Eli's Corner


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5 Things I’d Really Like People With Kids To Know

It always feels strange to post when you haven’t for so long, but I just wrote this big long comment on a Huffington Post article entitled “5 Things I’d Really Like People With No Kids To Know” (I know, why – WHY did I even click on it?  I think I genuinely thought it might be something other than it was, but it wasn’t).  It’s an unoriginal “kids are such a pain” rant – directed at people who don’t have kids.  This woman has a massive blind spot.  When I went to submit my comment, I realized that you have to sign over all of your personal information – via Facebook  (and you likely already know my feelings about Facebook) – in order to comment.  So I didn’t.  But now I have this comment that needs to be…commented.  Unfortunately, none of the people who need to see it will see it.  Oh well. Universe, here are my thoughts:

As a woman who has tried and failed for years to bring a child into the world, I’d like to give 5 gentle reminders to people with kids:
1. Every time you look at your child and see something of yourself or your partner, please be overwhelmed.
2. If you ever have the opportunity to go to an ultrasound appointment and hear a heartbeat, please be blown away.
3. I’m sure it’s difficult, but on those nights when your kids are keeping you up, please hold them close, listen to those cries and give thanks that those lungs are healthy, that this child is breathing, and of course, that this phase will pass.
4. I’m sure you miss going out, but let me assure you that while cocktail parties, travel and fine dining are nice, they feel emptier and emptier with each passing year that your arms remain empty.  So please look at those little reasons you can’t go out, and try to imagine life without them.
5. Consider your audience, and please be mindful when complaining about parenting to people who do not have kids that there is a good chance that their hearts have been breaking day after day, year after year to have these problems.  And maybe rein it in a little.


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look what they’ve done to my song

I don’t generally take to this blog to talk about these kinds of things, but since I’m off Facebook, this is my outlet ;)

I stumbled across this video while looking for old Dolly Parton performances (yes, I do things like that).  And I was struck by the artistry and talent of this young woman.  This is a cover, but the lyrics are oddly prescient.

This video has about 3 million views to the 250-odd million that her more notorious videos have.  It makes me think. If we all clicked on, talked about, wrote about, paid money to see – this, this is likely what would prevail in pop culture.  Not that this is everybody’s taste – I’m just saying, if we celebrated artistry instead of stunts and autoexploitation, the industry would follow the dollar.  It’s oh-so-easy to jump on the judgement band wagon, but in doing so, we ratchet up the views on those videos that we’re clicking on just so we can shake our fingers at them, we generate buzz, we consume the paper-thin media coverage of these “events”.  In short, even as we complain, we make the very things we criticize profitable.

Brings to mind and old saying:

“I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.”

I’m not saying Miley wouldn’t still do her thang.  But she’d be free to do it for her own sake, not because an industry demands it, along with a nation of armchair critics, however unwittingly they do so.  And we’d be free to enjoy what’s good and just not freak out about what we don’t like.  That just all seems better to me.


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Surviving Mother’s Day

I was completely floored by how difficult Mother’s Day was for me this year.  This isn’t the first year I’ve been dealing with infertility, so I didn’t expect it to hit me much differently this round than it has before, but man, the whole miscarriage thing, and perhaps having some challenges with my own mom right now, and perhaps the alignment of the moon – who the hell knows – anyways, it was rooooough.  Like sobbing, not functioning, cutting off communication, leaving Facebook (again) not at all dignified rough.  Like physical searing pain rough.  I was not prepared for this.

I think it kind of kicked in on Tuesday when I sat down to write a Mother’s Day card for M – a friend who had a stillborn child in July and then just miscarried again last month.  I know it sounds sadistic to send a Mother’s Day card, but I wanted her to at least hear that someone was thinking about her in the context of this day – and thinking about how amazing she was and acknowledging all she had been through and sacrificed for her children.  And how much she loved them.  And even though her kids wouldn’t be able to bring her flowers this side of Heaven, I wanted at least one person to tell her on that day that she was doing an amazing job.  As I wrote that card the tears started coming and they just didn’t stop.

I think I felt that heaviness all week.  And more than anything, I felt the isolation – the sense once again that the whole world is moving on while you’re just stuck here feeling these things without anyone to remember that they’re real or to acknowledge that you might have some feelings about today.

I spent the weekend acknowledging other mothers in my life, but when Sunday came, I couldn’t suck it up anymore.  My husband and I came home from a Mother’s Day dinner for his mom on Saturday night, and as soon as I walked in the door of our house, I started sobbing convulsively.  We were both shocked, I think.  And I just didn’t pull it together that night.  And the next day I couldn’t pretend to be Ok for another single solitary person.  So I skipped church and skipped the second Mother’s Day event that we were supposed to go to with my husband’s family, and I hurt and cried until I got up and started cooking and then baking and then eating and then drinking and that’s how I got through the day.

