Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Rambling, Ranting and Making Excuses

Or…the origin of my SR.

When I replied to my Brilly-Poo’s (;p) comment yesterday, instead of quick email back, I ended up with a whole blog post.

Brill said that she used to be very outgoing but now she’s more of a homebody.

And guess what…I used to be that way, too! I used to HATE sitting at home. I worked retail and LOVED my job. My favorite part (besides the free or very cheap shoes) was interacting with people all day long.

As I moved from my “Party Girl/Single Girl/Hot Shoe Store Girl” persona to the “Mom/Office Worker/Wife” persona I’ve taken on, my need for that interaction faded. But it wasn’t until Bella that I began to dread meeting people so much that it actually prevented me from leaving the house.

Because any time I have a conversation with someone new, the subject of kids comes up. “Do you guys have any kids?” I usually explain that The Man has two kids who live with us. I used to "avoid" this situation by saying "we" have two kids. Then I wouldn’t have to explain the custody thing. But then, the subject can turn to, "So the kids with Grandma?" I could LIE (most of the time, sometimes they are with Grandma), or tell them that they are at their mom's. [Weird look] Then explain that they are The Man's kids and not “mine.”

Inevitably, the conversation always turns to me. Or, more accurately, my baby-making. It's either, "So do YOU have any kids?" or "Are you guys ever going to have kids together?"

And in that absolutely inevitable moment, I have to make the choice: Do I lie or tell them the truth? If I tell them the truth, the conversation - and the 'relationship' - go sour. Always. It goes a little something like this (these are actual things people have really said to me!):

"So do YOU have any kids?"
"Um. Yeah. We had a baby girl in 2005 who was stillborn."

The Idiot:
"Oh. Huh.'ll have more."

The Prodder:
What happened? Are you going to try again? Why NOT? Oh, don’t worry about that! Being a mother is the greatest thing you can experience! Giving birth, that’s the most beautiful moment of a woman’s life. [Me: I HAVE given birth!] That’s not the same! It’s not the same, you see, that baby did not live. It’s just not the same. [Note: Conversation aborted, Prodder’s life depended on it.]

The Suicide Promoter
Oh, my God! Seriously? That must be TERRIBLE! How do you go ON? Oh, I just don't know how I would live if one of my kids died! No, really! I would just KILL myself! Oh. My. God!

The Weired Out Person:
"Oh, really? That's really...bad." [silence]

Those are the basic reactions. Somehow, the conversation always turns to this and ends with someone (or both) feeling uncomfortable. Or sometimes they really upset me and sometimes no matter how hard I try I can’t hide my newfound hatred for them and their giant thoughtless mouths.

But as painful as it is to drudge it up every time I meet someone, it’s a thousand times more painful not to. Because as easy as a “No.” would be to throw out, in my mind and in my heart saying that is denying Her. It’s lying about almost a whole year of my life. Pretending that a child never existed. A child that grew from a microscopic seed into a six pound baby girl in my womb. Who I spent twenty minutes pushing to see. Who I held on to as long as I possibly could. Who I’ve cried over for two and a half years.

As easy as it would be, I just can’t do it. Rather, I choose to stay home – away from new people who want to know how my ovaries are working.

But, like I said in the last post, I’m working on it. I’m trying new things with my “Conversating Skillz.”

Saturday night while we were out, an old friend whom I haven’t seen in years, asked The Question: “So do you have any kids?” I smiled and said, “The Man has two kids who live with us.” And she smiled and ended the conversation. So, thank you, J, for knowing your personal conversational limits. Thank you for not needing a status on my uterus. Thank you for letting me enjoy my evening and thus, allowing yourself to enjoy yours.

Click HERE for a Public Service Announcement (aka “a rant”) from The Butrfly Garden (well placed in the Complain Room).


Worker Mommy said...

Hey - did you realize you put the man's "real" name in there ? It's hard to keep it all straight sometimes isn't it ?
Agreed that your right to reproduce is just that. "YOUR right" and no one else's business. People can be so utterly lacking in tact and common sense.

In any event you've been more of a mother to Sunshine and Ninja boy then Scari so realistically you could very well say "WE" have two kids. But yes people will always pry and I can imagine you not wanting to have to go through the hassle of explaining.
In any event, I know you'll find the right mix of party girl and homebody. Bottom line is you have to do what feels comfortable for you.

Butrfly Garden said...

Oops, haha. Like I said, it started out as an email to Brill. :D

Damn! My secret cover has been BLOWN!


Miss Kate said...

It sounds like J deserves a round of applause for being a non-ass. Seriously, I have so many friends and relatives who are struggling with fertility or choosing not to have kids or etc etc etc. Our stupid celebrity-obsessed culture is currently obsessed with the children of celebrities and apparently it is de rigeur to get knocked up and fille the world with your spawn. But you're right in your rant post - not everone chooses that path, and some people can't take that path, and it's no one's business but their own. SERIOUSLY. My solution is to ask, and leave it at that, just like J. Some people are open and will tell you everything, some people are more reserved. If someone wants to talk about the status of their uterus, that's up to them.

Carla Stream said...

People just don't think before they speak. Clueless.......
I am sorry for such thoughtlessness.

Jodi said...

Yeah, what Carla said. I am sorry too!

