a pause in my optimistic, literary-centered, gratitude-driven voice

*This is a rant. Read it with caution. J said writing it would make me feel better. It’s too soon to tell if it has. I should probably delete it, but what the hell.*

I am still really fucked up. I try so hard never to let these things out, but this is supposed to be a record of this journey, and if I don’t say these parts, it’s a lie.

I have no idea how to be in this role. I’m not afraid that I won’t love a child that comes from her body as much as I will (as I do) a child from mine, but I am TERRIFIED that I won’t know how to fill this role, to support her, to make this all about her body. I am terrified, and that terror is made worse because I’m doing this at my worst when she deserves my best. I used to imagine the joy of this role. We would have our first child with us. I would mentor my wife. I wouldn’t be selfish. She, and our older child, and our new baby would be my world. I’m sure that was in part an illusion, but she would have had something better than this. This broken me. This is probably the only time she’ll get to do this. It makes me hate myself.

I hate this not being my body. We have not switched bodies because we wanted to; we switched because we pretty much had to. I still want to be pregnant so much I ache. When I started my period, I felt so confused. We were only one week into a two week wait. Bleeding made no sense. It is almost impossible to comprehend that my body has no relevance. I was on prenatal vitamins for over a year. I read everything. I did everything. For nothing. None of it helped Emmett. None of it will help this baby. I feel irrelevant.

I’m afraid friends won’t tell me that they’re sorry we’re not pregnant. I’m afraid they won’t think I’m as hurt as she is because it isn’t my body. I’m afraid of being left out.

She worked so hard to come to terms with the fact that in this state, she’d have no legal rights over a child I carried. I’m only just now facing that. I hate this country, this state, so much for making that true. I already have no biological rights. No genetic rights. And I didn’t choose that. This part insults me. What if this new child is somehow taken away? Will I never have rights to a child who lives?

This is SO MUCH HARDER than trying before. Even the moments of freaking out before. The moments of what.if.I.can’t. This is a whole new game. We both feel insane most of the time. It’s like waking up in a world with rules you don’t understand. You try to apply the rules from your old world. They don’t work. You feel lost. Shocked. Confused.

I want to scream “IT’S NOT FAIR!” at the top of my lungs. I hate that part of me because I’m not that person. I never expected fair. Nobody gets “fair,” and for that matter, my life is so much better than so many people’s lives. I’m here. The love of my life is here. How dare I feel sorry for myself? So I don’t. I suppress that selfish, self-pitying person. I hate her. But she still exists.

I don’t think people understand. I think people think there’s something wrong with me if I’m not better by now. Or that if we’re still broken, we should wait to try again, which makes me feel even worse. Incomprehensibly worse.

We wanted to start trying right after our wedding. That was fifteen months ago, and we’re standing here with nothing but a box full of things for Emmett and our grief and rage and inability to be the people we want to be. People go through so much worse, parents suffer so much worse, but I HATE that this is where we are. I hate it, and I hate myself for hating it.

It isn’t that the things I usually write aren’t true. But these things are true too. I hate that they’re true, but they are. I’m angry and selfish and unhappy. I’m all of the other parts of me too, but these parts are not small right now. I am not the best me. I’m not the best partner. I’m not the best friend. My friends are so generous, and I am so sensitive and guarded and ungenerous. I’m not the best teacher. I cried in front of my class the week after we lost her, and now I hold myself apart from those students. I have denied all of us connection out of shame and embarrassment. I got a teaching award yesterday, and I was embarrassed. Four years of putting everything I have into teaching, and I win an award now, when I’m only getting by. I feel undeserving of good things.

I am so sad she’s not pregnant this month. I am so sad I’m not 24 weeks with our daughter. I am so sad.

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3 thoughts on “a pause in my optimistic, literary-centered, gratitude-driven voice

  1. R, To my eyes, this is your most authentic and genuine post to date. Thank you for sharing. I hope you love ALL of you, like all of us love ALL of you. This is part of grief and healing. You are walking through life. Keep walking. Love,Genanne

  2. Please continue to feel. Feel the hurt. Feel the sad. Feel the anger. Continue to write those feelings.

    The grief of not having. The grief of having for too short a time. This makes us human.

  3. R, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I certainly don’t think any less of you for being angry, or having self-pitying moments. You are dealing with something that is bigger than you, bigger than all of us, a grief I can’t even begin to understand.

    You and J are brave for opening your bodies (yes, I say bodies, because I fully believe that pregnancy is a process that entwines both partners) and souls again, after losing Emmett. I can only hope that when my own J and I decide to start a family, we can face all hopeful or scary prospects with as much grace and love as you have demonstrated.

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