Every day people ask how I’m doing “since”…you know. Since we lost that baby. Since the surgery. Since I still don’t know what’s going on with me.
I’ll pretend and say fine because that’s what people want to hear. They want to think that this stuff happens (to other people, not to them, of course) and that they get over it because that’s what people should do.
Then they want to talk to me about their friend, sibling, self that’s pregnant. The new baby born in the family. How amazing it is that people have babies.
And again I’ll pretend. I’ll pretend to be interested. I’ll pretend to care. I’ll pretend to be happy for them.
When honestly, I’m not interested. I don’t care. I’m not happy for them.
The good news is, for everyone else, I don’t need to be interested. I don’t need to care. I don’t need to be happy for them. As long as they are interested, they care and they are happy.
I’ve had a friend for over 21 years. She and I never see each other. We live less than 90 minutes apart but we both have full time jobs and kids and lives. So each day we email. Our emails include snippets such as: “I put you as a reference. I believe after this many years of friendship it’s actually illegal for you to say anything other than I’m the best person you’ve ever known in your life.” And “He did me a favor all those years ago by cheating on me and I can happily say he got stuck with the homeliest looking woman I’ve ever seen. And that woman is not me.” And “I’m so glad I don’t care what people think of me. It’d be exhausting to keep up that kind of appearance.”
I don’t have to pretend with her. Ever. I say what I want, say what I think and she never once bats an eye. Usually her response is “Say it to me so you don’t make someone else cry.” SO I do. I tell her when I think it’s unfair that people who have horrible marriages (or worse, no marriage at all) get pregnant and get to have babies and I don’t. I tell her when I think it’s ridiculous that people pretend to be something they’re not just for attention. I tell her when I see picture after picture of someone’s new baby and realize that person has another kid too – another kid that they don’t like – yet they spend all their time talking about the baby like it’s the second coming. I tell her how mad I am for the older child, the one who will never be enough. And how mad I am for the younger child, the one they had to save their marriage because that’s a lot to put on a child and it won’t work anyway. That child will eventually be treated like the older sibling and it’s just not right.
I say all this and she just listens, generally agreeing and adding her one anecdotes about people she knows who are just like the ones I know.
Then I go back to pretending. Pretending to be interested. Pretending to care. Pretending to be happy.
Everyone puts so much value on their being based on what everyone else thinks of them, when 99% of the time, people simply don’t think of them. I know, because why else would someone complain to me about being pregnant the day after I lost my baby? Because they weren’t thinking of me. And that’s ok. Because you can’t think of everyone else all the time.
The good news is I can be happy with my life. I can be happy with my marriage (which is stronger than ever) and my children (who are cuter than everyone else’s children) and my career (which is stable, unlike most everyone else’s) and the life that we have built (because my husband and I built it together). Thankfully, I don’t have to pretend when it comes to those things. Which probably makes me a pretty lucky person.
Oh and if you really want to make me feel better, buy me this card. I like it.