This post is going to read like a stream of consciousness post, because for the most part, it is. I am feeling tremendously distracted and unfocused, and probably will be for the remainder of this month.
Fortunately, the bulk of my posts this month are already written, just waiting for their time to be published. But this one is not.
I cannot guarantee that the point of this post will be tremendously clear, to be honest, I'm still trying to figure it out myself.
But here goes.
I knew today was inevitable. That April would once again come back around, with its warmer weather, and intense rain showers, and endless reminders of exactly what life was like last year this time. How absolutely fitting that this year's April had to start on a Wednesday. Always the hardest day of the week for me.
I mentally prepared myself that this Wednesday would be difficult. I have so much going on this month, so much to distract me, and so much I need to focus on, but hanging over everything is April.
It is April.
Not only is it April, but April 30th is far away at the very end of the month...and THAT'S the day I have to make it to. That's the day that has haunted me these past eleven months.
Today was also April Fool's Day.
I noticed going around on social media, today, was a request. A request that people don't do the "fake pregnancy" prank as their April Fool's trick this year. I don't know if it's because I follow a bunch of babyloss pages now, or the fact that I have made friends with several other women who have lost their babies this year as well, but I found this request posted quite a bit throughout my newsfeed.
It looked a little something like this:
And that made me feel really grateful.
I admit that my thoughts were much more preoccupied today with the fact that today was a double whammy (April & Wednesday), so much so that I didn't pay much attention to social media. I can say that if anyone did do the pregnancy prank, I probably wouldn't have paid it too much attention.
But I can also say that when you are newly thrown into babyloss grief, the first time you see new pregnancy announcement posts, or hear from a friend who tells you she is expecting, it feels like a punch to the gut.
I wasn't anticipating this when it happened to me, last year.
I've always been thrilled for my friends announcing that they were pregnant, or sharing their wonderful news with me. I never anticipated after losing Reece that that would change, but oh how it did. And not at all for the reasons that I ever would've thought.
Most people probably think that moms who've lost babies have trouble hearing others' pregnancy announcements because they're jealous. For me, that couldn't be further from the truth. I am not jealous of my friends' pregnancies, just as I am not jealous of their babies. I don't want THEIR baby, I want my own back.
I mourn the loss of the naivete I used to have. I used to believe that when you get pregnant, as long as you get through the first trimester, you get to have a healthy baby in the end. I used to believe that you only needed to worry about miscarriage or loss for the most part in the first trimester. That's why I kept my lips tightly sealed about my pregnancy with Reece until I physically couldn't hide it anymore.
I used to think the further along in pregnancy you progressed, the better your chances of a healthy baby. I didn't realize that so many people lost babies at the end, far along into their pregnancies, or even full term. I didn't know that one in four pregnancies ended in miscarriage, baby loss, or infant death. I used to think that because I had had one normal pregnancy that resulted in a healthy baby, that my body would remember what to do, and the same would happen this time around.
But, as we know, that didn't happen.
So when my friends announce their pregnancies, or throw gender reveal parties, or post pictures of their nurseries, it makes my anxiety for them SURGE. I want to say, "please be careful! Please take care of yourself! So much can happen. So much can go wrong! Please listen to everything your doctor says! Please protect your heart!" I am instantly terrified for them and filled with such anxiety that I just rather not hear anything about their pregnancies and check back in at the end of the nine months when their baby is here, and healthy, and safe.
Of course I would never SAY any of those things to my friends. I don't want my friends to walk around in fear their whole pregnancy. They don't need to, because I will automatically do it for them. I can't help it now, I'm programmed that way.
I've been on the other side, and I know how quickly something can go horribly wrong. And I know what the aftermath of that feels like.
My pregnant friends don't know that I'd do pretty much anything short of throw myself off a building in order to make sure they NEVER learn what that feels like.
I've learned that it's no coincidence that many of my mom friends who have experienced tragic losses became practically silent on social media about any subsequent pregnancies. I used to think that was strange; like, why wouldn't they want to share their now happy news? But now I TOTALLY understand why.
If I ever have the opportunity to mother a child again, I probably won't tell anyone about him or her until they turn 1.
I am not jealous that any of my friends are pregnant. I'm scared for them. I'm holding my breath that everything goes as it's supposed to.
I am a bit jealous that they get to be carefree through their pregnancy. Because even if I ever do have another child, I will never be carefree.
So when I see pregnancy announcements, all of those things run through my head. To invest that kind of mental worry, just to find out that it's an April Fool's joke...well, that would just kind of tick me off.
