I didn’t set out for this column to be about serious things. I wanted to write about fun toys, cute silly days and adorable things my son says. But this column is about what is going on in our lives as a family. And our lives this year have been challenging.
I had a miscarriage in January. A lot of people don’t talk about miscarriage, but I go and announce mine in the paper. There was another one in June and then only weeks later my father-in-law died, all of which found their way to be read about here.
The summer was coming to an end I was all ready to write a snappy column about watching my son play on the beach as we head into fall. At the most serious level I wanted to write about how well he is doing in catching up from his developmental delay, how he is kicking its ass.
But then, last week, there was another miscarriage. And I can’t write about being a mom without writing about this struggle to become a mom again. So here I am, being your Mommie Brain downer.
And it got me thinking and questioning, why do I have this need to write about it, to share it?
Simply, I think I share too much, which makes having my own column appropriate. When there is an issue or a challenge in my life and I am asked, “How are you?” I am not really capable of saying, “fine,” when I am not. I wish perhaps I were a little more mysterious, that I kept things to myself, more private. Women who have secrets always seemed interesting. But I’m a “what you see is what you get and what you don’t see I’m going to tell you” kind of gal.
Maybe it is a mom thing. What moms talk about is intimate to begin with, birth stories, nursing, our babies’ bodily functions. That opens the door to the truly intimate, the gains and strides our kids make, the delays they are challenged with, the miracle that is our body when it makes a baby and the quandary that same body is when it fails in doing what you want it to do.
Moms, we start out sharing and picking each other’s brains to see how to get our kids to eat veggies, but soon we stumble into our stories. Whether it is a baby who won’t sleep or a baby whose first home is the NICU, these are our connectors. I used to feel connected to other women who had lost their fathers like I had. Now when I see other moms dealing with IEPs, therapy or miscarriages, I pounce to chat. I pass along doctors that I respect, specialists. I try to counsel when there is an issue with which I seem to have dealt with ease or listen closely when I am the one struggling. I talked to one woman the other day in the lobby at my son’s speech therapy and before we even introduced ourselves by name she knew I was currently miscarrying and I knew about her losing her twins at 14 weeks. Our anonymity with each other lead to instant intimacy.
Perhaps we share to not feel so alone in all of this. We talk to give away some of our burden, and take a little from someone else in the meantime. Sharing our stories helps us process the information. I know it does for me.
But there are some things that even I find hard to share, but since I am talking about it, here I go.
I have been pregnant so often this year that I constantly think everybody is looking at my belly, wondering. When you tell me you are pregnant, I am genuinely, truly happy for you and still genuinely, truly stung by jealousy.
I had already started picking names. Each time I tell myself not to, but the draw is too grand, the desire too animal.
I am so very tired. I wish I could say I truly believe I will have my own baby again, but my belief has waned.
I am halted when I see my husband crushed by his grief over his father. I wish I could have continued to grow a new life in the midst of so much loss as opposed to having just added to it.
Grief has moved into our home. But I know deeply in my soul that it has not taken up permanent residence. So I do not shun it. It will leave eventually. I know this.
But, and perhaps this is the most personal of all, and forgive me as I over share, I am happy. Truly. Despite this year.
I love my husband.
I love my son.
I may have too strong a need for you all to know about each and every detail of our lives, but the stifling anxiety that had plagued me from my son’s birth trauma has lifted because he is so clearly not damaged from it as I feared he would be.
So at the end of the road if it is still just the three of us, then how lucky are we?
Rachel Zients Schinderman lives in Santa Monica with her family. She can be reached at Rachel@mommiebrain.com.