Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bridges

Comments on the last post were actually healthy, s'mores notwithstanding: CLC asked why on earth people read blogs like ours who aren't experiencing "it." Niobe asked something similar here and I think the answers were telling. I know people read my blog who haven't experienced loss, but they come here because they've experienced something else. Maybe something similar. Maybe a different form of grief. Some come because they simply want to know, and are actually inspired, or find a way to put some relativity on their own lives. Some simply come because they've become "friends," and want to know more about me.

I personally think that's all lovely, and I truly appreciate everyone who finds the time to read the nonsense I occasionally find time to put up here. Knowing some of my readers haven't been through this exact drama actually comforts me. Knowing they read me makes me feel less like an oddity, more like just another gal who got slammed with some shit. And I'm here to tell them, they're good people for facing it. Better than a lot of people in my real life, better than some of my family.

Of course there's the occasional gawker, the accident-gaper, the person with the superiority complex, who I guess feels a bit intimidated by Martha Stewart, but not so much by the likes of us -- or those with myriad other problems, be it struggling with infertility, the possibility of a planned c-section, or just re-working their life philosophy. There are always those who read not to comfort, but to judge, and turn what they've read back into their life with the message: "I could do better." Um, Good for you? But that's not how you build community though, or understand, or meet people half-way, or reach out a hand, or offer sympathy, or listen.

For the majority of us/you, it pays to reach out and discover a bit of the universe you may know nothing about. Women (and men!) who live their days with grief, or with children with disabilities, or a disability of their own, or addiction, or sobriety, or cancer, or infertility, or scars of a traumatic emotional sort. Fellow bloggers can teach us strength, dignity, power, and yes, sometimes, even for the hard-hearted and cynical among us, a wee bit about hope.

Lolli began Bridges to compile these stories in one place. Fittingly, today I'm a guest blogger there, an oldie-but-goodie from GITW. Don't just read me, please poke through and see who else you discover. In a good way.

23 comments:

Azaera said...

I think it's unfair for someone to decide that based on your blog that you must be a bad parent to your living child. A deadbabymama blog is for letting out all your frustrations with being a deadbabymama. Sure most end up posting things to do with their lives everyday, because it is always a part of everyday living. But just because you talk about dealing with Maddy's death and the impact it had on your life and your family, doesn't mean that you aren't enjoying your living daughter.

charmedgirl said...

when i was in a hospital bed, lochia still taunting my nostrils, breasts bound, i thought, "now...now i must concentrate on my alive children. now i can do all the things with them i was anticipating guilt over not being able to do because of a newborn."

i couldn't have been more naive.

fact is, i think i need(ed) just as much time as a newborn would have, to nurse my wounds and stare into space. i just want to be aloooooooooone. i still wonder if i'm sending them to preschool because they've hit a stage where they just need "more," or is it me who needs it? oh well, can't know that, move on.

either way, either because there are other living, demanding little people in our faces, or we need to stare into space over little people who aren't, our alive kids need to learn to share. and isn't that a good thing?

so fucking what. you're not taking as many pictures anymore. what that asshole doesn't realize is, you can't take a picture; it's already gone.

Antigone said...

Remember the time someone vandalized your car and you responded by making donations to a local youth organization? This post reminds me of your previous constructive reaction. You're such a d@mn role model, Tash, it makes me sick.

Cara said...

Tash - I agree, these people are actually trying to gain some perspective, but the fact is you can't know it until you live it. It is like asking a hypothetical choice about life support, do you continue or detach it? You can't know until you are in the situation. You are sweet to understand, I know sometimes I struggle and judge...in spite of myself...or to spite (depends on the day)

Aunt Becky said...

It always shocks me the gall that people have when they address someone (especially someone who is talking about something more important than most of the drivel I see on blogger) online like that. Every time I rant about something, someone comes out of the woodwork and says something acutely hurtful to me. Or at least, they try to.

That said, Tash, you are one of my Internet Friends. Doesn't matter where, why or how we've gotten here, not to me, but you're my friend. And I admire you greatly.

Henry's Mom said...

I’m coming out of lurker mode to add this comment. I read your blog; I’ve not experienced a loss of a child. I came across your blog by way of Baby Center. I was expecting and found a post on there that lead me to blogs and I’ve been reading yours ever since.

I have a 15 month old, Henry. He was born with a racing heart, whisked off to the special nursery and then taken to Rush in Chicago by ambulance. It was terrifying. He was in Rush’s NICU for a week. He’s still on medication to control his heart. During the week when I sat at the NICU or I went home at night I would cry because I just wanted to hold my baby. I thought, if the worst happened I would never want to world to not know about my baby.

