I felt bad that the last post might be too sad, and it might make people feel even worse about everything. So in the interest of soothing feelings (my own and yours), I’ve come up with some ideas for my friends who are expectant or new mothers. Maybe these will help.
- When you start to tell people you’re pregnant, tell me too. It’s easier to hear it from you. Just also remember that I’m sad, and tell me that you remember.
- Send me your babies’ birth announcements, and know that I’ll be thrilled to meet them and get to know them, but maybe not right away.
- Invite me to your baby showers, and understand if I can’t go.
- Write me emails or notes to remind me you care about me. And please know that I love you back, even if I can’t respond. I’ll get back to you when I can.
- Talking on the phone is sometimes hard, so writing is better. If I have time, sometimes I can talk myself out of feeling sad and remember the reasons I’m happy for you.
- If you invite me out, warn me if pregnant women or new babies are going to be there so I can steady myself or decline.
- Please don’t feel rejected if I can’t see you or talk to you for the time being. It’s necessary sadness mitigation.
Most of all, please don’t worry that you’ve done something wrong, hurt me, or offended me. I had so many dear friends apologize after I wrote my “what not to say” post. I didn’t mean to make YOU feel bad! That’s way too many people feeling bad! Having suggested adoption was really nice and has a lot of merit to it. I really am thinking about it. Not wanting to tell me that you were pregnant was very thoughtful. That actually does make it easier on me, until I find out. I know that almost everything that has been said to me has been meant well. I know that.
I’m writing this blog because I feel badly about the way I’ve been feeling, badly about shrugging off your overtures, badly that you might be thinking that I don’t like you any more. I want you to know there’s a reason behind the way I’m acting; I’m not just selfish and petty. As I figure out the nuances of this disease, I want to let you know about it. Because even though nobody talks about it, it’s really common and it’s usually devastating. It creates such vast rifts and stifling alienation. At least if we can talk about it, we’ll still be in it together.
By the way, I found a good discussion about this on a "Let's Talk Babies" board. See the letter at the bottom of the page (scroll down) at this link: http://www.thebabycorner.com/boards/showthread.php?t=233285