Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Calgon, take me away....

It was supposed to be a business meeting -- a daily "huddle," with each team member updating the others on their projects and their expectations for the day ahead.

It turned into a prolonged discussion about the team leader's due-any-day-now granddaughter -- she excitedly sharing the details, the baby's name, what the expectant mom (her daughter) has packed in her suitcase for the hospital, what the latest ultrasound photos look like, how she plans to take off on vacation the moment she gets the phone call, and not return for several weeks -- the rest of the team (all women -- two of them also mothers, three of them young single women with stars in their eyes) chattering excitedly, giggling and throwing in frequent sighs of "Awwwww!!" And all of it taking place in the cubicle directly across the aisle from mine.

On & on it went. I could literally feel myself slumping, physically, mentally, emotionally, behind the wall of my cubicle. With every giggle and every chorus of "Awwwwww....!!" I felt more & more suffocated, their words & excitement weighing me down. At the same time, I started feeling jittery, my skin crawling, a nervous tic surfacing. A voice inside my head started whispering, then shouting, "I've gotta get out of here... gotta get out... gotta get out gotta get out GOTTA GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT..."

And so I did the only thing any self-respecting bereaved mother of a stillborn would do in such a situation. I got the heck out of Dodge. ; ) It was a little earlier than usual for my coffee/tea break, but I took it anyway (& made it an extra long one... lingering over the magazines at the newsstand downstairs, doing some banking at the ABM, etc.). The relief I felt as I fled down the hallway, voices fading behind me, was palpable.

This wasn't the first time (or even the second) that I've had to endure a similar scenario, or remove myself from the scene. Of course, my coworker has every right to be excited. No doubt if it were me, I'd be acting exactly the same way.

But it never WILL be me -- and knowing what I know about how some pregnancies (far more than most people think) end, I find it difficult to get too excited about ANYONE's pregnancy these days. There is always more than a little fear & apprehension until the baby arrives & I know that both he or she & the mom are all right. They may not be too worried whether anything bad will happen. They don't have to -- I'm doing it for them.

I'm not quite sure why I reacted the way I did today... it's not an "anniversary" date or anything like that. I have endured previous such sessions with only perhaps an eye roll behind my cubicle wall. I think it's a cumulative sort of thing, too. I might be able to endure five minutes of such conversation -- but at the 7 minute point, it becomes too much, you know? As I wrote in a post last year, about the Academy Awards ceremony:

I often find that, when it comes to enduring all things pregnancy and baby and mommy-related -- at baby showers & family events, at work, on TV, in the movies, online, on the magzine covers -- I can take it & take it & take it -- but then, slowly, gradually, the steady, constant, never-ending drip-drip-drip begins to erode my sense of self and security -- the relentless talk, everywhere, about babies and pregnancy and children and baby bumps, all reminding me of the reverence (well, the lip service, anyway) paid to motherhood in this culture -- and that I am not a part of it, never WILL be part of it -- & then suddenly, I reach the tipping point, & I've had enough, & I just want to go home, or turn off the TV set and go to bed, and sulk for awhile. And vent about it in my blog. ; )

I know I'm not the only person who feels this way. But please, humour me; go ahead & tell me that I'm not anyway, won't you? ; )


  1. My co-worker will become a 1st time grandma in May. I see the excitement building in her. Being a step-grandma just reminds me that I'll never be a real grandma with all the glory.

  2. You are most certainly not alone. Though I have been incredibly blessed to welcome two living children in to the world since Hope died, I still get uneasy hearing these conversations and when I'm reluctantly caught up in one, I still feel like a huge outsider. Like you say, we know too much. Far too much.
    Remembering Katie.

  3. Not alone. Never alone. Some of us that have living children sometimes still feel that sense, that "gotta get out of here before I say something we will all regret". You're right, it erodes the senses over time.

  4. You're not alone. I have a living child and I still can't be apart of pregnancy conversations. I get way to nervous, for that person, for their child. I just can't do it.

    I can't even imagine how hard it is for you. I'm so sorry. :(

  5. No, you're not alone. I have to go to a baby shower on Sunday, for someone who I've avoided since August because she is so damn smug about being pregnant - and got pregnant accidentally while on the pill - but I can't avoid it now, so I'll have to suck it up and go. She's the type that just can't see anything going wrong.

