Friday, August 22, 2008

To tell or not to tell

I’ll be 23 weeks tomorrow and my dad & the rest of my family (except my 3 sisters) do not know that I’m pregnant. Nor do they know any of the ups and many downs we’ve been through with this pregnancy. After being in the hospital last week, it occurred to me that maybe I should ignore my dad’s wish of not knowing until 1 month before delivery and just tell him.

In a way, I’ve gotten so used to keeping this from him that it’s easy. At the same time, it’s becoming more and more difficult to decline invitations to visit him. I’m not allowed to travel at all during this pregnancy, so constantly using work as an excuse is getting very old. I’m also afraid that I may be hurting my father’s feelings. I know that he’ll be very happy for us when he finds out, but I am tempted at times to tell him.

Also, I'm clearly pregnant now. People at work know, so why shouldn't my close friends and family? The nice thing about people at work is that they're too afraid to ask me. Instead, they ask the girl who works for me is I am or not. I've told her not to lie about it, but to let people know that I do not feel comfortable talking about it. So far, that has worked really well.

I really do not want anyone else in my family to know until I am holding a healthy, living baby in my arms. As much as I appreciated the support after losing Dashiell, it was very difficult fielding calls for months checking in. Although it is well intentioned, there are many things that a mother who has lost a child doesn’t need to hear. Among them:

“Life goes on” – we know this is true, but my life stopped for a period of time after losing Dashiell. “It wasn’t meant to be.” - I believe this is the cruelest comment I have had to hear over and over. People just don’t know what to say and don’t think about what they’re saying.

“Everything happens for a reason.” – while I fundamentally believe this, in a way, I really struggled with this comment every time I got it. If that’s true, why are children born to crack addicted mothers or abusive homes? Sometimes I think shitty things happen, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a good person or not. Bad things happen to good people every day. It’s still no consolation.

“There must have been something very wrong with the baby.” – NOT TRUE! There are thousands of perfectly healthy babies who die every year. It’s not always because of a genetic or anatomical abnormality.

“You’re young and you can try again.” This one was really a double edged sword. First off, 36 is not young in terms of childbearing years. Second, just because I can have another child doesn’t take the pain away from losing a child.

“You have to work.” I went back to work one week to the day after I was released after the hospital. Looking back, I would not do that again. I would take several weeks off and take as much time as possible to mourn and get myself to a better place instead of pushing myself to do something I wasn’t ready for.

“God has a plan” I don’t know that I truly believe that anymore and there is no arguing with someone who is very religious. I consider myself to be a very spiritual person, but not particularly religious.

Like I said, I feel very lucky to have such a loving and supportive family, as well as wonderful friends, but if anything were to go wrong again I don’t think that I could handle hearing these things so much from people I love. I know it’s well intentioned, and because they live far away, it’s not as if they could just be with me & hug me, but I simply can’t endure hearing those things again.

I have been thinking lately that maybe I’ll tell my dad once I hit 30 weeks or so, but for now, I’m going to play it by ear. The most important thing I can do now is to be honest with how I’m feeling and to look after myself. Selfish? Maybe, but it’s what I have to do.

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