Friday, December 21, 2012

Walking in Someone Else's Shoes

In my last post, I posted a the poem "My Shoes", and how no one willingly wears the shoes of a mother who's lost a child.  This is true.  But last night, I really and truly realized that you never know what it's like to walk in someone else's, anyone else's shoes.

Last night, I went to a cookie exchange party, and despite my intentions to not "do" the holidays this year, had a good time.  Obviously, cookies make everything better.  Anyway, as things were winding down, someone asked the host how a mutual friend/acquaintance of all the attendees was doing since giving birth recently.

I'll stop right here to be perfectly honest.  I was due to have Morgan just four days after she was to have her twins.  When it was time for me to go back to school, I dreaded seeing her around.  And, there has been more than one occasion in the past five months that I've been extremely jealous and asked, "Why me?  Why not her?"  After all, two women, three babies; more than enough to go around, right?  I have always known these kinds of thoughts were mean, and spiteful.  I truly wouldn't wish the loss of a baby on anyone.  Those feelings came from my own anger and despair, and weren't "real" feelings, if you will.

I figured this question about the new babies would come up at some point in the evening, and was kind of prepared for it.  I wasn't prepared for the answer.  It turns out that she's having a really tough time, both emotionally and physically.  On the one hand, I felt bas as anyone would when hearing that kind of news.  And on the other hand, I really felt bad knowing the little ball of negative emotions I've harbored toward this woman...her growing belly...her growing family.

And it's not just her.  Every pregnant woman I see, or every woman with a baby, I can always find at least one reason why she shouldn't be a mom, but I should.  Last week, either in the airport or on the train home, I encountered three women with infants, and wondered "Why them, not me?"  The woman with the full five-o-clock shadow?  Surely, her hormones are imbalanced.  The 3-generational family on the train with a toddler and small infant out at 10pm in the cold?  Were they really able to provide properly for their child?  The couple at the airport, preparing to take their tiny newborn daughter, still curled into the fetal position on an airplane?  Didn't they know all of the germs and coughing on a plane would make her sick?  After an afternoon of "Why them, not me?", instead of greeting my husband with a big hug and kiss, I burst into uncontrollable tears at the curb. While I would have loved to have walked in the shoes of any of these women to complete my own pregnancy and bring my baby home, walking in their shoes would also mean going through whatever else they went through to get pregnant and bring their babies home, and also whatever issues they may now be dealing with.

As I've tried to work through these feelings many times over the past few months, my husband has tried over and over to tell me that I don't know these people's stories.  I don't know what goes on on the other side of their front door.  And that is so true.  You might think the grass is greener, but that might just be astroturf.

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