Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Change Within (part 2 of 2)

So now I have wound back to the original post I never wrote, and that pertains to blogs written by mothers who have experienced infant loss. Given my new-found identification with the mothers of the world, you can imagine where I am going with this.

Several Blogger Bingo participants came from blogs that fell into this category. The list wasn’t sorted, so you never knew what you would find when you clicked onto someone’s blog for the first time. The first infant loss blog I encountered took my breath away. Literally. I think I stopped breathing for a moment. There was a picture of a mom holding her beautiful baby girl, and a subtitle explaining she’d had to say goodbye to that sweet girl after only a few short weeks.

And then there was another, and another, and I became overwhelmed by the grief these women have experienced.

I never wrote about this because I didn’t know how, and I still don’t, really. I don’t know the right language. I don’t know how to respectfully explain the emotions their blogs elicited or convey my empathy without it sounding like I think for a single second that I know how they feel. I know that my stopping breathing for one moment is nothing compared to their feeling that they may never breathe again, and I know that my minute or hour or afternoon of discomfort is nothing compared to what they have experienced and will continue to walk through. I wanted to read their blogs. I wanted to bear witness to their experience – one that rattles my core in the most terrible of ways – but I found that I couldn’t. I do not know the depth and breadth of their pain, but my imagining of it cut so fiercely that I found I couldn’t visit anymore.

So let’s just say it – I have some boundary issues. I’m aware of this, but I think my ability to identify with other people’s stories can be as much a strength as it is a weakness. I just have to be careful to maintain power over it. When I was about 10 years old, my dad gave me a thirty-second synopsis of Sop.hie’s Choice and I became completely hysterical. I cried and cried and cried. After I watched The Gree.n Mile for the first (and only) time, I was queasy and tearful for days. I’ve become better at managing this as I’ve grown up, but becoming Elliot’s mom triggered some back-sliding in this department. When it comes to children, there is no separation for me. I want all children to be treated well and have their needs met. I want all parents to be able to protect and care for their children, and see their children thrive. When this doesn’t happen, for any of a great number of reasons, I lose perspective and the emotions wash right over me.

I just re-read this post and I’m left wondering what the point of it all is. Unfortunately, I committed myself with that whole “post 1 of 2” bit yesterday, so it’s going up, but I apologize for taking up your time with these ramblings. It’s a change I’ve noted, and perhaps other new moms have found something similar (which would be interesting to hear about in the comments section, hint hint), but I’m afraid I’m still too "in it" to offer any useful insight or wisdom. It simply is for me right now. So… yeah.


JoyfromMotherWilling said...

Thanks for writing these posts, K. While I have yet to cross the threshold into motherhood and hope never to cross that of experiencing infant loss, I understand being overtaken by empathetic feelings and appreciate your willingness to write about them.

anofferingoflove said...

I hear you, I've often lost my breath reading others' blogs too. I understand not wanting to read on, it can be terrifying.

On a completely unrelated note, I just love Elliot's name. Every time I see it written on your blog I think so, and just never got around to mentioning it. :-)

Denise said...

I regularly read an online forum, and several women there have lost their babies. I often think of both the mommas and the lost babes, sometimes at the most random times. It's so hard to think of losing your child. I can only imagine that clicking blog after blog could easily take your breath away.

Nothing about being a mother is predictable. You can do your best, but in the end, you end up staring down the fact that you can't protect them from everything. Even when they're mostly grown up, like R is at 18, it's still hard and they go through so much we can't fix.

Two Moms, Two Monkeys said...

I think its interesting you write about this now. I just the other day stumbled upon a blog of a mother who has lost a son and a set of twins due to early labor. Even though she spent mere hours or minutes with these babies, she still gave birth to them and is/was? their mother. I couldn't help but cry for her, for them. I think I've also got this strange wanting for children to have all that I am able to give our boys and more. I never really paid much attention to these things until I had my own and like you, I worry so much more. I remember the first thing I thought of when my boys were born and in the NICU, was "wow, I have so much to lose now". I thought it was a pretty strange feeling to have immediately after meeting your babies for the first time. I always wonder if it was just me...

Persephone said...

I'm not a mother, but I started reading blogs written by parents of children with cancer when a friend found out her 11-month-old son had brain cancer. My friend and her husband have been keeping a blog about their experience and I also started reading the blogs of people they know.

I'm completely lost thinking about the idea of losing a child, but I can say that reading their blog entries is absolutely heart-wrenching. They make me cry all the time. It's such a window into this inner, personal pain that people never really talked about before. Blogging bares us to everyone. My friend's son is in remission right now and she is back it work. It's strange, we all go on with our daily lives, but we know all these things about what's inside that we don't really talk about.

I don't know my point here. I just connected with this post and wanted to comment.