Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thoughts on the Interconnected Web

No pictures today, no food.  I am heartsick.  A blogger friend had her baby girl, Lillian Grace, earlier this week, at just 22 weeks, who took a few breaths before she left this world.  Yet another reminder of just how tenuous this whole pregnancy thing is.

Just three and a half months ago or so, a while after I'd been diagnosed as IF by my ob/gyn, before I was pregnant myself, I'd sent Rebecca a package with tea for nursing mothers, and some Belly Bars, thinking positive thoughts about her pregnancy, maybe pinning my hopes on her new life if I wasn't going to be able to produce my own.   I was happy for her, in a way that I wasn't even able to be happy for my first-time-pregnant colleagues, who were everywhere at the time.  I followed her blog, watching her belly expand.

It was hard to read her news today.  I still have a lump in my throat that I can't quite swallow.

Another (real life) friend, who reads this blog, had a stillborn baby before her two successful pregnancies.  She is an amazing mother and a thoughtful, insightful, compassionate friend, and I thought about her this morning, too, and her own lost child, reading all of the outpouring of love and support for Rebecca, wishing again that I'd been a better friend to her back then, grateful for all of her support through my own losses and now my pregnancy.

Today, this is what I'm thinking: we need to be kind to each other.  We need to be able to talk about (or at least be present to) sad, unimaginable things in the way that we celebrate the joyful ones, to remember the losses as we remember the birthdays, not because we should dwell on what is depressing, but because death is a part of life.  We are such strange, half-invisible creatures sometimes, hiding our shadows.

Though the Bhagavad Gita tells us not to feel sorrow because death is inevitable, part of the great cycle of life, I believe that as much as we can cultivate detachment, we are still human.  And to me, while maybe detachment is a good thing sometimes, part of living is also cultivating that connection to others that will allow us to feel joy and pain together, that makes us realize, perhaps a little bit differently, how we're part of the interconnected web of being that the Gita also describes.
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  1. Justine,
    I just wanted you to know how much this post meant to both myself & my husband; we just sat here & read it together. Your friendship & kindness have meant a lot to me during this journey & mean even more now. Thank you for reaching out & bringing us comfort & support.

  2. Oh, Justine, I'm so sorry, both for your friend and her family, and for you. I know what that kind of news can do to your heart right now.

    I'll write more later, but for now I demand you dismiss any thoughts about what you might have done for me five years ago. You are my good friend now, and I'm grateful for it.

  3. I follow her blog as well and am just devastated. I often wish is was possible for other bloggers to know just how much I care, but it's impossible for it to come across - and often just too hard for me to write.

  4. This is a truly beautiful, wonderful post - your heart radiates through it.

  5. Nice posting. Do you know about this edition of the Gita?

  6. Rebecca-I hope you know that we are all here for you, whatever you need, whenever you need us.

    JeCaThRe-thanks. Me, too.

    Tasivfer-I think they know. There are some times that the words just don't need to be perfect. Your presence, your witness, is a gift, too.

    AKD-thank you. Thinking of you, too.

    sfauthor-I use the Mitchell and Easwaran translations. There are so many out there ... but those two felt most user-friendly to me.

  7. I was so sad to see Lillian's loss announcement on the LFCA - it does make you stop and pause for reflection.

    This is just a beautiful post. I hope you don't mind if I link to this from my blog - your paragraph beginning "Today, this is what I'm thinking: we need to be kind to each other." - it's just inspiring and has brought tears to my eyes. It's just so well said.

  8. Keiko, I'm honored that you think my words worth passing on. Thanks so much for your comment.

  9. Rebecca's loss made me cry and hug my children tonight for her and myself.
    I have been thinking about why pregnancy loss is such a taboo topic in our society. Why women feel the need to mourn in private, like they have done something wrong. Then I thought about my own experience. I did not experience any losses. But I did notice a few things. Pregnancy, childbirth, and mothering of newborns have become commercial enterprises. When we first decided to get pregnant I noticed pregnant women everywhere. Then I got pregnant and noticed pregnancy products everywhere. Magazines, books, videos, clothes. All advertised with full term women or perfect healthy newborns in their perfect Mothers arms. A colleague lost her baby at 26 weeks while I was 30 weeks. This shook me to my core. You mean that can happen? To a real person? To me? But what about her perfect ending? I am sure she had her perfect nursery with the perfect products for her assumed perfect baby. There are no images of loss, of disabled, imperfect newborns. There are no images of a crying breast feeding mother up at night for the sixth time. It's like if you have a loss you failed at achieving this perfect outcome that everyone else seems to get to. It's unfair, unrealistic and unfortunate.
    We all need posts like this. They are reality.

  10. Thank you for posting this. The infertile network is so unbelievably amazing at times.

  11. Cristen, I think you hit the nail on the head. Though there may finally be images of imperfect women out there (with CURVES!), there are no images of imperfect motherhood ... whether that means infertile women, incomplete pregnancies, disabled children, even the difficult moments in "successful" pregnancies (yes, why doesn't anyone tell anyone that breastfeeding IS hard, and that it's a learned skill?!). All of this should be more visible.


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