Friday, September 2, 2011

0 Weeks and Craving Forgiveness

When I think of who I am and how I got to this point in my life- what has shaped me- the number one "thing' would be Andrew. The kind of Christian I am, mother I am- The kind of wife, friend, teacher, person... it all comes back to him.

I remember when I was numb- months out- driving- and a woman gave me the finger mouthing some words at me- clearly quite angry at something I did... I still don't know what happened, but I remember (literally) smiling and waving. I did this while thinking, poor thing... she probably had a really bad day~ perhaps she just lost someone like I did... Maybe she lost a baby too... I thought this because everyone must be like me- You see, I had just gotten out of the 'angry at the world' stage. I was oblivious- but at the same time, keenly aware.

I chose my words very carefully (though you probably wouldn't notice). I never asked someone how many children they had because it was a question I hated to answer. I didn't ask people who had been married for some time if they were 'trying' because my assumption was that they were and it wasn't going well and that -in itself- is a loss... a loss of that dream us little girls have- we grow up, fall in love, get married, have babies, the end.
I don't talk about my living children here (unless it is their thoughts of their brother or sister) and I am careful (as much as I can) to not talk about them with friends who are trying so hard to have a baby.

But recently I dropped the ball and for that I feel sick and apologize from the bottom of my broken heart.

I was on facebook when I read many friends (most of them older and from my church) who were writing how many "weeks they were" and what they were "craving". The inference here was that they were pregnant. I thought it was funny (because clearly they weren't) and I wanted in on the joke. I played along (most of my friends knowing that I had had a tubal so wouldn't be pregnant) but my computer lit up, and my phone rang off the hook with people asking me (for real) if I was pregnant... (clearly their friends hadn't gotten the same forward I had about the 'game' whose purpose was apparently to raise awareness for breast cancer). Some people laughed and thought it was funny- and to be honest- at the time, I thought it was 'funny' that people would honestly think that I was pregnant.

It wasn't until a friend sent me a message- (A friend who lost two beautiful twin boys, a friend with no living children but an overwhelming desire to be a mother of children that people SEE)- wrote me congratulating me, that all laughter and smiles stopped. I lost my breath and my eyes started to water. I realized what I had done. I realized that I had turned into one of 'those' people... those people whose mouths drip insensitive questions and thoughts not out of malice but because they are clueless. Those people who are the topic of most meetings I have attended and countless posts on support group pages. I wondered how many people read my 'status update' and wanted to give me the finger while I smiled and waved... oblivious. I felt sick to my stomach, let her in on the 'joke' and quickly posted the message I got to every 'baby-loss group' I am a member of in hopes to save others from the 'sting' of hearing a friend was pregnant... when in fact they were not. Some thanked for the clarification but after that came outrage, and rightfully so.

To this community being pregnant is no laughing matter.

To many in this community when they become pregnant they know the week and day of their pregnancy and 'first trimester' safety... Ya, that means nothing to us. Hell, my twins were good and cooked at 39 weeks... well passed that 'first trimester' safety mark.

When you want to have a baby... if you've been trying for two months or two years- while you may be happy for someone else, you can't help but be more sad for you- it is human. I learned that when my brother and his wife were expecting their first child a month after I had lost baby E. As excited as I was to be an auntie, and as happy as I was for them... I felt sick and sad. Sad for me. I remember being glad that I heard their exciting news over the phone so that they didn't have to read my face in that moment. It wasn't about them... it was all about me...

I wonder how many read that post about my 'cravings' and had that same feeling~ sadness~ and my "playing along" had caused that for some and for that, I deeply apologize.

I have since 'removed' the post.

The purpose was to 'raise awareness for breast cancer'... how the game did that, I don't know. Trying to find a reason for everything, my guess is that the hope was to get people talking and get some air time on the Today Show or Good Morning America- but perhaps what this game can do is bring more awareness to my number one 'cause'.

Yes. I know people who have suffered from cancer. It claimed the life of my father-in-law. My mother-in-law is a survivor... my sister-in-law...

But I am a survivor too. I survived losing a son. Holding a son who was dead in my arms. Holding a son who I carried for 39 long weeks. Holding a son who just mere hours before I delivered him had been alive within me... kicking! A son who would have been here had I delivered just that morning. Look at your child. That could have been Andrew.

But no one really knows my struggles. They may have remembered my now 'once upon a time' story but they don't know how I still think about him everyday- that just turning the calendar to September brought a lump in my throat knowing that that precious boy would have been 8 in just a few short weeks and I never got to see his smile.

Somehow I survived.

I'm surviving still- but for some reason my 'cause' doesn't get air-time.
Oprah never talked about me (though of course I wrote her as I'm sure many other of us 'Secret Society' moms did)... Perhaps your baby had to live a while to get on her show... Perhaps I was going crazy... Perhaps it was just me...

But now I know that it's not just me and I'm not crazy... or maybe I am. But there's a whole lot of us crazies out there that are suffering from a disease that eats us up... a broken heart from someone that we loved dearly but that no one else saw and therefore was forgotten by the next week or two.