Virtualsprite said...

I get asked that a lot, too. I just say we have three kids and then if they prod, I supply them with too much information. It usually makes them uncomfortable enough to change the subject, but not enough to sour the relationship.

For example, when they find out that our two oldest are my stepkids, they always say, "Are you going to have another one together?"

To which I respond: "We would, but Nature Boy is fixed and I'm broken."

If they go further than that, I give them a detailed history of my cervix, or lack thereof.

But I'm like that. My SR knows no limits. :-)

Shauna Loves Chocolate said...

I will be the first to admit that I have been one of those assholes who have asked too much and made people uncomfortable. And while I didn't mean to pry (or didn't think I was prying), I know it hurt when I asked the wrong person the wrong question. And for that, I always apologize, even if it's a meek, "I'm so sorry to hear that." It's my attempt to be the better person when I know I've screwed up.

Meeting people who have lost children or who have had difficulties in conceiving - and their honesty with me - has made it easier for me to know how to ask and what to ask. Because the thing that I would hate to be more than the asshole who asks too much is the person who avoids a person (friend, acquaintence, stranger) because I don't know what to say. To me, that's being more of an asshole.

But please, correct me if I'm wrong in my assumptions.

And damn, I missed out on TM's real name! Oh well.

Sornie said...

I have to wonder if the asking someone about their offspring situation is strictly a female question... I have never heard guys ask one another about the prospect of having kids/more kids/any kids. To me it's jsut a weird phenomenon but hey, I am just a typical guy who doesn't fully understand everything/anything.

Butrfly Garden said...

Shauna - I don't think everyone who asks a lot is an asshole. I know they're just curious and a lot more friendly than me. Ha, I don't ask anyone questions about themselves. I probably come off being really rude!

But, no. The 'prying' only gets to me when people go on with the trying to tell me to have more. I just hate when people bring it up because I know it's going to lead to a really uncomfortable situation...they have no idea. I'm sure for a lot of people, that's the first time they've ever gotten a reaction like that and they're probably shocked. And it's not like I don't talk about her at all. I just don't usually get into it when I'm out...or fetching something at work...or doing something else where it just blindsides me to be asked about it.

And, really, the only people that I don't talk to anymore because of something they said to me are the ones who said the "Eh, you'll have more." or were blatantly mean about it. The "sour" part is usually on their end, not mine.

You know I love you and I would never think you're an asshole!

Sornie - I think you are right. The Man has NEVER been asked about having more. EVER. As far as I know, nobody even asks him IF he has kids. He doesn't understand where my anxiety comes from with all this because nobody gets into it with him like they do me.
(Thanks for stopping by! Haven't heard from you since they murdered Drive!)

Canadian flake said...

It never fails to amaze me how totally dumb some people can be.. sounds like you have seen your share of people with "verbal diarhea"...sorry about that..

Sugar Kane said...

For what it's worth, I sounds like you handle the questions extremely well. I don't think there is a right or wrong way, more of a what is the best and healthiest way for you to handle. Sounds like you've figured that out.

Brillig said...

This started out as an email to ME? And I'm just now reading it??? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME???

I'm glad to see I've inspired such a wonderful post, though. I'll take all the credit, okay?

I know that I've said the wrong thing way too many times. And I probably pry more than I ought to sometimes. When I do, though, I hope it's out of genuine interest and love, as opposed to nosiness. But, you never know how these things are going to come across.

Right now, with my little Isaac and his issues, I've mostly just tried not to talk about it (except that I seem to blog about it... excessivley...). There are people who have to know, of course, like family. And I realize that mostly they don't know how to react, and so mostly they say stupid things that make me want to hit them. :-D (My BIGGEST pet peeve--the one I hear nine times out of ten--is "it's probably not that big of a deal. He looks fine to me." Um...? So, I'm making it up? Or, if I'm not making it up, then the whole medical community is out of whack to be concerned about him? Grrrrr.)

Okay, writing a novel... sorry.

Point is, I like your friend J very much, and I want to grow up to be just like her--and I want everyone around me to be just like her too. :-D

Cherann said...

I can't believe I purged this without reading it first. When I had my miscarriages, I scoured the internet for stories that were similar to mine. I remember reading about how one woman was pregnant (people knew she was because they had seen her) and later she lost her baby. She said the hardest part was having friends/aquaintances that did not know what happened, later come up to her and asked her how old her baby was now. I cried so hard when I read it.
I've come to the conclusion that people just don't understand what you're going through because they've never been through that kind of loss. They're lucky.

Julie said...

Wow, I just stumbled on this blog from Goodyblog, and was shocked to see this post. I could have written it myself. My first son was stillborn in 2003. I locked myself in my house, and had total panic attacks at the mere thought of going out in public and having to deal with questions about children. I completely isolated myself. I lost every friend I had because they had no idea how to deal with me, and I had no idea to live life like things were "normal". We moved about 2 years after we lost our son. We live in a different state now, so I can go out in public easier, but I still have to deal with stupid comments. It never fails, 5 years later, I STILL have to decide how I am going to answer the questions, and there is no right answer. Mention the child you lost, and deal with ridiculous, uncomfortable reactions, or don't mention them, and deal with the guilt you have later. If only people had a clue how hard those queastions really are to deal with...