Alumnae Magazine

Back in July I received an email from my class rep from my alumni magazine. At the end of each magazine, there are class notes, where people write in and tell a tidbit about themselves. It’s organized by year and every month it’s the first section I turn to, to see if I recognize any names. I’ve never written in myself. I weird felt- like I had one chance to do so, because otherwise who wants to be reading the same names over and over. The paragraphs are filled with my overachieving classmates and their marriages, their children, their lawyer or doctor jobs, their start ups, their amazing trips around the world. In the midsts of all the humble brags I love finding morsels about people doing less typical things. I am mostly annoyed by what I read, yet still am drawn to it.

This summer an email appeared in my inbox aimed at those of us who lived in our freshman dorm. It was a smart tactic- I certainly gave it more thought since I was asked rather than just volunteering info.

What are you up to these days?  Whatever you want to share is welcome. Although family and work news is always great, I (and your fellow ’02ers) would also enjoy hearing about hobbies, travel, get-togethers with other ’02ers, and commentary on 30-something life. It doesn’t have to be written in third-person or otherwise edited/print-ready either; that will be done by me and a series of copy editors following me, so feel free to hit reply and send me a quick note!

When I first read it, I thought “Hah! Family and work is what 30-something life is often about!” It is for me, at least. The request came at just the right time. I spoke to Chris and he was supportive so I replied:

I am currently living in Connecticut and working in the New Haven area as a nurse-midwife.  This year my husband and I welcomed our first child, Mabel. We knew she would be born sick, but we remained hopeful.  She lived for six precious hours after birth.  Lately I spend my free time blogging about my grief in hopes of advocating for others who have also experienced baby loss and hoping to increase awareness for bereaved parents.  

My class rep responded so appropriately with the right kind of “I’m so sorry” and asking if my blog was public so she could read it.   She said they don’t usually publish websites, but she’ll see if the editors would in this case.

So this month I opened up my magazine and found my name in bold among the wedding and baby announcements of my doctor and lawyer classmates. I was four months younger in my grief when I wrote it, just starting to feel the desire to speak up- really speak up- about my grief. I was nervous, thinking I’d be perceived as a Debbie downer or attention seeker. At the same time, I was angry at the injustice of the social pressure I felt to not share about the birth of my daughter which was followed quickly by her death. I had the same right to share baby with my classmates too! So now, with many months of speaking up under my belt, I’m so glad I to took the risk.

Have you taken any risks that paid off? Any that didn’t?

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11 thoughts on “Alumnae Magazine

  1. I recognize myself in that period of just starting to speak more openly about grief and wanting to use all opportunities to do so. I responded to an author’s call to parents to tell her one of their “first times” as parents and told of my first mother’s day as a grieving mother. Very liberating…
    Good job on telling your story to your classmates! (i avoided my high school reunion this year, i couldn’t handle seeing anyone’s humble bragging…)

    • fascinating choice on the first time as a parent. makes me wonder which I would choose. first mothers day as a grieving mother is a great one. first time someone congratulated me on my dead baby? first time I said my daughter died? first time I said it without crying? first time I held a baby since my own died? first major holiday? so many firsts!

      ps would love it read it!

      • I’m not sure i would chose “first mothers day” if i had to do it a second time. But it seemed like something that many mothers/parents could relate to since it’s so ubiquitous (and i wrote in right after mothers day…)

        It was only a few sentences and in french but i explained how i never thought that much about mothers day, and it wasn’t something i was particularly looking forward to, but of course, now that i lived it from the point of view of a childless mother, it had taken on new meanings…

        Eventually, i want to read the book that the author was collecting first time stories for, but i’m not ready yet.

  2. Meghan,
    Thank you for sharing the story of your sweet, perfect Mabel. Your love for your little girl and the honesty with which you shared her story are a treasure to all.
    As I was reading your posting in the alumni magazine, my heart broke for your loss. I am a genetic counselor and have walked with families facing unexpected diagnoses. Your blog will be a lifeline for many people walking a similar path.
    Much love,
    Catherine Tipps Vendola

    • Thank you Cat! I have a special place in my heart for genetic counselors- mine came to Mabel’s wake. I was so touched- hadnt seen or talked to her much since we adjusted to the Down Syndrome diagnosis, and then she showed up at the funeral home. It was so so touching to know that she thought about us and followed what happened. Genetic counselors do good work.

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