hi i was reading your blog...
the one about krishnamurti and shame
i am sharing my advice because i have the same problem
i think that you use humor and analogies and other avoidance mechanisms? to avoid facing the emotional pain
you dont have to make others laugh or entertain them
it is okay to be sad and depressed and cry in front of others and obviously alone
you dont have to cope for others
i think coping starts a vicious cycle of denying
the emotional pain if looked at directly is not as bad as you think it is
it is the fear of the emotional pain that is overwhelming
then once you have felt the pain you can be humorous but it will have a different tone
a tone that is facing the pain
My immediate response, of course, was:
"So, you don't think I'm funny?"
I'm fairly certain that my On Levity piece was the front blog post of my blog, and he found the Krishnamurti one, clicked over...I'm really not that funny, you know. I am painfully aware of this fact. I have always been the one that resorted to physical violence when I couldn't keep up with the insulting Irish banter of my family. I composed so many responses to this email. Many resorted to the "No, I'm not. You are." argument, which IS in fact one of the oldest, most emotionally mature arguments in the history of debate. Others were long rambling explanations of how, in fact, I do face my emotions. But mostly, I just thought a series of one-liners.
No, I don't.
Lighten up, dude.
My kid died, cut me some fucking slack.
In the end, I didn't respond directly to the person. Mainly, because I don't feel like justifying my existence, or explaining the daily occurrence of my breaking into tears in the market. All in all, he's right. I do use humor to deal with this stifling, overwhelming sadness and hysterical anxiety that has taken over my life. It helps. But I do not use humor instead of dealing. I, sadly, am not in denial. I get it. I fucking get it. My kid died. BELIEVE ME, I understand that. But I hope I use humor in conjunction with all the other shit I have to do to function. I think what is ironic about the entire email is that I received it when I posted On Levity, which in part is about how people on the outside of this grief just think our humor is bitter and pathetic, which I think is the metatext of his email. A litany of shittiness resonated in my brain after reading that email:
Your humor is bitter and pathetic.
You aren't dealing with your depression and grief.
You are avoiding real life.
You need to be fixed, Grieving Mother.
You need to get better.
You need to heal and get over it.
You aren't crying enough, Woman. Just cry.
Feel the abyss.
Just feel the sucking dark Black Hole created when your child died.
Here feel the shitty horrible reality that your life is.
Goodbye forever, signed Anonymous Internet Fixer.
Let me just preface this by saying: your words, support, emails, love and comments on and about my last blog post have meant a great deal to me. I posted it and drove to my mother's house, which while it is only two hours away, might as well be the moon in terms of internet connection and computer access. OH, they have a computer, but through the last decade of abusive rejection of any technological learning, stands as a testament to how incredibly impatient I am. Wednesday evening I sat at my mother's laptop, cussing and repeatedly clicking my gmail log-in. "What the fuck, Mom?"
"You have to let it load, Ang. I mean, just wait."
"Wait?!?! This is 2009. I don't have time to wait."
Even my blackberry was dodgy at best. I sometimes felt like Carol Anne in Poltergeist typing, "Where are you? I can't find you." Floating away, some cellphone is Sweden the only recipient of my lost Thanksgiving messages. Honestly, it was good to have some distance and just focus on being holiday-y, even if that didn't much work either. I stress ate, and watched shitty television. I still feel bad and now have a food baby as well as a baby baby, but you know, it got me through the holiday.
As I sporadically received the beautiful comments filtering in from the blog, I realized that I mainly talk about my abyss after I have safely and successfully walked through it. Not in the midst of the darkness. At least, not in a while. I have actually been using storytelling and humor to deflect the stress for the past couple of months. Denial. Avoidance. Cheap laughs. For me, it actually works. I actually feel better when I lighten the hell up a little. But somedays, last Wednesday for example, I simply could not. That was my dark place. Welcome.
The truth of it is that my life is exactly the same as it was two weeks ago, before receiving a call from the genetic counselor telling me I had to make a decision now, before I saw that I was having a little boy. (There I go. Burying the lede again.) And yet everything feels so completely different. To be honest, I thought that the dark irony of this pregnancy was that I would be a nervous wreck at a completely normal, uneventful pregnancy. And well, it hasn't been. It seems like I keep facing obstacles and stresses, and I just want to be nervous about invented fears, not real ones.
As we passed the 72 hour mark (the danger of miscarriage lessened), I felt better about making this decision to have the amniocentesis. Knowing everything has become very important to me. I want no fucking surprises at week 37. Just making that decision felt impossible. I hate statistics. When you are a one, no other number of the other side looks big enough. And still when I weighed the statistics of amnio miscarriage rates versus the Down's rate, I was still reminded over and over again in my head that those are less than the one in 115 rate for stillbirth. Even if this baby is cleared of every chromosonal disorder the amniocentesis tests for, he could still just die of nothing in particular.
I said something I regret on my last post. I don't read post after post about how babylost mamas hate pregnant women, but rather how they resent them for not appreciating their pregnancy. And that is why I rarely talk about my anxiety and depression regarding this pregnancy, because despite it all, I fully appreciate that being pregnant is the luck of the draw that I do not take for granted. I am amazed every day that our species somehow managed to survive.
All of this anxiety, fear and sadness comes with pregnancy, and mostly, I have swallowed it as part of the package of having a child after loss. I actually resent pregnant women (and non-pregnant women) who think they are spared the possibility of stillbirth or loss, when they don't recognize the preciousness of these months with their children, and they tell invented horror stories of their pregnancy. In as much as I do not wish this kind of anxiety on anyone, I also do not think it is the worst case scenario, or even a bad case scenario. My kid is still alive in me. He is moving. He looks fine on his anatomy scan. The anxiety is part of the package of testing. I will find out, one way or the other, about his chromosomes. And we will deal with it. Shit happens. To me. To other people. Even when other shit has happened before. Just trying to breathe through this dark place and laugh in some light, even if I am not all that funny.