I follow your blog, and I know this sounds weird but I read about you, cry with you, I’m inspired by the way you still raise your living child, through your blog, and some others that I follow I have learned what is important in life. I guess when I try to put into words why I follow your blog I really can’t describe why but I do. I hope you don’t mind. You’re an amazing mom.
Kathy

Anonymous said...

I read a handful of babylost blogs. I found SweetSalty Kate through Amalah, and loved her writing, just loved it. Then she put up a link to GITW, and I found other wonderful writers there. I don't want to intrude on a beautiful community of likeminded people, or be ghoulish, or stare at the "traffic accident" (I make a point of not looking at traffic accidents, actually, so as not to get a thrill out of other people's pain.) But. Since it's out there, on the internet, since it's well-written and well thought out, since it isn't private and locked away, I still read. I read plenty of other blogs that are not sad, too. The writing and truth is what I look for in a weblog that is worthy of my time, more than the life circumstances of the writer.

I want to say this, though - before I found Kate/GITW, I knew several women who had lost children, and I didn't know much what to do with that. I'm a very nice person, and I tried to be supportive, but I came from the school of "let's, er, talk about - - - the Weather! Or - - - sports! Anything to keep your mind off! I'll just keep talking talking talking! Chirp Chirp Chirp!" Now I feel a little more sensitive, I guess? A little more capable of giving comfort. Better equipped to be a balm to women in need.

I hope so, anyway. And I thank you for welcoming me.

Gillian

Anonymous said...

Another lurker coming forward:

I have no idea how I first found you but it must have been through a link from another blog. I'm not babylost. I did come close to it, though, and maybe that's why I'm
here, at least partly.

Maddy was born just two days after my own daughter and we made it home from the NICU on the very same day you lost your sweet daughter. I saw this parallel life unfolding in front of me and I couldn't look away. But I assure you that I wasn't gawking. I can't adequately explain what I feel when I read your entries. The word kinship isn't quite right, because while I may have come close to that horrible loss, I wasn't swallowed by it. I know there is this gigantic gulf between us. I know that I _don't know_ even a little bit of what it is like to be you. But I sort things out, existentially, whenever I come visit. I hope you don't mind.

You're a fantastic writer and your daughter was beautiful and you seem like a great mom,
and just like the kind of mom-friend I wish I had in real life.

I'm one of those weirdoes who thinks it all comes down to luck, even though my own child was saved. There's no bloody reason for any of it and even though I'm grateful, massively grateful, I don't feel somehow "blessed" or "spared" or touched by some spirit-hand. I just got lucky.

I'm so sorry the shit got slung in your direction 19 months ago.

PS: The inital anonymous commenter from your last post is... I don't know. Does she even have children? Can she not imagine what it would be like were she to have lost one of them? What prompted her to write what she did is beyond me.

Tiff

Beruriah said...

Well put, Tash. Eloquent as usual.

Funny how she suspected she'd get a flood of "hate mail," if she left her name. Shouldn't that have been a hint she was doing a mean and socially inappropriate thing? And apparently she's experienced at it, anticipating the response at all. I for one am glad she remained anon, because then I can imagine they are all the same person, rather than a multitude of assholes.

niobe said...

Y'know, long, long before I lost the twins, I used to read (though never commented on) many, many blogs of women who'd lost babies. I felt --even then -- a kinship with them.

It didn't make sense to me then, and I'm not sure that it even makes sense to me now.

Hennifer said...

I just wanted to say thanks for this post. I did stumble into the babylost world through researching and trying to resolve my own pregnancies, or more accurately my births (unplanned csections)

I've stayed because I could relate to the pain. Not the circumstances but the human commonality of emotional pain, raw, ugly and beautiful.

I view all of you as just super people. I see your story before and after these tragedies and I learn something new daily.

And in the way of the universe I have since been able to put some of what you all have taught me to practical use with a friend's miscarriage, another friend's loss of an 8 week old baby cousin, and even with my own children as I explain my own grief through divorce and annversaries of the passing of my grandfather and 2 uncles all gone way too soon.

I thank you! All of you! And I love this community you have built and share with the rest of us

noswimmers said...

Beautifully said.

Tash said...

Henry's Mom, Gillian, & Tiff: thank you for delurking, and really, thank you for reading and abiding. I'm actually quite humbled to know you follow along, especially given your experiences, and take something away. To be honest, if the situation were reversed, I'm not sure I'd have the strength or interest to read blogs such as this. And now I read a lot out of my frame of reference.

To the rest of the non-babyloss mamas who read along -- thank you too, you know who you are, and you know I welcome your presence here, always. You're not the gapers of which I speak.

