Thursday, July 10, 2008


can i talk about myself for a moment here? because i've been thinking about me, rather a lot, lately, and i figure this is as good a place as any to get some narcissism out. and to be frank and warning you 50 or so people who might read this blog, this particular post is mostly for the other (relatively) internet-savvy and (relatively) youngish moms. so, dads and grandparents and greatgrandparents, this probably won't mean diddly-squat to you and you can feel free to just skip it and i promise to have more pictures of the grahaminator up tomorrow.

okay. we all good? and, begin. the deal is that i am, for all intents and purposes, a stay-at-home-mom this year. which is great. really, it is. (although some times i see the longing in joe's eyes when he leaves for work and think that it could quite possibly work the other way at some point.) and what is a good stay-at-home mom to do during naps other than cruise the internet? (i guess i could clean the house, or write thank you notes (which, really and honestly, THANK YOU and i'm getting to it, mom, i promise) but my brain doesn't work that way during naptime.) and in my cruising, i have happened upon the overwhelming number of mommy blogs. and i find myself completely and almost ceaselessly drawn to the mommy blogs where something terrible has happened. the husband who died blogs. the baby who died blogs. the i can't have a baby or i couldn't have a baby and now i am finally pregnant and then the baby died blogs. and i feel, honestly, awful about it.

(and that's why this is completely narcissistic, because i am writing this about feeling terrible about being so drawn to other people's pain so that i can feel less guilty about sneaking around on the internet to continue being drawn to other people's pain. i am a monster.)

i am trying to figure out what this is that i feel the need to read and cry and read some more. today, i was reading amalah's pregnancy blog and she talks about feeling the need to watch the horrible baby tragedy shows on tv as well as read the same-such blogs (this is a longish quote, sorry, except, no, because she says it well):

"Dead baby blogs" is what one of my friends (and the keeper of such a blog herself) called them. "Stop reading us," she ordered me, after she realized I was reading them while still in the first trimester and sobbing at my laptop every day. I didn't listen.

Stillbirths. Placental abruptions. Incompetent cervixes. Terminations for medical reasons. High-risk multiples. Cord accidents. Waters breaking before viability. And the ever-terrifying "we just don't even know what happened, but we are sorry for your loss nonetheless." I can now recite a morbid anecdote for just about any horror story you'd like to discuss. I am like every awful episode of ER that ever involved a pregnant woman rolled into an all-day marathon.

I absolutely cannot explain this compulsion. I have no excuse for what, on the surface, probably seems like a disgusting penchant for emotional tourism. I read other parents' pain, have myself a good heaving snotty sob on their behalf, and then wander off to contemplate my nursery and affectionately poke the wiggling, kicking little boy in my belly.

I just...need to know. I need to see that you can keep breathing after something like that happens.

Just knowing that horrible things can happen in pregnancy will never "prepare" you for them, if they happen to you. It won't make things hurt less or or make you fold your hands quietly in resignation while the doctor delivers bad news. It does, however, remind me to cherish every moment I do get with my baby, even the uncomfortable "is it October yet?" moments. If something were to go wrong and these weeks of pregnancy were all I ever got to experience with this child, that wouldn't make him less real. Less of my ever-so-loved-already son, who has his big brother's mouth and his own name and his own place in our family.

is that it? am I just trying to reflect back on what could have been, with graham? when i was pregnant, i couldn't watch those shows at all, because i was too terrified that somehow even watching it would make it come true, like the god of problem pregnancy would reach through the screen and put the whammy on me. (not that this kind of behavior is particular to pregnancy for me. if i come in and start watching a red sox game, and they start doing poorly, i absolutely have to leave the room because it is clearly my fault. poor joe and brendo had to suffer through much of this insanity during the 2004 season.)

or is it just self-congratulatory, that things with graham could have been so much worse than they were, and i am simply proving to myself, by watching how hard other people have it, that we are okay, we are okay, we are okay? this all is roiling about in my head because yesterday i linked to one of the blogs i read on a regular basis written by an incredibly smart woman i don't know at all: flotsam. then i took the link down. then i put it back up. then i took it down again. because i certainly know how people get to graham's blog (you'd be surprised how many googles of "first spanking" there are. sorry to disappoint!) and i figure she must as well, and if anybody clicked over to her, she'd come back here and in my head, be saying something to the effect of "i can't believe this chick! she links to me as an example of how bad it could be? how ridiculously rude and callous. my life, my children's stories, aren't just fodder for some concept of REALLY BAD or MUCH WORSE THAN YOURS. stick it, lady." and she'd be right, this person i don't know at all.

so, sigh. i guess that's not an answer. and there's two driving forces at work, it seems: one in which i search for belonging (yeah, the NICU! we were there! i felt that! i saw that!), and one in which i search for how we don't belong to that group, for how different we are, because graham is so great, so healthy, and nothing will ever be wrong with him ever ever again. he will never feel the lasting impact of his dad and i leaving him, daily and repeatedly, for the first five weeks of his life. he won't be behind in school. he'll be just as good as any other kid, born on time. because, as long as that's true, i don't have to think about why he was early, and what if it was my fault anymore.

(sorry to end on a crummy note. and...cue email from my mom. i promise! i don't think it was my fault! and thank you notes! they are right here! i'm writing them! right now!)

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