Saturday night amidst the sobbing I went on Facebook and posted the song lyrics from my last post on here – which so described how I was feeling – and then immediately took them down because I felt too exposed.  My sister sent me a quick note say that she’d seen it before I took it down and asked me to please find someone wonderful to hug me – and also advised that I skip church, which I had already decided to do.  Other than that, there was no acknowledgement – not one – that this might be hard.  And as the gushy Mother’s Day posts started filling my news feed (and since I lack the discipline to not look at my stupid newsfeed if I don’t pull the plug), I pulled the plug.  And I immediately felt better and thought I’d probably be able to go to sleep.

This is a poorly written and poorly organized post.  I suppose that’s appropriate.  I did see two articles (one’s an article and one’s a post) that helped me feel less like the whole world had forgotten:

Anne Lamott’s piece at Salon.com on why she hates Mother’s Day

and

Jenny Lawson’s short, simple and somehow incredibly well put blog post about it.

I didn’t think I’d be a person who’d freak out about Mother’s Day.  And I still think it’s good for kids to honor their moms and all that, but man, do I really, really appreciate the handful of people who remember the rest of us and stick out a hand from that bubble of a world we all can’t reach and remember that we’re here and that we’re fighting a hellova fight, and we still matter.

_______________________

*Addendum*  The other piece of communication I got from someone on Mother’s Day was from a dear friend who is pregnant and texted me all distraught because her dad had spilled the beans about her pregnancy on Facebook.  I’m not going to lie, my first thought was, “Cry me a fucking river.”  But then my second thought was, “Cry me a fucking river.”  And since this is a person that I love, I just did not respond.  Under normal circumstances,  I could find a place in myself to be upset on her behalf about that, but that place did not exist yesterday.  And actually, it doesn’t exist yet on account of me feeling like she should have known better than to pick me to complain to about that on Mother’s Day.  Of course, she couldn’t have known I was having an epic meltdown.  So I’m still just hoping she thinks I dropped my phone in a toilet somewhere.


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On Facebook and Honesty

I left Facebook last week.  I was in the middle of a compulsive news feed perusal when I suddenly realized that I needed to pull the plug.  My husband was out of town for the week and I didn’t much feel like entertaining, so I was sitting at home dealing with the aftermath of a miscarriage alone and looking to Facebook for some level of social interaction.  It turns out that Facebook does not provide the level of social interaction required for dealing with a miscarriage alone.

I felt like anything I posted would be used against me in the court of public opinion.  If it were light and fluffy, it would give those who know what’s going on permission to assume I’m fine and over it.  If it were in any way remotely indicative of what’s really going on in my life, it would be merely succeed in making people feel awkward – or be a “pearls before swine” scenario, giving casual acquaintances far more insight into the depths of my pain than they ought to have.  So essentially, not wanting to be fake there, and not wanting to be real there, the only logical choice was not to be there.

But I still feel a compulsion to communicate my life in status updates.  So what do I do?  I come here, to you, dear stranger.  Comfortably cloaked in anonymity, I say to you the things I will not tell acquaintances and struggle to share with dear friends.  So here are the past couple of weeks in status updates you likely wouldn’t have heard if we’d ever met:

“My husband leaves town next week for work, and I don’t want to miscarry alone.  Long story short, this makes my decision about how to end this pregnancy for me.  Trying not to resent my husband for leaving.”

“Waiting at the abortion clinic to have my dead baby scraped out of my uterus.  On either side of me wait women whose babies’ hearts are presumably still beating.  This guts me in a way I can’t begin to describe.”

“Home from procedure.  My husband just told me he feels like this is all we ever talk about.  I can’t remember a time when I felt this alone.”

“It is a bittersweet blessing to have four women I dearly love have gone through this in the past year.  One twice.  One after carrying her baby to term.  One after six years of trying to get pregnant.  These women have suffered deep, and they are not afraid to dive into my abyss.  They are absolutely carrying me.”

“What could I have done/eaten/said/thought differently?  I feel like I’ve done you such a disservice…and I don’t even know quite what it was.”

“Telling me you’re sure I’ll get pregnant again doesn’t really address what’s going on.  This is not a mere setback to me; it is a bereavement.”

“I’m hollow with missing you.”

“Two friends stopped by (independently of each other) with flowers and cookies this morning.  Changed my whole day.  Why did I not think to do that when my friends were going through this?”

“Finally gathered the courage to see the friend I was pregnant with, the one I was so excited to be a mother with, the one who went to the hospital to find out her baby’s gender the day before I went to have my baby removed.  She is fighting hard for our friendship in this, bravely wading into tricky waters.”

“This is a loss to isolate…unlike losing someone who was loved and known by many, no one experiences this loss at the level that you do – not physically, not psychologically, not spiritually…and even with people who love you deeply, you both sense that there is a chasm they’re not able to cross.”

“Two weeks post-D&C.  I know, this miscarriage is old news.  But I’m still bleeding.  Yes, the world marches on, but this is still happening.”