Meghan was fun

When I turned 33 I had a Cowboys & Ninjas- themed birthday party.  Every year I would have some sort of theme party to celebrate turning one year older.  Previous themes included: 80s, Bowties & Moustaches, MadHatter and Pizza & Chocolate (I know, the last one was lame; it was the year I was planning my wedding and planning a big theme party just seemed like too much that year).  Throwing a good theme party takes some skill.  You need to pick a theme that is exciting enough that good photos will be shot but easy enough that most people can find something in their closet to wear. Cowboys & NInjas seemed to meet that criteria. I try to incentivize my guests by giving out prizes, which I tend to make up on the spot.  Some are obvious- like best bowtie and some are spontaneous- like best 90s costume worn to an 80s party.

Bowties & Moustaches

Bowties & Moustaches

MadHatter Party

As the host, there’s a lot of pressure to be in good costume for the party. My first instinct for Cowboys & Ninjas was to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, but the more I heard people talking about coming, the less cowboys I thought there would be, so I scrapped my green hoodie in search for something western. Creativity struck and I ordered some men’s underwear- the tighty whitie variety- and got my red and blue markers out to decorate.  I found a tan colored tank top, a cowboy hat and boots.  I made a guitar out of cardboard.  Soon I became the Naked Cowboy.

imgres

It was a hit.  It took a lot of guts to prance around in just underwear and a tank top, but that’s the kind of person I was.  I liked being the center of attention, making people laugh.  I may or may not have made some new friends slightly uncomfortable, with my faux- near nudity.  We played the Wii, ate Ninja food (pizza, sushi, shumai) and Cowboy food (pigs in a blanket, cowboy dip) and prizes were awarded.  Best group costume (a set of four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- far better than the costume I planned) and best Denim on Denim for the cowboy.

I was so carefree at that party. That was in the “before.”  I was fun, uninhibited, guiltless in my enjoyment.  I threw parties!  Now I live in the “after.”  Small talk is harder.  Smiling doesn’t come as easily.  I don’t want to be center of attention.  The idea of running around a party in such an outfit feels wrong.  I know this is all part of the grief journey, but it’s discouraging how long it takes.  I thought I’d be in a different place by now.  I know doing the job I do has complicated my journey and I try to remind myself that, but I’m struggling to find joy in my job again.   Every now and then I see glimpses of the old me- truly enjoying her self, finding satisfaction at work.  I can remember what she was like.

I miss the old Meghan.  She was fun.

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17 thoughts on “Meghan was fun

  1. About three months after giving birth, I thought I’d be myself. Fast forward 11 months, and I finally felt myself emerge.

    The changes in those 14 months were due to more than pregnancy and postpartum realities, which were different than yours.

    Still, I longed for myself, for some feeling of me.

    You wrote last week of how/when to share personal bits with patients. This is one that I would have found very beneficial. It would have been comforting and relieving at the same time.

    Wishing you what you need in each moment.

    Peace

    • thank you for sharing Wendy- it’s reassuring to know just simply childbirth changes how we feel about ourselves and that it can take time. also helps to know other’s timelines- I may not be myself for a while (or heck, ever again) but I’m not the only one.

  2. I totally get it. After losing Hugo, I feel a sense of guilt about enjoying myself, then I feel guilty about not enjoying life that he doesn’t have. It’s all part of grief I suppose. We’ll never be the same after losing our babies, but I have been told that we will find a way through it. xxx

    • guilt is still a thing. I felt so much guilt in the early days. it has morphed. I dont feel as guilty doing social things or laughing but it’s just harder to do them than in the “before.” it’s still there.

  3. After losing our firstborn, B.W., in 2006, I found that many of the social changes in myself were actually quite permanent. Before his death, I felt secure and confident and uninhibited with new people, in social situations. After he died, I became much more of an introvert, hesitant to share and inquire – not necessarily a bad thing, but indeed it was something to mourn about the new me. I never got that part of myself back, no matter how I tried to force it.

    Now that I’m trying to adapt, once again (!), to my new, new normal, after Zachary’s death this year, I am finding that the secondary losses are there again, but layered and exacerbated beyond what I could have imagined. I am now not only mourning the loss of Zachary (on top of the loss of B.W.) but the loss of my old self, twice over.

    • oh gretchen, I follow your blog and your circumstances just blow me away. I’m not going to say how strong you are- because “strong” is the only choice you have. But I am wishing upon wishing that your good comes your way. I hoping you find some secondary gains- amazing ones. there are so many secondary losses (lately I’ve been grieving the fact that I cant easily share certain aspects of my pregnancy with my patients. that sense of validity I wanted when people asked if I had kids. silly thing to mourn, but it’s just one of the many). secondary gains are harder to talk about because there are not true benefits of your baby dying. I have had numerous friendships bloom and a new sense of compassion grow- though I’d trade them both in for my baby.

  4. So much truth in this. I tried to put this into words somewhat in my post yesterday but was never able to articulate this part really well. I missed myself, and at some point that started to override the guilt I felt about enjoying my life without Owen (with the important distinction that I’m not enjoying my new life BECAUSE it’s without Owen). It felt selfish to start doing things that made me feel like my “old self,” but it also felt comforting–like putting on a really worn-in, well-fitting pair of jeans. I honestly think that analogy is where my obsession with my pre-baby jeans comes from. I don’t really feel guilty for moving forward and having lighter times without Owen anymore, but I do still feel very heavy and old a lot of the time no matter what I do.

    It helps somewhat that I’ve always been an introvert, I think. The way I am now isn’t in stark contrast with the person I was before, my introversion is just for different reasons and quite weightier than before.

    • It’s fascinating now feeling like an introvert. I was definitely an extrovert and so now I’m riding on the other side of the line. It saddens me emotionally, but intellectually it’s also interesting (if that makes any sense).

      ANd yes, your pre baby jeans analogy is right on. There is so much more to us getting into our old clothes. I remember wearing the yoga pants and wishing I could be in my old jeans. Now I’m in them and they’re actually a little loose, which I find another interesting metaphor. I’m in the old clothes, but they dont fit right. there is something missing. they hang more. i could go on…..

  5. I feel the same way about the ‘old me.’ I miss not feeling awkward around friends. Casual friends don’t know what to do or say, so they avoid me. I actually miss drinking at weddings, because I avoid it now because I get too depressed when I drink. Sometimes I feel freer, I say what I want and don’t waste time on people I don’t like, but I’d rather still be making bland small talk, especially about my daughter.

    I usually only feel like I can be myself around other baby loss moms. Too bad we can’t all meet up somewhere, or better yet, buy a private island. That would be amazing.

    • it’s funny, I have the same sense with alcohol. I used to be a very social drinker and alcohol hits me weirdly now. I’ve actually decided to take a full month off and see how I feel. so far so good. which is a lot coming from the girl who when asked what her pregnancy cravings were, used to say “wine.” hah!

      also, it isnt an island but there totally is a meetup place. its grief camp! http://www.faithslodge.org/ a friend of mine sent it to me and I love this idea. someday…

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  7. Meghan and Michele – me too on the alcohol! One drink and I’m submerged in depression land. And I was so looking forward to trying all the craft ciders here in Chicago since I was pregnant last summer. Now, it’s not worth it. Interesting that you’re both having the same experience.

    • My full month of no alcohol lasted two weeks. Day one of arriving at family vacation and i decided I need a glass of wine. (in the old days such stress would have required many glasses, but these are different times). I will resume my teetotalling after this week- giving myself an out if I need it. One glass got me through, More than that and I would have been a puddle 🙂

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