I can tell you non-members of this society that those who suffered a loss were hurt by this. And I assure you that those who want nothing more than to become pregnant were hurt by this and THIS is what I hope spreads like wildfire. I am sure no one meant for anyone to get hurt, but I am 0 weeks and craving forgiveness- for not being sensitive to MY group. Perhaps this 'game' will bring attention to "us"- Attention to a group that doesn't have some celebrity spokesperson or representatives on the morning talk shows.

But there is talk- of that I assure you. The world will say that there is no pain like losing a child- But I don't fall into that category because my children never took a breath- not one that I didn't breathe for them. They didn't count.
The world never talks about me. I have no color. No ribbons worn by celebrities as they make their speeches at their awards shows. They never talk about 'me'. But perhaps they will now. Maybe this game will bring attention- just to a different cause. Mine. Ours.

So talk about that. Talk about us.
The Secret Society.
Share this on your facebook pages.

31 comments:

  1. Laura--I had no idea about this "game" until I had read this side affect of it. yours is the second one I've read. I have so much about Social Media that I hate....and this is one of them. But unfortunately our society is turning to this. It's in our social lives, its in our business lives, it's everywhere. Social media does not ever consider the emotion on the other side of the computer screen--it just shouts at you in the form of a "status update" without the consideration of the individual circumstances. I still think we all have the right to chose whether or not to be a product of it, though. I've had to learn how to use facebook very carefully for this reason. Because I've been hurt (by my own allowances) more times than I care to remember....maybe I"m just sensitive.

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  2. Oh Laura, don't be so hard on yourself. You are amazing and I am constantly learning from you. I love you!

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  3. This is beautiful...and so well written. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Thanks for writing, Laura...and as always you warmed my heart :)

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  5. I saw the game on facebook and I personally thought it was stupid. Whoever thought that one up could have done a way better job. I made a joke about it and put how many weeks old I was which at age 33 is a lot of weeks. Even my best friend after posting hers realized out stupid it was a deleted it.

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  6. Thanks for posting Laura. I have had four total losses now and still hold my breath every month for my period not to come. Every month is a mini-depression, knowing again...not this time. The hardest part though is when it does happen and the shear terror of not knowing what will happen... the panic of trying to keep this baby alive.
    Thanks for keeping the word out there.

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  7. Please remember the Oprah is part of that Secret Society too. Maybe a show on it would have been too difficult for her to do. Just a thought...

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  8. I don't go on Facebook often but I can see how that would have gone down, spiraling in the wrong direction. This post is written perfectly and I am sorry you had to go through this, however what this situation brought forth is definitely words that need to be read by all. I too have written to Oprah many times about The Secret Society and the fact that our world needs to be aware.

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  9. Thank you. We've been trying for 12 cycles this month and those statuses hurt. It sucks to hold your breath a little each month. Praying that there's a little someone growing inside of you. And also that nagging voice in the back of your mind gets a little louder each time it's not true saying that there might be something wrong...

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  10. You are such a sweet person, Laura. I feel your sincerity in this post and know you never meant to hurt anyone. xo Andrew xo E xo

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  11. I just wanted to say thank you for posting this. Lots of people out there participated in this and now feel as you do, thank you for relating to them. I'm on the offense here, after seeing that first status update and trying to "hide" the "'pregnant' offender" (we've been dealing with secondary infertility, and lost our precious daughter Leila at 20 weeks in May '09). She has since apologized, and somehow that made me feel worse. ??? So your post resonates with me. Thank you.

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  12. Thank you for a well written post!

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  13. Thanks for posting this. I have never been able to have biological children, although I have 3 adopted boys. I was emailed this game on facebook and immediately thought of a friend who recently lost a baby very early in her pregnancy. I chose not to participate in the game. I remember all the years of trying and trying, living month to month on the chance of getting pregnant. Being happy each time I found out a friend or family member told me they were pregnant or a new baby was born but secretly dying a little inside each time. I am glad I decided not to participate and I thank my friend for posting a link to this blog so I could share it as well.

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  14. Your post brought tears to my eyes and said almost everything I am thinking and trying to say! Thank you! I'm so sorry about your loss of Andrew. I have an Andrew too. He is four and starting PreK this year. His little sister, Elise, would be 2 if she were alive, but she died of a cord accident at 36 weeks in 2009...I guess we have a lot in common. My blog for Elise is
    http://eliseshonor.blogspot.com/
    if you'd like to check it out.
    Thank you again for sharing your story and your thoughts! <3

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  15. Thank you!! I suffer from infertility and the game this year just tore my heart. You put what was on my heart in words and I really appreciate it!

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  16. I too was very surprised that gaining attention by making posts look like a pregnancy was a Breast Cancer awareness ploy. And my mom is a breast cancer survivor!

