Like a lot of people, I've been reading the fabulous Glow in the Woods. Thanks to those special women for providing a much needed community space for so many. There's a section called 6X6 with some very thoughtful questions. Last week Wabi-Sabi Life posted her answers to 6X6, and one of the questions has stuck with me this past week.
Imagine being able to step back in time and whisper into the ear of your past self the day after your baby died. What would you say?
Indeed. What the hell would I say? This is as good as it gets. In the coming months, you'll become more and more depressed. Your husband will grow sick of you and withdraw any and all emotional support. You'll gain weight, and feel terrible about yourself. You'll be lonely and alone. Your job will only get tougher - your boss, who is stuck himself in a merger fight he'll lose, will lose faith in you completely and only make your life harder. You'll start looking for new work, and it will be a long, hard slog. You'll only lose weight when you discover your husband is having an affair and is leaving you. He'll treat you like crap for a long time. Your father will have triple bypass surgery. Your father's sister will die, the first loss in that generation, an irretrievable source of family info and lore gone. You'll be offered what seems like a fabulous new job, one you can really, finally flourish in. It'll take them forever to work out the details of the job, a sign you should have paid attention to. And every time you actually try to accomplish anything in the job, they'll throw up odd roadblocks that again are signs. Until finally they fire you with no warning. You'll try to get pregnant for months with no luck, and in one terrible afternoon see a fertility specialist who will tell you donor eggs are in your future. And you'll be at the appointment by yourself because your husband is still being a jerk. Your husband will, grudgingly at first, end his affair and come back to his family. But his family of origin will have made their feelings about your marriage and you clear, creating a breach that may never heal. You will, finally, become pregnant naturally, and despite fears and anxieties that would crumple nearly anyone, at 15 weeks things will still seem to be going along fine. All tests will indicate all systems go. But, you'll gain more than 15 pounds (possibly 20 - you'll be unable to get on a scale) in the first trimester, sending your already low self esteem spiraling downward. But at least, maybe, there will be a baby boy in the fall.
What is it I could have told myself 16 months ago that would, could, maybe change some of the truly awful that's happened in the past 16 months? Get tougher, get stronger, get over it - and yourself - faster. Take care of yourself, and take a lot of care of others, particularly your weak husband. Pay attention.
Is that enough? Are those the mistakes I made? Not paying attention? Seriously, not paying attention?! That's the lesson I learn from all this? My dad is famous for little sayings, and his favorite is be aware of your surroundings. I knew that lesson. I've had that lesson drilled into me since birth. I'm aware. I wasn't aware enough, I guess.
It's not all bad, I know. It just feels like a never ending litany of bad. I got out of a job that really was a bad fit, I gained some valuable experience, someday I'll look back and be thankful I wasn't too entangled with this last bunch of idiots for too long. I'm still married, and it's mostly good. My daughter is amazing. My family and friends are mostly amazing. There may even be a baby.
I've grown to hate it when my friends look me over appraisingly and say, oh gosh, what a year (now year and a half) you've had. Yes, a shit year and a half. How do I get out of this, get back on track. When does it end?
5 days ago