Just not really funny. I guess it is to other people, but for people who've experienced loss or have had difficulty conceiving, it just comes across as in poor taste.
Simply put, social media is SUCH a strange beast. As someone who is active on social media in a variety of forms, I have to say that for the most part, I feel like social media is tremendously beneficial. It's allowed me to connect with friends all over the county, friends I've lost touch with, stay current with friends who've moved abroad. It's provided me a network of support both with parenting and also with babyloss. It's given me outlet to write over the past five years, and if I'm being completely honest, for the most part it's mindless fun.
And it feeds my procrastination habit, so there's that too.
But there are aspects of social media that are strange to me.
When I was pregnant with Sadira, Facebook hadn't really taken over the world yet. Sure, there was MySpace, but who even remembers that anyway? "Announcing a pregnancy" meant calling close friends to share the news, and then just cluing anyone else in if you ran into them. I would send out a text to my friends if I really had something I needed them to know. There wasn't some voyeuristic way to peek into people's lives like there is now.
But of course, people can only peek in and see what you allow them to see.
I know that I tend to share a lot on social media. I post a lot about Sadira, as she's grown to become such an interesting little person. I post a lot about current events, and pop culture.
And let's be real, I post a shiton about sports.
I've more than once been deleted by a Facebook friend who was sick of my sports posts.
I guess some people think sports are annoying? (I don't understand those people.)
And I try really hard to be authentic in my posts...not only just posting happy, wonderful thing, but also the sad, difficult stuff...as evident by this blog.
But when it came to announcing my pregnancy with Reece last year, the whole thing felt weird. It's become a "thing" now. Just like kids asking each other to prom has become a "thing." (What's up with these Promposals anyway? What happened to just saying, "hey wanna go to prom?" but again, I digress.)
I had several friends who knew I was pregnant ask me, "when are you going to announce?!" My default answer was, "after I tell Sadie that we're expecting." Which, of course, I wanted to wait as long as possible to do. I think I was about 15 weeks pregnant when I told Sadie, and I would've waited longer if my baby belly wouldn't have been so obvious.
I was afraid that something would go wrong and then I'd have to explain that to her. So I waited in order to avoid that.
Turns out I didn't wait long enough.
But I finally "announced," and the news was out. Still felt weird, but good that the cat was out of the bag. I'll admit, I was never one to enjoy pregnancy. It just doesn't agree with me, but after having Sadira, I learned that the outcome was well worth the discomfort of pregnancy. That said, I tried very hard not to be one of those people who posted about their pregnancy constantly on Facebook. Mostly because I have friends who have had trouble conceiving, and the last thing I would want to do is flaunt my own pregnancy in their face.
Thanks to the blessing of the Timehop app, I've been able to relive my pregnancy posts. And while I post a LOT on Facebook, I posted very little about my pregnancy. I chose to discuss my pregnancy mostly only in my private parenting forums, and mom's group that I'm a part of. In fact, I've posted more on Facebook about my new dog that I've had for a week, than I did about my entire pregnancy with Reece.
I don't know why I limited my pregnancy posts...maybe because they probably would've been mostly negative because I have a hard time with pregnancy?
I did happen to look back and see a negative pregnancy post that I made last year in April. I kinda wish I could go back in time and kick myself in the teeth for that one.
I knew back then that pregnancy posts on social media were tough for friends having trouble conceiving, or friends who could not conceive. I NOW know that pregnancy related posts on social media are tough for babyloss parents too. Because it's natural to read something and try to relate to that person.
When I try to relate, I am reminded of the most difficult experience of my life.
I thought we were okay.
Even through the complications I started to have in April, I still thought in the long run, that things would be okay. I always thought Reece would make it.
Before April 30th, my biggest concerns were 1: if we were ever going to definitively agree on his name, and 2: I really wanted him to be born in September and not August, so he wouldn't be the youngest when he started school.
Seems ridiculous now, right?
THOSE were my biggest concerns, because OBVIOUSLY I thought everything would be fine.
I'm not that girl anymore. I don't look at pregnancy the same way. Instead of hearing about a friend's pregnancy and thinking, "oh, fun! Good for them!" I cautiously think, "please please please let everything go okay."
I'll exhale when their baby gets here.
I hold my breath for every pregnant friend of mine.
Because I want everything to be okay for them.
And I'm holding my breath for myself, until April is over.
Because I want everything to be okay for me too.