Saturday, February 23, 2008

Baby Shower

I had one of those "it should have been me" days today. I was seated at the same table as a woman my old friend (whose baby shower I was attending) met online in a "due in April" chat room. They are both due the same week I was.

I was pretty impressed with myself. I held up surprisingly well. I was friendly and chatty and actually felt pretty okay. Until the conversation somehow took a turn in an unanticipated direction, and the various girls at the table started talking about when and how one tells others that one is pregnant. And that quickly turned into a discussion of women each of them know who have had miscarriages, and how those miscarriages have affected each of those women's decisions to tell people about subsequent pregnancies, and how knowing about those experiences has affected the women at the table.

I felt I had nothing to contribute to the conversation. Or, rather, I had everything to contribute to the conversation, but I didn't know any of these women and wasn't sure how much of myself I really wanted to put on this particular table. They were all talking about how you tell anyway because you would want support when things went wrong. Which I totally get. But some of us (and some of them, from what we had been talking about earlier in the lunch) have families in which telling one person and not telling another can cause rifts that never heal. And yet the person you "have to tell" is the last person you'd want to turn to for support. And that same person is unlikely to be able to keep a secret, so telling them is the equivalent of telling everyone they know, which makes for a huge long list of people to untell if everything goes wrong, and a huge long list of people who know and who will treat you differently in ways you really wish they wouldn't, because, with them, it's not about you but about them and about how they feel about your sadness.

In the end, I decided to jump in and risk being a hardcore downer. And they were more supportive than I ever could have imagined or expected -- more so than many of my real life friends who know. It was a pretty amazing experience.

That said, I cried most of the way home, sobbing and choking on my tears in a way I haven't for a while now. Apparently the brave face is still just a mask, and the sad, scared me still lives inside, just under the surface.

1 comment:

Jen said...

I am impressed. Telling stories like this usually end with "and then everyone was a jerk." I'm so glad that everyone was supportive.