My anger

I’m angry. My therapist seems to think so and I can’t disagree.

I see you lady, the one with the baby stroller. It’s the hippest kind- the one that looks almost space-aged, lightweight and modern. It’s the type that celebrities push their newborns around in, appearing on the pages on People and US Weekly and so I know it cost a pretty penny. I shouldn’t be surprised because we are in a swanky shopping plaza in a well-to-do town. I’m with my husband, joining him at a burger place near his work. You are with a friend, likely meeting up for a rare outing out of the house. I see your proud smile, the one that tells me you know others are looking at you and your stroller, thinking “oh look! A new baby!” You smile as if having a live baby is some sort of accomplishment. Well, guess what? Try having a dead baby. Now that’s something to be proud of.

(I know, I know.  Maybe she did have a dead baby and this is her first live one. In which case, she should be proud. Or maybe she struggled with years of infertility. Or maybe her baby has a severe heart defect and will need surgery. Or maybe she just made a perfect healthy baby.)

I see you too, small SUV. You’re driving in front of me with one of those yellow placards in the window. “Baby on Board” it reads, screaming at all the other cars around, admonishing them to drive more safely and be more careful because there is a baby in that car. How long do you get to keep that yellow sign up? You and your oversized stature were purchased so that there’d be more room for a baby and all the accouterment that comes in tow. Heaven forbid the owners stick to a simple sedan for the diaper bag, the space-aged stroller and the portable breast pump. The type of car already announced that motherhood was inside, why must you rub it in my face with the yellow sign as well? I hate you car and I hate you placard.

(I know, I know.  People can drive what they want and perhaps the sign was a gift, needing to be displayed so the giver felt satisfied. Maybe the SUV is needed for the three kids they have, or to deliver groceries to soup kitchens, or to tote the special needs stroller which is bigger and bulkier. Or maybe it’s all part of what a new mom had been excitedly waiting to do- drive a “mom” car with a baby on board placard.)

I heard about you, woman I know who just had her third baby. I didn’t know you were even pregnant, because our worlds haven’t crossed since the death of my daughter. But I know now, having heard the news from a friend who saw it on her facebook feed. And congrats to you for doing something I could not… produce a baby that would live… three times over. I know you are just one of many who have more than one baby- I see them every day in my workplace. And I know I have no idea whether it was planned, whether it was difficult or whether you have had any struggles. But congrats to you, for making it look so darn easy to pop out a baby who breathes. Congrats.

(I know, I know.  Maybe this pregnancy was physically and emotionally difficult. Maybe her husband left her. Maybe the baby has Down Syndrome. Maybe she struggled for years with infertility. Maybe she doesn’t know how she is going to balance three kids with a demanding job. Or maybe she is simply thrilled that her family is now complete.)

My anger is unfair, I know. But life is unfair, so I get to be angry.

 

Are you angry?  What are you angry about?  What gets you angry?

 

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23 thoughts on “My anger

  1. Oh, oh, oh. I’ve been trying to write my own post about anger, but it always seems to get really unhealthy, and I can’t finish it. I’m always worried it’ll hurt someone’s feelings (and then I get angry about that). It’s so hard to talk about what I’m angry about because I’m angry about so many things, but let’s see. Almost all my friends who are mothers that can’t seem to understand why I wouldn’t sympathize with or even want to discuss their vaccine questioning, stroller debating, baby-led weaning decision, work/life balance, etc. I’m sure one day I’ll worry about that, but not right now. Anyone who thinks a family is created simply by having sex and then a baby makes me angry (there’s many reasons that formula doesn’t apply for many people). Truly, most basically, I’m angry that Owen is dead, that other babies are alive (not that I wish them dead!), and that I can’t have more babies easily without facing some truly terrible decisions that are way too politicized and people have way too many about about with way too little experience.

    Anyway, yes. So much anger. Me too.

  2. Oh Meghan. I am so angry too.

    I am angry that we lost Zachary, who was otherwise completely healthy during his first week of life, to E.Coli – an infection that was passed along by a healthcare worker in the NICU. It breaks me in half everyday, this reality.

