Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Train Wreck

So I should be going to bed, but I can't.  I have been needing to write this post since I lived in Michigan.  Which was a long time ago, if you didn't know.  

Somebody asked me why I got pregnant the first time if I knew (in the back of my mind I knew) that there was something wrong.  I was bothered by this person's insensitivity, but I didn't have anything to say then.  I have something to say now.

The answer is. . . You don't get on a wrecking train.  You get on the train and then it wrecks. You couldn't have known in advance it was going to wreck, and you couldn't have stopped the carnage.  It just is.  It's a train wreck.  And it's just as horrible.

The strange part is after the wreck the emotion you feel most acutely isn't sorrow or loss, it is loneliness.  You feel horribly, horribly alone.  I didn't have a way to tell someone how it feels.  It is this emotion that you can't quite put your finger on.  You know you have felt this way before, but it hurts so bad you forgot the circumstances, and failed to remember the name for this emotion.  Then I read it in a book: it feels like you got kicked out of the club.  It does.  That's EXACTLY how it feels.

I imagine it like this: getting married is like going to college.  Now that you're at college  you want to join a sorority.  You want to join that sorority with all the cute little mommies and all the cute little kids.  You want to join that madhouse, so willingly  (or not, in some cases) you pledge to get into the sorority.  You do all the required stuff: all the doctor's visits, all the books, the healthy eating, the vitamins, the puking at 3 am, the pain.  You do it all, because you know that at the end of it all you will be in!  You will have survived.  There you are: poised to enter your sorority and the leader comes out and tells you (in front of the whole sorority, all the pledges, and EVERYONE ELSE IN THE TRI-STATE AREA) that you are no longer even a pledge for this sorority.  Good-Bye!
You feel empty and abandoned and unwanted.   You slowly step backwards away from this place you were so sure you wanted to be a part of.  You know you just got kicked out.  You think you might someday want to come back here, but you don't know if you will ever be able.  You stagger backwards and without realizing it find yourself across the street on the doorstep of another sorority.  Their door is open.  Their door is always open.  
When you turn around you realize that someone you know is standing in the doorway.  For everyone that someone is different, and I have stood there more than once to welcome someone to the group.  
Once you come inside you find that you know many people there.  The longer you stay, the more people you meet, that you already know.  Everyone is waiting with open arms to welcome you.  See, we all got here the same way: rejected by the other sorority.  We all know about loss, we all know what it feels like to have your life changed in an instant.  We all know about what ifs and coulds and woulds and shoulds.  We all came unwillingly, and almost unwittingly.  And though most of us have successfully pledged at the sorority across the street, it is our sisterhood here that we cherish more.  This doesn't mean that the sorority of moms across the way is less, but just maybe they are missing out on the best sisterhood of all, the one that binds mothers who've lost children together no matter who they are.

So, go ahead, get on that train.  Just know that if it wrecks, I will be at the door to greet you with open arms.


Brumbaugh Family said...

Wow!! Alex you did a great job explaining something for many who are left with knowing something isn't right but haven't figured out how to define loneliness. I know you have helped others when their train has wrecked.

Jenny said...

That's how I felt when I miscarried. Even though I already had (two!) children, it still felt like being kicked out of the club. People kept asking me why I wasn't having another child yet...I wanted to scream at them that I was trying my hardest to have one! All the sudden I wasn't good enough because I wasn't following other people's schedule for childbearing.

It took me so long to conceive, and then I miscarried, and then took a long time to conceive again, that I wondered if I had secondary infertility. And now, I've been told that, for medical reasons, I shouldn't have any more children. I might have been done anyway, but it would have felt better if that had been my choice, not a choice made for me.

Alison-My Little Stitching Corner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alison-My Little Stitching Corner said...

I don't know what the circumstances are for you. I have a son who has severe disabilities and will likely not live to be an explained how I so often feel. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for time the time and energy to write about such a difficult subject. You explained the confused mix of feelings well. I am grateful that you were there to welcome me into the sorority when we lost Connor.