Monday, March 1, 2010

straying off-topic

i'm taking a quick break from the fun and frivolous topics i've been posting about to get serious for just a second.

in the last few weeks, i've learned that some of my very good friends have been dealing with some serious shit - and it's led to some very interesting, thought-provoking discussions with others in our circle. not to mention, the speaker at last week's junior league meeting who talked a lot about post-partum depression really touched me and got me to do a lot of thinking.

i've written before that i suffered a miscarriage before the bean was born. in fact, it was on my dear friend weezermonkey's wedding day that we'd discovered we were expecting. and we were so excited - we'd been trying for a little while, and because of my, uh, "advanced age," i was particularly thrilled. we kept the news to ourselves for a while, savoring it, letting it sink in. and then a mere three weeks later, i found myself with symptoms that didn't look good. we rushed to the doctor (who we hadn't even seen yet, with my first prenatal appointment scheduled a few days out), who did an ultrasound, called in another doctor to confirm what he was seeing, and that was it. i remember waiting just long enough for them to leave the room before i let the waterworks loose. the hub hugged me tight as i cried those hot, bitter tears, and we mourned the loss together.

before then, i had no idea how common miscarriages were. last time i checked, the stats were something nutty like 20% out of all pregnancies ending in miscarriage. and as we shared the news with very close family members and friends, i was really surprised to hear stories of similar losses begin pouring out. while it didn't necessarily make me feel better, it was really eye-opening to learn that some of our loved ones had faced situations like ours.

and a couple of my very dear friends are dealing with some shitty situations of their own right now - one of them being post-partum depression. i remembered how she'd called me not long after the birth of her baby, in tears and totally frustrated over how difficult everything was. i felt so awful for her, not knowing how to help her other than to listen and offer words of support and advice. at that time, the idea that she could be suffering from PPD didn't even occur to me, but looking back, it makes a lot of sense. i'm just glad that she's got/is getting help, and is doing so much better now.

the other friend is someone i have so much love for. she's such a wonderful person, a great mom, and an all-around awesome chick. and we were so excited when we learned that she was pregnant. but then, halfway into her pregnancy, she and her husband were devastated to learn that there were some fatally serious problems with the baby. with the knowledge that the baby would likely not survive to term, or even outside the womb, they followed the doctor's recommendation to terminate. and i want to cry and throw up and scream every time i think about it. i can't even imagine what they were and are still dealing with - after the physical pain is gone, the emotional aftermath has got to be pure hell.

why is it that the topics that totally cry out for attention, things that we as women should be able to discuss openly and honestly, so freaking taboo and make those who suffer from them feel ashamed or simply not comfortable enough to talk about it? i'm not gonna get all kumbaya on you or anything, but seriously - you would think that we could be sympathetic (empathetic? i never get those right) towards each other and be supportive. even stuff like formula-feeding vs. nursing, working moms vs. stay-at-home-moms, or cloth diapering vs. disposable are such touchy subjects that get people on both sides all pissed off. oy!

okay, i'm done. i just had to get that out, i guess. yeah.

16 comments:

  1. I am very sorry for your friends and what they are experiencing. I have two friends who had post-partum depression after having their first child. One told me right away. The other waited about a year to tell anyone. I feel so bad she kept that all secret. It's definitely normal to feel overwhelmed considering the situation and the physical changes to your body.

    It's also definitely a concern for me, having a baby in June. Just today I found a class at the Pump Station called Postpartum Journey, preparing mothers for the emotional changes of having a baby. I think I'm going to go.

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  2. Hugs to you. I can't imagine the pain you felt when you lost your baby. The bean is such a beautiful ray of life. :) You done good! :)

    I totally agree with you. Being a mom is such a difficult and beautiful experience, all at once. We should all be supportive of whatever decision another mother makes (formula vs BF, work vs SAHM, etc).

    As far as the taboo topics, I also agree with you. I suffered from PPD and I felt like something was wrong with me. Why was I the only one who wasn't totally 100% in love with my baby? It was SO hard. Luckily, I'm ridiculously honest and told people that I was having a really hard time, instead of pretend like I wasn't. I got a lot of support that way and many people appreciated my honesty (I think!).

    Ugh - hard hard stuff. Play date? ;)

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  3. HI there (jerseysunrays here from MM).

    Thank you for writing about these topics- the topic of loss and the topic of PPD.

    There is such a stigma attached to PPD- it's awful! I personally know of a woman who reached out to get professional help while she was in crisis and it lead to some really shitty stuff and was ultimately a hindrence.

    There is an organization called Motherwoman (www.motherwoman.org) that is working to remove the stigma through education and giving mothers a safe confidential space to work through their depression. However, at this time it's just local to the area I live in. It is such a great organization that I hope it gets an opportunity to go national someday!

    In any case, in MA right how there is a bill called An Act Relative to PPD that would make PPD screening universal and provide opportunities for women to learn about resources and receive PPD education.

    -NJ

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  4. I feel sad for our friends. I'm so awkward about this stuff. I hope they know I care.

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  5. Thank you for this post. We just passed the one year mark from when we suffered our loss and it was so hard to go through. I never discussed it openly with others because like you said, it felt taboo.

    I am so sorry for your friends who are suffering. No one should ever have to go through such losses.

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  6. Maybe it's because I'm so young and naive, but it's weird for me to think that people wouldn't share that information. PPD has always been a very open topic amongst my friends and family, because my mom had it after I was born. And the topics of abortions and miscarriages are always discussed in my circles without any shame attached. It makes me sad that everyone isn't like that.

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  7. Thank you for posting. I agree that it's important to support our fellow women, and I think many are unaware of miscarriage rates.

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  8. I had no idea how many people had miscarriages until all my time spent on the interwebs.

    This is a topic I've thought about before. I'm not one to share my feelings so I wouldn't tell people about my potential pregnancy until we were past the typical miscarriage stage not out of shame, but because how I deal with death/feelings. Others feel differently and like others to know for the support.

    My thoughts go out to your friends.

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  9. I think there are so many topics that we, as women, should be more open about. PPD, pregnancy loss, and infertility should be something we can openly discuss. Unfortunately, society isn't comfortable with these topics and most women end up suffering alone, or with only a handful of close friends. These things should not be such social stigmas. I truly hope that we as a society can move past this silence and share openly so that women don't have to feel so alone in their struggles.

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  10. Very good post. And, ditto to what WeeMo said.

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  11. Thanks for posting this. It hits close to home.

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  12. I think coupled with these topics being taboo, it's also common for women to feel like failures when we compare ourselves to everyone else. Not just in the baby arena (which I have little knowledge of), but in all areas of life, we see how some women seemingly achieve something easily and question why it's not the same for us. We are our worst critics, and I think that common insecurity hinders us from sharing these weaker, more difficult moments.

    I think the continual dialogue and sensitive posts like these break down those expectations we have for ourselves. There are so many bad-ass, awesome women out there. I really believe at times when we need it the most, we are each other's most untapped resource.

    Big hugs to you and your friends.

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  13. I still feel sad for your loss and I'm happy you've felt comfortable enough to share about it. Maybe some day topics like these, and even marriage itself, will be easier for women to talk about. It is all very hard sometimes but having people to talk to about it with lessens the burden a little.

    P.S. Wemo, Jen, FGD - your friends know. :) Just tell them you care. Every little bit helps.

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  14. Thanks for sharing this. You know it's a tough topic for me. Your post has encouraged me to start talking to other people about it.

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  15. Yeah, some of the stuff our friends are dealing with these days is just breaking my heart. :(

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