    After years of infertility treatments, all unsuccessful, and no babies adopted, my husband and I remain childless. Although many years have come and gone since the very painful days of treatments, the pain continues to come and go as well. Many people do not recognize that they pain could remain. No longer do people inquire about how we are doing. No longer do we speak of it except to one another and close family and friends. The posts (yes other people have still posted) still sting even 20 years post last infertility treatment.

    One thing about loss...it may not be as excrutiatingly painful moment by moment as the years wear on, BUT the pain NEVER completely goes away. It ebbs and flows across our developmental life cycle (yep us grown ups still have developmental milestones). Loss tears a hole around the edges of one's heart and and the scar tissue flairs up every now and again.

    Thanks for posting your forgiveness blog. I know your falling into the game was not purposeful and many life lessons have come from it for many people as a result. I am glad you decided to dance through the storm! <3

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  17. Love you Laura. Very well said. Those posts made me cry. You made me smile.

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  18. Thank you Laura! You are a kind,sensitive soul. Though we are blessed with one perfect child I have faced unknown infertility for nearly 4 years to give him a sibling. When I hear of a friend or family member who is expecting I can't help but feel jealous. Butthen I remind myself how blessed we are to have one.
    Toni:)

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  19. This means a lot to me. When two of my friends posted this and I hadnt got the email yet it made me panic. Both of them were young, not in any situation to have a baby and one was divorced. I was angry and jealous that they were "pregnant" when I wasnt. I was crying because I still dont understand why I couldnt keep my one baby but they got theirs. When I finally got the email about it, I was relieved but hurt that someone would "fake" it.
    anyways, thank you for this post. you worded it much better than I could have.

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  20. Thank you. It's been more than two and a half years since my son was still born at 38 weeks and it has been over a year and a half that we have been trying to have another child. I'm glad my friends in loss posted the link to your blog. Your thoughtfulness is assuring to me.

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  21. thankyou so much for this post, I had tried to tell people my thoughts on this game and it just brought drama, but when sharing your blog instead I got great responces, you said it perfectly. I lost 2 of my triplet girls to TTTS (twin to twin transfusion) a week before delivering them, I have looked over your posts today and really enjoy your writing.
    http://mishaelsbabies.blogspot.com/

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  22. Precious Laura~

    I too, have seen these posts on facebook, but did not participate. My daughter and son-in-law recently miscarried their first child and to have put that kind of post up would have been so hurtful to them both.

    I know many people play these games and can't think of anything past the "Oh, this is gonna be fun!" aspect of it. I pray that your post will do just that.....make them think. I know it has me.

    I am posting this to my facebook page. I pray that many will read it!

    Blessings~
    Laura

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  23. i think the whole game idea was alittle weird, i too have a beautiful baby boy in heaven, and miss and think of him everyday, if youve never lost a child you can not even begin to understand how much pain still thee is even years latter! my son who i had for a brief eight hours, ill hold for a life time in my heart, each and every day!

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  24. Hi laura, I have to admit when I saw my friends posting this my heart sank, sad I know but I couldn't help it. After 3 1/2 years of trying for a baby, ivf for the last year and 2 miscarriages I was sad it wasn't me again. Selfish I know but when you have wanted a baby so much and for so long it's hard not to feel like this.
    When I realized it was for a breast cancer awareness campaign I was even more confused. How is this linked to breast cancer, it just seems like a horrible joke. Especially as cancer treatments can obviously cause infertility which makes it even more insensitive and poorly thought through.
    Thanks for your beautifully worded blog, it's nice to hear other people that have the same view.
    Lisa xx

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  25. Thank you for your post. You seem very sincere and nice and we can all do thoughtless things once in a while....thank you for recognizing that those posts were hurtful to us.

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  26. A friend of mine who's in her late 60s (I'm in my late 20s) tells me all the time that people talk about pregnancy loss and infertility a lot more now than they did when she was having children. I believe her, but I still feel very alone out in the "real world." It's hard when people make flipant remarks like "Oh, just wait till you have kids" when your husband mentions your summer was "hectic." (What he didn't say is that it was hectic because I went to the ER three times for endo-related complications and we're struggling to get pregnant again after an early miscarriage.) Like you, I feel that my struggles have made me a more compassionate person, but I have my moments of insensitivity. Thank you for the courage to ask forgiveness for yours, and may God continue to bless you as you seek healing for yourself and others.

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  27. i can say that i am truly blessed after reading your post. we all make mistakes. even those of us having been there done that. i still am at a loss as to what to say to people when i hear of loss even though i have been through it. but i agree that the facebook game will have more reprocussions than realized.

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  28. Sorry for your loss!!! I lost a child in 1999, I miscarried at 9 weeks, and I still think about that child often!!! I look at my two healthy boys now and while I feel blessed to have them, I often wonder what i did wrong to have my first child taken from me!!! I never had a chance to even see his/her face...

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  29. I'm so sorry for your loss. I did not participate in that Facebook game because I've been trying so hard to get pregnant! I had my 4th miscarriage in April. It was a surprise miscarriage because I didn't even know I could GET pregnant again. Apparently, I was right. I can't.

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