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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Washington D.C. Readings November 4-5 (And a Bit More)

Greetings, Y'all...

Holy smokes, an insomnia-tinged night.

A few sleepy-surreal ramblings below, but a quick invite first: I'll be doing a couple of informal readings from Knocked Up, Knocked Down in the Washington D.C. area just a few weeks from now, and it would be really cool to have some company from the KuKd/IF crew. So if you're on the east coast and happen to be free, I encourage you to attend. It's not as though I've been running rampant around the country on "book tour" like a glammed-out rock star, so don't expect me to have spiked Elvira hair. Really I'm just going to be in D.C. anyway and decided what the heck - why not put myself out there once or twice. I'll reading a couple of favorite chapters out loud with my most entertaining vocal intonations, perhaps even coupled with a live performance of the stillbirth folk song if I can get my guitar tuned in time. Here are the deets:

1) Thursday Nov. 4th, 6:30pm - Arlington Rock Bottom Brewery, Level 1 of Ballston Commons Mall

2) Friday Nov. 5th, 7:30pm - Westin Hotel Alexandria, The Bell Room

I hope to see you there.


Moving on...

What news is there to muse about? On the one hand, I wish I had some insanely juicy stories to share. But on the other hand, I'm glad I don't.

I have a living son who just turned six months old. I'd post a photo but really he just looks like a round, wide-eyed, extremely curious baby who's engaged with the entire world. To me, his existence is an extremely juicy fact - but nobody ever thinks your child is as amazng as you do, so that's that.

I've been asked more than once how past losses affect my current motherhood, or "what it's like to have a child after stillbirth," or some such thing. I think it's a legitimate and interesting question, but surprisingly hard to answer. It's hard to answer because I honestly don't know what kind of mother I would have been if I could reverse the clock, undo the events of the last several years.

For example:

*I have a green leather journal with "Letters to Sean, 2010" inscribed on the cover in hardpressed ballpoint pen. Inside are little frenzied bursts of writing dated every week or two, addressed to Sean himself. I write them for him as an adult, when I imagine him accidentally finding them buried inside an old trunk. They're about him: what he's doing now, the impressions he gives to me and others. They're about me: my feelings and perceptions as his mother, because of course those feelings are complex and multi-layered. Then they always go back to him, these little notes: back to describing in great detail the numerous ways he makes me laugh and glow inside every goddamned day. I imagine a lot of mothers have a journal-ish thing like this.

*I write letters to my husband and leave them on the counter when I head off for work, folded up with a fake postmark and everything. Not all the time; just every few weeks or so. They're kinda love letters kinda, but kinda not. Just rambling-friend letters. It feels important to remain focused on us, our relationship, even as Sean occasionally eclipses that focus.

*At the same time, I have occasional bouts of anxiety over Sean's heart and health, fears that he won't in fact reach adulthood, and need to be reminded by gentle doctors (and kick-ass husband) that he checks out fine. The fear gets really dark and overwhelming sometimes, but I deal. Would a non-KuKd mom have freak-out moments? I imagine so.

*And all the while, I find myself weirdly lax about certain things, knowing there's so much I really can't control. Things like Sean eating dirt, sucking on dirt, tipping over from sitting position and bonking his head. Things like what he eats. I mean, it's not that I don't care what he eats. I just don't fret about it as much as I could or should.


Oh, the one thing Sean still does is remind me of potential, of miracles, of what a living baby really is and means. I don't think I knew this even in the throes of my KuKd experience - I just pretended I understood because the sadness would otherwise be so mysterious and confusing. Sean makes me read blogs like this one, about a baby born at 26 weeks, with a hopeful and anxious heart, because I realize now what's at stake. (By the way, that's a friend-of-a-friend's blog, not just some random blog that I found scouring Google for dramatic stories).

OK, onward and upward. And I hope to see you in D.C.


Bibliomama said...

If you had spiked Elvira hair I might have sprung for the plane ticket from Ontario to wherever the hell. I'm sure you'll rock the reading. And I do have paranoid freak-outs about my children's health all the time, but I'm willing to believe they're worse if you're of the KUKD persuasion. It's wise of you to try to keep your relationship with your husband as a focus -- it's hard enough when you have kids without any prior drama, I imagine it can be even harder...etc.etc. All the best.

Aleina said...

Glad I'm not the only one who is weirdly lax about certain things. I expected to worry more, but I really don't. And I think you are right, it's because I realize how much is out of my control.

Emerging Butterfly said...

This post resonated with me as I just wrote my own about writing a WILL because I was going on a three day trip with my sexy man without my kids....something I've never done before in all of 16 years. The fear of something BAD happening was pervasive. At the end of the trip, I realize that though something very bad did happen to our doesn't ear mark us for future grief.

As the wife of a brilliant author, I wish you the very very best on your glamor tour! ;o) Your book has been read dozens of times by this fan. Sending warmth...

Brenna said...

I think I'm going to plan a trip to DC around your upcoming readings. Bruce (a one-time hunk gallery participant extraordinare!) is down there for work all the time and I keep saying I need to go with him to introduce Tatum to a bunch of our friends in that area. Haven't done it yet, but you may just motivate me to get off my duff and go already. So hopefully I'll be there one of the two nights, depending on when we head down and which night Bruce can stay at the hotel with the Tater Tot. I'm just guessing that perhaps a baby isn't what you need at a reading from a book on stillbirth. ;)

Regarding what kind of mother you are to Sean following Zachary's stillbirth, I'm pretty sure you'd have been damned amazing any which way. Those questions really are confounding...particularly because if our triplets had lived, Tatum probably wouldn't exist.

Anyway, so glad to hear from you and to get a tiny little update on the wee one. Hoping to meet you in person in a few weeks, if the stars align!

Monica said...

AWESOME!! Brenna, I SOOO hope to meet you in D.C! I shortened my trip and am leaving Sean & hubby at home (Seattle) - just couldn't bring myself to make the cross-country flight twice with my little guy. Totally cool and I'll see you soon.

Skytimes said...

I think you'd have made a pretty amazing mom any way around, stillbirth or not. Glad to hear all is well with the family (love the kinda love letters!)

I'll be finally be traveling in november - unfortunately not in your timezone - so I can't make it. I might consider changing my schedule if you changed your mind about the spiked hair. :)

Sending all the best...

the misfit said...

OK, that 11/4 reading is outrageously close to me. OTOH, I tend to work a bit late for that. But I'm really going to try to be there.

Kelly said...

I gave your blog an award. Pick it up at

Crystal said...

I just wanted to say thank you for writing your book and sharing your story with such honesty. My mother-in-law just sent me your book after my second failed pregnancy. The first ended in DnC after a routine ultrasound the second is etopic. Although my story is different then yours I found our struggles to be similar. The grief, healing, mental and emotional craziness, forgiving my body for not working like it "should" and then You finally having a son gives me hope and that as I am sure you know is invaluable in times like these. our situations are different but the road walked after is much the same. so thank you for helping me to see my road for what it is shitty but not impassable. knocked down but not knocked out! :)