“I fell off the cloud…”

After reading Jasmine’s post  that ended with the strong set of words I’ve used to title my post, I was inspired to reflect on when I felt the same.  Today I share my most recent time.

She approached the table with recognition in her eyes. “You delivered my baby!” she announced with a smile. The words could have been directed at any of us, three midwife friends out for the night. The comment has always struck both joy and panic in me. It feels wonderful to be recognized as being part of someone’s most intimate moment. I had another midwife friend once say “The next best thing to being someone’s mother, is being a midwife.” There is a little panic in the comment because I don’t always remember my patients outside the delivery room. We have a busy practice- I deliver probably around 75 babies per year- plus I’m in labor with numerous other women who go to c-section or get delivered by the midwife after me, so I don’t always immediately register the face of someone I delivered.

This time the comment was not directed at me. She faced one of my friends and they caught up a bit. She looked at her midwife and said, “Would you like to see a picture?” There was pride and hope in that voice. Her midwife eagerly acquiesced as the mom flipped through cell phone photos and gleefully showed off her child.

I had been enjoying such a nice evening- spending time with two of my favorite people. There is something special about midwives, and I say that as a friend of them not as one of them. They are not afraid to talk about difficult things; they delve deeply into my emotions. We can talk about both vaginas and good wine in the same sentence and it’s not weird. In that same way I can talk of Mabel and my day at the beach in the same sentence and it’s not weird. Spending more time, growing closer with these two friends of mine has been a secondary gain in the aftermath of losing Mabel.

So when this woman introduced her baby into the conversation, I fell off the cloud.

My breath caught and my heart sank. I felt that familiar pit in my stomach fill with lumps of sadness and jealousy. I had witnessed many acts of parenting that day, but for some reason this one got to me. My own pride in my child will always be tinged with sadness. I will have no future pictures of Mabel. I will never get that chance years down the road to pull out my phone and show her off in that way. It made me sad.

The night was wrapping up anyways, so we paid our bill and said our goodbyes, but it was too late. I had already fallen off the cloud.

When have you fallen off the cloud?

Do you have any secondary gains?


10 thoughts on ““I fell off the cloud…”

  1. Ah, secondary gain! I went on such a spiel about some of the losses, so I should try to say something good here, too 🙂 My biggest secondary gain has been the ability to re-work my own sense of identity, in the face of so insurmountable challenges to the identities I’d worked to establish and the roles I’d worked to fill. I’ve been able to re-locate my value as a human being and a living creature, outside of whatever role I’m fulfilling from day-to-day, and learn that the essence if my value has little to do with whatever activities I pursue… While I’d still say that my self-esteem has taken a big hit, I’ve grown enormously in self-respect and in learning that I’m allowed to have boundaries and stand up for them, and I’m allowed to be vulnerable and ask for that to be respected. I’ve absolutely become a more complete human, and more conscious of my humanity… I think a lot of that same growth would probably have eventually occurred in motherhood even if Sacha had lived, but probably only after many years of overworked angst and career-related guilt. I’m having a mid-life identity crisis early, I suppose, and it’s a long, painful but ultimately positive transformative experience!

    • I too have felt the gain of of allowing myself to have boundaries and allowing myself to be vulnerable too. these are important gains and an important part of my progress. I knew this, but you verbalized it so well!

  2. Thank you for the pin back! I experienced the same moment, when others showing off their babies or someone’s child goes to a top school. Those moments I would never experience. It hurts to think about it. I am still in the middle of transformation, I guess. The secondary gain will be in the making, years down the road. I hope to get there! I hope you will too!

  3. In terms of secondary gains, I have been surprised by a couple of people who have been incredibly supportive (consistently) in the aftermath of Zachary’s death. Both are people I would not have characterized as close friends, before Zachary died. I cannot say how much I appreciate their friendship now. Of course, I’d do anything to rather have my Zachary back.

    I’m sorry about your night out experience. The pure joy of others (re: their new babies) can suck the wind out of any attempt to feel okay.

    • Yes, those surprise friends have been wonderful to me too. And the new babyloss ones have been incredible. I’m the same way- would trade it all for my Mabel. and thats what makes these friends so especially wonderful- they understand that too.

      the kicker about seeing this woman show off her photos- they were years old. I didnt look at them, but from the gist of conversation, the kid was at least four, i think. The joy, of course, was still there for her. And childbirth had changed her- changed her whole path in life (as I gleaned from the conversation). It has changed me. Changed my whole path too.

  4. i fell of Cloud when i saw a mom holding hands with her 18 months twin boys. She had one boy on her first two fingers and one on the other fingers, both on the same hand. It made me realise that i would never get the chance to find my own way to handle my twins, they are gone.

  5. I felt the same punch in the gut for you reading that as I did reading Jasmine’s post. Those moments happen all the time – realising those simple things so many parents take for granted will never be shared with Hugo. In terms of secondary gains, I’ve discovered people’s true colours (for good and for bad), and discovered the depth of my strength and passion, too. x

    • right? I was blown away by reading her post. because of such simple moments that happen all the time- from an outsider, they may seem like nothing, but to us, they are all the world!

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