    Coupled with the fact that my husband's grandma has just died without ever knowing our kids (should we be lucky enough to have any), and meh. Feeling you.

  6. Another morning, another pregnancy report underway... good grief... I haven't even finished the tea I picked up en route in to the office, but I think it's time for another one... :p

  7. Of course you're not alone.

    I can talk about pregnancies, but I'm watchful. I observe reactions of people around me. I notice when a passerby looks at I & N and quickly looks away (this happens less frequently as the girls get older and rowdier).

    I always remember that you were one of very few readers to say that you had been worried when I didn't post an update soon after the girls' birth and when my friend posted to say that I had had preeclampsia.

    When I know a friend or relative is in labor, I worry all day long. I think I know one person who has had an easy conception plus easy pregnancy plus perfect delivery plus perfectly healthy baby with all of her children. Everyone else has had some difficulty, anxiety, or loss.

    Question: Can you spike tea? LOL. I'm not a tea drinker, so I ask for information, not to offer advice. ; )

  8. You're not alone. One of my coworkers is pregnant with her 6th. She seems to be really good at being pregnant, and even though I like her a lot, it's hard for me to look at her some days. I am so lucky to have Dot, but I am afraid for my coworker and kind of (okay, really, really) jealous of her at the same time.

    I'm glad you had an escape route.

  9. Lori,

    I've endured this many times in my work life. I even wrote a blog post a few months ago about being stuck in a staff meeting fighting tears, and the "get out, get out" flight response while a co-worker anounced his "oops" pregnancy (they're in their forties). The jokes and congratulations went on for several minutes, but I was stuck in a situation where I couldn't flee.

    I know what you mean about TV and movies too. A couple of weeks ago a commercial...a simple commercial sent me over the edge in rage. I can't even remember the product, but at the beginning the young woman says, "I think I want a baby". She says it like she's standing in line at a fast food restaurant and like all she has to do is request it, and it will come. Anyway, all that to say I know how you feel all of this.

    Vicki @ www.awomanwithoutchildren.wordpress.com

  10. No, you're not alone. This would have annoyed me even before infertility. It is completely unprofessional, and I wouldn't be surprised if one of the young women also wants to roll her eyes but can't because she feels the pressure to conform.

    The most annoying parent I worked with was a guy - who raved on and on about his new granddaughter, with photos pinned all over his cubicle. After I had listened politely a few times and made th appropriate noises, I said "oh, I get it. you're going to be one of those grandparents that everyone starts avoiding in case they get another doting update." It might have been mean ( I laughed as I said it so hope that took some of the sting out of it), but it worked.

  11. You are so right about the cumulative effect. I can take a lot more than I used to, but I still eventually reach my limit and have to either escape or zone out and ignore the comments and joy.

  12. I recognize the "I've gotta get out of here... gotta get out... gotta get out gotta get out GOTTA GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT..." mantra! Sometimes the scale just tips, and it is time to go!

  13. You are not the only person who feels that way. I can only take so much, then I just have to escape.

  14. No, not alone. Not even close.

    Even though I have Skeeter, pregnant announcements and celebrations make me uneasy. Partly because I know two pink lines doesn't end in a baby and partly because I never got to experience the unabridled joy of being pregnant.

    IF scars run deep.

  15. Of course you're not alone in this...my experiences do not come close to yours, as I've never lost a child, but there are still days when I have the gotta-get-out-get-out-get-out reaction, too.

    Most recently it's been due to a friend/coworker's baby born in October. She's relatively new - I am closer to her than most - so I was giving updates on her and the baby when people asked.

    I also have a boss who is desperate to become a grandmother. And every time she talks about bugging her kids about it, all I can think is, "How do you know they're not trying???"

    Thinking of you, and hoping you have some easier days ahead.

    Oh, and, PS - Vicki - I have seen that commercial. It's a car commercial. It makes me want to scream - you described how she states it *perfectly*.

  16. Yes, cumulitive drip drip -that happened to me today and last week. In just four days three different co-workers asked when am I having a baby? Im 36 and childless but married two years. At lunch two tiny cute babies at the soup place. Then after avoiding the womens gyno doc for about 2 years, they have Pregnancy magazine at the sign in booth and baby pics all over the docs office walls. The more I try to avoid the baby chats and sightings the more I see it. Thank goodness for my therapist and God.
    Newly Blue

  17. You'll be interested in this I think