    I am angry that Zachary could have been saved, if the neonatologist would have taken my concerns about his tachycardia, his moaning and awake state, seriously, the day before he was diagnosed. They made me feel like I was over-reacting, that Zachary was strong and would be fine. I cannot express how angry that makes me because my baby suffered tremendously because of their unwillingness to be precautionary and run tests. And of course, he lost his life, and we, our future, because of that decision.

    I am angry that Zachary died, after we ALREADY LOST OUR FIRSTBORN (B.W.) to stillbirth. We already had a life sentence of grief, and were doing well to cope 7 and 1/2 years on…, then Zachary dies. It is still truly unfathomable. My anger is compounded because of the sheer volume of loss in our family.

    I am angry at just about everyone who crosses my path. People who easily do things. Not just pop out babies, flaunting their stories and all the accoutrements. People who easily go to the store and make small talk. People who seems to care so deeply about the most meaningless shit. People who ignore my grief, ignore Zachary’s existence…, because you know, it’s been a while. People who work out at the place I cannot return to, even though I was passionate about the workout, because the teacher had her daughter at the same time Zachary was born. (Imagine the before and after class talk of the patrons with the instructor, not to mention the fact that her daughter would be in the day care there).

    I have just about taken over your blog post here, so I apologize. You can see, my anger is pretty consuming. I can see why you added those points, in parentheses above, to counter your angry thoughts…, but they are so unnecessary here. Even if all those points of suffering (for others) are true, it does not make it hurt less for you. And I get that.

    • yes, yes on so many levels! (i love reading lengthly comments. so dont ever hold back!) I had to smile a little at the gym thing- I too have an instructor I can not go back to because she was due around the time I was. I love her gym, but her face reminds me of what I’ve lost (that and the newborn photos she posted around the gym for a month after- totally understandable. so many people wanted to know and see. so many people, but me)I’m with you on that! SImple little losses, we have. but they are over and over, so they add up.

      and thank you for those last words, especially. I add the parentheses for a reason. I had a conversation with a friend once, one who is quite understanding, and I was venting- you know how we can get, hating everything, being mad at people when its not even their fault- and she called me out on one thing, i cant even remember what it was about- she said, sweetly “but is that fair…?” I was both angry and ashamed. Ashamed for thinking something unreasonable and anger for her not understanding. but then again, how could she? so thank you, for understanding and affirming. life is f’ing unfair.

  3. Did you read Courage.Trust.Love from Painting the House Pink? (I linked to it on my blog). You are not alone in your anger! I hate my anger, but it’s there, in all those scenarios you mention. I think that I refer to it more often as jealousy, but really, how different are those feelings, anyway? I think you deserve to be angry. An awful thing happened. Mabel died. You deserve to be angry about that! I just wish there was something or someone to direct my anger AT, you know? Like you, I know those other moms don’t “deserve” my anger, but we have no outlet for it, so it’s hard…

    • yes, I did. i read it when you first linked and read it again yesterday (and finally commented). yes, so good. so true. and my anger and jealousy are so intertwined, i’m not always sure what is what! I wish there was a better outlet too- I’m mad at what? my egg that gave the wrong number of chromosomes? at medicine for not being able to fix my baby’s kidneys and lungs? at the world for letting babies die? ugh, for now, I settle on being mad at those who dont deserve it.

  4. Pingback: Grief made me a Bitch | Painting The House Pink

  5. Oh dear. I’m sorry. But I laughed. “Try having a dead baby. Now that’s something to be proud of!” Spot on!!

    My anger took a bit of a different path. Grief made me a complete bitch.
    I found a reason, for nearly ever single mother and baby I passed, as to why I deserved my baby more than they did.
    It was judgy and unfair, but it made me feel better. I think. It went away eventually. But for a looonnnggg time, I kinda wanted to kidnap every baby i saw, just to prove that I would be a better mother.

