my life.

But my point here really isn't about that age-old topic. Rather, it's about reaching...what...a turning point, maybe? Feeling like a human being, finally? Looking back to where I was, and realizing with certainty where I am now in contrast, and sighing in relief that I've reached this point?

When my friend's newborn baby boy was on his way into the world this past week, I found myself feeling distinctly different from how I have in the past: not running away, but running toward. It was this oddly emotional experience to hear about this little boy's overdue-ness, the dramatic race to the hospital after a looonnnggg time in labor for a homebirth, and finally his safe delivery. Rather than feeling that detached, porcupine-hugging feeling (oh noooo! another friend is having a baby!), I felt this rush of investment, hugely afraid that something might go awry, and hugely, happily, ecstatically relieved when everything ended okay. It was one of the happiest, most emotional moments in recent memory - and it's not even my damned baby!

Again, my point: this seems new to me, strangely human, refreshingly normal and un-KuKd-monster-like. Just feeling normal feelings - the worries, the nail-biting suspence, the relief. Isn't that more akin to what one is supposed to feel when a baby arrives? I hope so. Perhaps it's being pregnant myself that helps me shed my baby-related "issues" of the past few years. Or, perhaps it's that combined with the simple passage of time: two years and four months since Zachary left us, almost to this day. That's a lot more than a day or a month or a year.

So I'm just pleased as punch that my dear, loving, ever-selfless and supportive friend now has her moment in the sun, especially knowing all that she's given me. And I'm pleased as punch that I'm pleased as punch, because a year ago, I might not have felt this pleased. I might felt pleased, but with odd swirls of weird and helpless sorrow mixed in there, sorrow for myself, and wondering fearfully if and when I would ever return to normal. Not that I'm there - not that I'm normal (in fact, never have been and probably never will be) - but my friend's son's birth reminds me what I often forgot:

I'm human.

* * *

OHHHHH, I think that's the sound of Kevin getting up to take a middle-of-the-night piss! Now is my chance to run in there, tap him on the shoulder, and ask him to come out here and watch denture-infomercials and Home Shopping Network with me! Or we could just talk. Or go out for midnight breakfast. Whatever. I'm up for anything. At this utterly awful time to be awake, my social schedule is wide open.

To my hoardworthy friend, I love you and that little, perfect boy of yours. And your husband's pretty hot, too, in sort of a vaguely ethnic kind of way.

11 comments:

Pundelina said...

Congratulations to your very lovely friend and also to you for finding joy.

:o)

Cara said...

That's a special kind of shift. Your friend earned it, other new lifes might not resonate so internally with you...but what a great feeling. Human. Compassion. Excitement. Joy.

Sonya said...

As always, you hit so close to home...and are terrifying exact with expressing what most of us are feeling. I know it will be easier to feel human... once I rejoin the race.

chicklet said...

I've never been where you've been, but I know even for me being happy for people with babies was a turning point - a relief. So for you, I'm so happy that you've got that finally. Particularly with such nice timing cuz it's for a friend who really f*g matters.

Michelle said...

Congrats on feeling human again. It must be a WONDERFUL feeling!

Logical Libby said...

Two of my friends who suffered through infertility with me just found out they are pregnant. I was shocked at how I had no ill will towards either of them. And then I just felt good...

AnxiousMummyto3 said...

Hey Monica,
I know that feeling you're describing, but for me it didn't happen WHEN my niece was born but as she started to grow a little bit. I'm so glad that you are feeling OK about this! Regardless of how late it was when you wrote this...it still makes sense!

tbean said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm a new reader--someone pointed me towards your site in October when I had an ectopic pregnancy/miscarriage after ttc for 2 years. I love reading what you write and it is nice to hear that some day I can rejoin the world of not hating women who have babies.

KuKd Chick said...

Welcome, TBean. Blegh, miscarriage after 2 years of TTC...ouch. Ugh.

All - yes, it does feel good to be human. One of my friends talked about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for KuKd gals - how we get this weird emotional-roller-coaster effect when one of our friends has a baby. I'm wondering if I experienced that.

Andrea said...

Thank you so much for your post. I have been wondering if I will ever be back to normal... well, "human". :)

I have always loved pregnant mamas, babies and all that it entails, and now I feel bitter (even though I do have babies). I'm glad to see someone who has been able to feel that happiness again after loss.

Karen said...

Glad your friend got her moment in the sun and that you were there to cheer her on. Loved hearing about such a friendship strengthened as you struggled through awful babyloss.