So I just received this work email…
“Jessica’s Baby Pool
Jessica is due November 13.
If you would like to get in the pool – please send date and time you think Baby Girl XXXXX will arrive.
$5 if you’d like to play – please get $$ to me no later than 4pm on Thursday, 10/19.
After Matthew died, for some time people at my work had excluded me from these types of emails, which wasn’t necessarily expected, but was a gesture much appreciated. But now I’m not sure what would have been worse… Being thoughtlessly included on this stuff from day one, or the realization that, at some point unknown, someone has apparently arbitrarily decided on my behalf that it is okay for me to be included in such shenanigans again. (It isn’t.)
I wonder what it is that makes them think it hurts less now… The passage of one year? Joel’s arrival? Two years?
Or maybe they simply forgot.
Their world, understandably, doesn’t revolve around me… Also, if they did think of me, perhaps they feel rude continuing to exclude me. After all, they aren’t mind readers – how else are they supposed to know that I would much prefer to be excluded still? (I’ve contemplated replying to tell them, “Please leave me off of the birth announcement and any future baby-related propaganda. THANKS.”)
I think on a normal day I’d just delete this email without a passing thought, but right now this has me all fired up, maybe because I’m also pregnant, nearing the impossible third trimester. (Also, I’m just coming off a trip to Des Moines to visit Mark’s parents, where Joel had a blast and smiled so much at the pumpkin patch, specifically in the bounce house, that I couldn’t help but repeatedly picture, in devastating detail, the two-year-old who should have been laughing right alongside him.)
But I think receiving this email during the whole entering-the-impossible-third-trimester phase is what’s setting me off most. It just so effectively highlights the contrast between my reality and others’, me and the rest of society.
Like someone, most people actually, can confidently tell their entire company about their pregnancy, and then be like, “Okay, sure, yeah – let’s send a company email taking bets on my baby’s guaranteed safe arrival!! After all, at this point, the only detail in question is the date… Or I guess maybe length and weight too!”
Meanwhile, even the smallest lull in movement has me convinced that this baby’s dead.
I texted a screen shot of this email to some friends. One replied, “Don’t these people know that babies can die?
I replied, “No – I don’t think they know. Or they forgot. Or I guess maybe they just think only my babies can die…”
So I kind of want a company-wide email to go out about Finch… Except I want it to accurately describe my reality to the point that it makes everyone very uncomfortable. Like it could say something like this…
“We’re taking bets on Christine’s baby boy!!
Because his arrival date has already been set for INSERT DATE OBNOXIOUSLY CLOSE TO THE BIRTHDAY OF CHRIST (unavoidable due to prior situation involving death), we’re going to try to predict some other things…
How many days prior to aforementioned scheduled date will Christine lose her shit and check into the hospital?
Will baby boy actually arrive on his scheduled date or in terrifying, emergency C-section fashion? (Keep in mind, baby boy will be extensively monitored – think multiple hours each day and probably through some nights – allowing doctors to see potentially scary decelerations in heartbeat that likely happen in every pregnancy but are seldom documented, but, in this case, each one will have to be interpreted, and each time the course of action is sort of a life or death judgment call, and everyone’s going to be erring on the side of life here…)
Since baby boy is most likely to arrive at 37 weeks or earlier, do you think there be a NICU stay involved? Bonus points for guessing length of time!!
🙂 🙂 ”
But noooooo, this sort of email would never happen, because, in our society, we can only talk about happy things and must ignore any negative thoughts or subjects considered to be taboo, even though, for some, this sort of stuff makes up our reality.
I think for those who’ve faced such tragedy it would be easier if society could just talk freely about it. It would help to eliminate really awful things that the bereaved experience, including feelings of shame…
I’m sure this is one reason why, at work, only my boss and the co-worker who says she had a dream about me know that I’m pregnant. Part of the reason I’ve told no one else relates to fear, but, to be honest, I think there is an aspect that relates to shame. Even though I know intellectually that I shouldn’t, I think part of me, at least on some level, still feels shame over Matthew’s death. And part of me feels shame over my continued story – my lifelong grief and related struggles, my ever-present complicated feelings, my knowledge, which is occasionally reinforced by others, that my story is one that society, generally speaking, doesn’t want to particularly hear…
But anyway, this email is sitting in my inbox waiting for me to delete, and I’m glad I wrote this post, because otherwise I might have become trigger-happy and replied inappropriately and lost my job today…
Time to find another piece of my budget project to complete.