    Thanks for the inspiration, here’s my angry post:

    http://paintingthehousepink.wordpress.com

  6. I have terror mixed with anger. I’m SO scared that awful things are going to happen to other people. But then if they don’t, instead of being relieved, I’m furious. I’m jealous when people are able to receive appropriate medical treatment. I’m jealous when patients and families (even older adults!) are able to benefit from legit end-of-life discussions, decision making and hospice care. Not in the case of my own patients — if I can do something right and well, that makes me feel great. But when other doctors help other patients in ways I would have liked to be helped… Ugh, so angry. And also, when they aren’t as concerned as I might be (especially when there’s an assumption that poorly understood symptoms have a psychological origin)… So angry, even though I know their judgement is likely sound. AND when others preach prevention as though it’s the only thing that matters and no one with healthy diet/exercise will face serious health probs… Gaaaah

    • (I’m still in a bit of denial that other people have living babies. I’m sure I’ll be angry about that once I get there, but right now denial is getting me through the day!)

    • wow, yes! a whole different venue for anger! “But when other doctors help other patients in ways I would have liked to be helped” its like when I hear that someone had a baby with a similar condition as mine (hah! like they would ever have the same one, right?) and their baby lived. I dont wan their baby to have a different outcome, i’m just angry mine did not.

  7. I was so angry it was frightening, I had no control, and bursts of rage spilled out of me with no regard for who, what or where. I’m 14 years past Nicholas’ death and I feel all of everything I felt in the beginning but I have control, and I have an understanding that I’ve come to of my own creating and building, and inside that I’ve found some peace. You sweet mommas just take your time and feel what you’re feeling and know you’re not alone.

  8. You’re right to be angry. And it’s okay that you’re angry at me (or people like me, moms with living babies). Because I don’t know that I deserve the little girl who is sleeping on the other side of the wall any more than you deserve to deal with death. Life is monstrously unfair. Any therapist worth his or her salt will tell you that it’s okay to feel your feelings. Just wanted to pop in and say that I’m still here and listening.

    • Thanks Lauren! I hope I can speak for others by saying that, anyone who takes the time to read our words, gets a special place with us. I couldnt rightfully say I”m angry- jealous is probably more accurate. there’s less negative in jealous 🙂

  9. Oh Meghan! And all you lovely readers! this is so so sad. Good people, with kind hearts, and anger and bitterness … It’s not fair. I remember screaming at God, erupting, exploding, foaming, festering, brooding, and then it would start all over again when I thought I was “getting better”. Now, with my baby, I smile at strangers as I walk her in her stroller, I am proud to carry her in her baby pouch to the park, I couldn’t wait to finally put my sticker family on my car window! 4 years, with my own sorrows and heartache. My lost babies. Yet…How good of you to recognize that every mother holding her child may have a “story” too, and now may be their turn to shine. My jealousy and anger oozed out of my every pore; there was no grace in my anger. You have humbled me. Mabel has a special mum. I ache for all of you… Peace for you all today

    • Yes, I feel like if one day I am lucky enough to have another child, a live one, I’ll have that same proud look I saw on that woman’s face. I am not always so graceful- if I write it, I hope that I”ll be able to believe it. thank you for your kind words 🙂

  10. In my first year of marriage, we lost 2 babies. It was painful and devastating. Now, my second friend is about to be induced. Although my last loss was over 3 years ago, I had to hide her from my friends feed because she was so complain-y. She claimed to have suffered a loss, but she was never grateful for the fact that she gets to take home her baby. She complained about everything and I wanted to throat punch her the entire time.

    • Oh, I’m so sorry about your losses. I totally have those I-wanna-punch-you in the face moments of anger too. I have hid many many people on my fb feed too. And bite my tongue when my patients complain. Its hard when people don’t know loss, the don’t realize the things to be grateful for (even harder if they do know loss and seem to us ungrateful)

  11. I am angry, mean and bitter. It isn’t fair. I am so very full of hatred for the people with perfect lives, especially those who whine and carry on about completely trivial matters. I don’t feel bad about being this way either. As far as I’m concerned, with infertility, the death of my child, and other things I have to deal with every day (being specific would identify me so I’m being deliberately vague), I’m entitled to be a raging bitch. After all, being a “good person” never got me anywhere.

    • hah! I laughed a bit at that last line. laughed because it’s been my line when I’m in one of my grief fits “but i’m a good person!” I cry to no one or to chris, not understanding why such a bad thing happened to me, to Mabel. I do think someday I’ll be able to put away my anger and bitterness- at least I hope. I like being a good person, but I cant seem to be that now. I just dont know how not to be angry!

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