Topcat said...

Dear Tash,

After reading that post, I feel like I am allowed to comment. I've been reading you for a while, your magnificent, beautiful, haunting writing. I promise I'm not gawking. I have been through quite a lot in my life, yet I could never even imagine what it must be like to have a child die.

I read a lot of babylost blogs - I read a lot of blogs in general. I'm inquisitive and curious about the world - about how people get through things. I'm a contributor for Bridges too, in the addiction category. (Recovering alcoholic and heroin addict.)

My own blog documented my IVF journey, until my husband got diagnosed with cancer a few days before the baby was born. Wasn't that a shit sandwich on a plate. Bon Appetit.

Thank you for sharing yourself so much. I'm a richer person for reading what you have been through.

xo

Which Box said...

I wonder a lot about what brings people to some blogs, or to some topics. Last year I got into the international adoption (reforming international adoption after horror stories) blog world. Really interesting. And then I wonder what brings - and keeps - readers. Is it just a connection to the writing? Identifying with the emotions/reactions of the writer? I don't know, but I do know there are places I read and places I think I "should" read and just can't get into.

I've never had the drive by anonymous comment. I'm surprised. But I do keep a lower profile.

Missing said...

You are so refreshingly wise m'dear.

Two Hands said...

I'm here for a few reasons. One of which is that I'm going to be a midwife some day. Far from the idyllic belief that every pregnancy ends in a baby, I know that tragedies happen and happen often enough that I will probably find myself in the midst of one where I will have to do something to help. It is my hope that reading these stories will help me to gain a sense of empathy and will teach me how best to be of service to parents who have suffered such a horrifying loss. That being said, after reading some of these blogs, yours included, for long enough, I have begun to care about you. I want to know how you are doing and if there's something I can do for you, I want to know that too. I've done some soul searching and I can honestly say I'm not here to gawk, what I read sometimes breaks my heart, what I'm here for is to learn, care and help if I can.

CLC said...

I just want to clarify what I meant in my earlier comment. I inadvertently labeled everyone who hasn't had a loss as a gawker. I know this is not true because I have regular commenters that have not experienced this particular type of loss. That being said, they generally have other things they are going through and dealing with, so it seems we have found a mutual compassion for each other. What I don't like are the people like your ass-anon from the last post who seems to have no idea about suffering but feels free to criticize others. It's a little hard to take criticism on grieving from people who haven't walked in your shoes. I have had the drive by ass-anon comments as well, and I think they are just sad people getting off on trying to make other people feel worse. And it seems pretty obvious to me who is just gawking and who has genuine compassion for other people. That ass-anon was a gawker and I can only wonder what sort of crazy is going on in her head to get off on this.

Alice said...

All I can say is that I love reading your blog and I've found it really helpful - and some others like it.

With love,

Alice

Allison said...

As a student, friend, and a nurse-in-training, I read your blog as well as others from various people with many differing experiences. Working in an ICU and going through clinicals in different nursing units, I've seen nurses respond very poorly to many situations, and I don't want to be one of them. Don't get me wrong, I don't plan on being one of those people who say "This works. I read about it." But I would like to be the nurse who is able to say, "I don't know what you're experiencing, but if you'd like, I can help point you towards others who may be able to help/relate/understand." I want to be able to make a difference, which sounds so incredibly lame, I know. But through the words of you, and others who have experiences different from my own, I have learned how better to approach those dealing with loss and illness and hurt. I worry that others are offended by my "intrusion" into a world that isn't mine, but at this point, I think that this is the only way I can get a better grasp.

Lindsay said...

Tash I have often asked myself why I feel compelled to read your blog, seeing as I am not one of you insanely strong and courageous women. For awhile I stopped reading...and today I checked you again and read this post.

Why did I come back to read? Because yesterday I received the devestating news that my cousin, 7.5 mo pregnant, lost her daughter. She died in utero and my cousin was induced and delivered a still baby. Hearing that something like this has happened to someone I know, someone who's pregnant belly I saw and felt, has shaken me to the core.

But...I feel just a tad bit more equipt to know what to say, or rather, what not to say. And to anticipate what she might be going through in the days, weeks, years to come--the rest of her life.

Thanks for little bit of insight.

Tash said...

Lindsay, I'm so, so sorry. Thinking of her and you and your entire family.

Anonymous said...

I read & follow but have not experienced. I need to know what to do, how to help, how to comfort. I want to understand better, I want to share the pain and burden, I want to lend support. We both share something in common, we love our children TO THE FULLEST, your words from your experiences are a testament.

Also it makes me grateful for what I've not lost.