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? ; )