March 26, 2009


A person in my life is newly pregnant. An intermediary called me to tell me the news so I'd hear it in person and not through the grapevine. When I realized that this girl was only as pregnant as I was -- 7 weeks -- I remarked that they were not out of the woods yet and said to pass on my congratulations and that I would continue to hope that everything goes well with the pregnancy. The intermediary said, "Well, she has been to the doctor and everything looks fine." And I, complete cynic about pregnancy that I now am, refrained from reminding this person that I too had a healthy happy 7 week old baby once, a baby that subsequently and unexpectedly died.

And it irked me, irked me that someone could be so naive about pregnancy woes while having been acquainted with me for the past few years. That someone thought that good-to-go at 7 weeks put you in the clear. That this person was so...oh crap...I am not really going to let this word pop into my head, am I?...


And all of a sudden, I grokked. I understood what she was feeling when she said that, even if I still disagree that I personally was coming off as flippant. But I also realized that it doesn't really matter, because I am sure this intermediary never would've characterized herself as flippant either.

But it's this naivete with the process, this happy-go-lucky vibe, that's hard to swallow when your own journey has been like dragging and clawing to Mordor. You want other people to have a healthy fear of pregnancy, an inkling that things can go terribly wrong very quickly; you want them to realize that bringing a child into this world, though it seems to happen easily to a great many people, is actually a miracle of engineering and timing. But people who've never suffered just don't have that perspective and never will, no matter how close they are to you or how hard you try to encumber them with your anguish.

They will sound flippant to your ears, no matter what.

What I have learned from this process, and from the whole flippant flap, is that I have to let it pass. I have to let these people be naive. Either they will learn the lesson the hard way, as I did, or they won't and life will turn out happy and jolly for them. But having me rain on their parade doesn't help any of us. It cannot make them understand the suffering that some of us go through to have children. I cannot give them wisdom they are not in a place to understand. It will only make them resent me for not letting them live their own life and learn their own lessons, as I resented her.

But I get it now, two years later. And these are the times when I am happiest as a blogger, when I can document my learning process.

And say that I finally grok.

Posted by Sarah at March 26, 2009 01:53 PM | TrackBack

Amen. *hugs*

Posted by: kannie at March 26, 2009 02:15 PM

In short, you can't make other people grok. Their understanding - or lack of it - is beyond your control. Ignorance can be bliss ... for them. Just don't let them tell you what to do.

There are things I don't want people to understand. I don't want them to go through what I have.

And there are things I don't want to understand ...

Posted by: Amritas at March 26, 2009 02:22 PM

Even those who talk about how perfect their marriage is & how they just don't understand why everyone ELSE is having issues and blah, blah, blah and the next thing you know...divorce.

Not that *I* would know anything about that. Ahem.

Posted by: Guard Wife at March 26, 2009 05:07 PM

I never truly wanted you to grok this. I just thought that I did because my pain was so raw at that time.... But I am so grateful that we were able to withstand and that we have come full circle with our friendship. So, for that, I am glad - for the reasons why? Not so much. All my love to you, Sarah! You are remarkable and I appreciate your ability to forgive.... Muah! And, of course, hugs.... And I respect your ability to refrain from telling her about being flippant....

Posted by: Allicadem at March 26, 2009 06:09 PM

Part of groking is that groking can suck...

I think true empathy, cannot be truly felt for others experience, unless you walk a similar path.

As long as it happens to others, it is their experience. Not yours.

some things in life offer a unique perspective, a perspective so painful we would not wish it on others....

I am sure people would argue...

I have been so saddened for your losses this last couple of years, but I know not of what your heart and spirit have endured...

Posted by: AWTM at March 26, 2009 06:37 PM

Grokking can indeed suck. I had my second surgery yesterday and it really hurts. We went to the surgeon for follow up today, and I shuffled out to the car and painfully positioned myself in the seat as to minimize the shifting and pain. I reflected on my earlier self, the flippant one who walked, hiked, ran, stretched, lifted weights, in short did whatever I wanted without a second thought to the miracle it is to move through life casually and easily without fear of pain. To take your health and body for granted, to be flippant with it was a blessing I enjoyed for many years. The same thing with women who sail through uncomplicated reproduction. Some of us, though, walk a different path, not one of our choosing to be sure.
I am trying to be brave (and mostly succeeding) and to walk this out with as courage and kindness. These things are hard, Sarah. While my challenge is different than yours, I share your pain and sorrow. Perhaps through that sharing, it can be a tiny bit easier on us all.

Posted by: Amy at March 26, 2009 08:56 PM

Wow girl. Just... WOW.

I love it when I can document my learning too.

I grok.

Posted by: T at March 26, 2009 08:59 PM

Well there you go, astute again as always! I feel you, only too intimately I'm afraid. Way to take the upper ground, even when the immediate instinct is to want to wrap your fingers around their throat and throttle til veins pop out and the eyes so temporarily bulge from their sockets.

Posted by: Darla at March 26, 2009 09:51 PM

I remarked that they were not out of the woods yet

You never get out of the woods. But what can you do? Take reasonable precautions and hope for the best.

Posted by: David Boxenhorn at March 27, 2009 03:32 AM

And this is exactly why I come here every day. The level of your maturity and insight, and the effort you put into grokking life's challenges inspires me!

I believe that God answers all prayers. Unfortunately for us all, sometimes He says, "No," or "not yet, you haven't learned the lesson I have for you yet." Most of the time, He answers in ways we could never anticipate, but turn out better than we could ever have dreamed!

So keep on keeping on. And thank you for sharing your journey with us. You are AWESOME!!!!!

Posted by: MargeinMI at March 27, 2009 09:36 AM

I have to agree with you: they aren't out of the woods yet. Used to be, it wasn't until about 3 months along - when a woman began to show - that a public announcement would be made. That was as soon as you could be absolutely sure you were pregnant. And, even if you make it to that point, as David said above, that you are never out of the woods, not until you hold your newly born, healthy child in your arms. My cousin's first child would have turned 9 years old this past fall. His wife had nearly reached her due date, and their baby died. She had to go through labor, like any other new mother, only she didn't get to bring Eric home with her when it was over. Unfortunately, not every pregnancy turns out as one would hope, but some people don't want to even consider that possibility...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at March 29, 2009 02:56 PM