Sunday, May 15, 2011

On being lapped

Since losing Jack, I feel like we've fallen behind in our lives. Or rather, our plan for our lives.

See that white car? That's us.
I thought we'd have a baby by now (which we did, but I mean I thought we'd have a baby HERE with us, occupying our time with his cries, his giggles, his needs.) We had agreed to consider selling our house this summer/fall and had planned to move to a bigger house in the country. Move nearer to free daycare for Jack (read: my mum!) and get settled into a new house as I planned my return to work for next winter. 

Instead we have resumed our pre-baby life and have fallen back into our old habits. We both wake up at the last possible minute and head to work. No need to wake a sleepy baby or build extra time into my morning to drive to daycare, nor prepare baby bottles... I come home and I don't get to read stories, draw a bath, nor snuggle. We don't need to move houses now- we don't need space. The point at which we were "supposed" to be right now is still another year or so away. We have another year+ until we need the room, since we have no little one to outgrow what we now have.

And we'll never be right "there", where we were in those few days we had a healthy son, just as we'll never be the old version of us again. We'll always be slightly sadder, and a couple steps "behind". Even when we have another, I'll always be thinking where we should be, and who we should be. And missing baby J.

While I was pregnant, I remember being thrilled to find out some of my friends were pregnant shortly after us. We planned future play dates, and agreed to enroll in baby massage and yoga baby stuff together... But this was not to be.  And so now, as I watch their kids grow thanks to the marvel that is Facebook, I can't help but feel like I was lapped.

I was pregnant before them, gave birth before them, then said goodbye. They gave birth and are now experiencing things I've never done.

It's not enough that I've lost my little boy, but I feel like I've lost my place in the world of mommy-dom. I don't fit there- I can't relate to that life I wanted so badly but only briefly tasted. I don't know what it is to comfort a teething baby, to have your child's gummy mouth form a smile, or to be genuinely proud of your child's first step or hear the sweet sound of their first word. It's weird to not have a way of relating to those who still have their children. I don't have experiences beyond a few days with a healthy baby. 

One of my favourite ladies had a sweet little girl 5 or 6 weeks ago. I remember in the months following Jack, and leading up to her baby girl, giving her tips for preparing for childbirth, breast feeding, and diapers.  I was the expert... Even though I had lost Jack, I had experienced the same things she would soon experience, but only to a point. A week into the life of her baby girl, she had already lapped me.  Now she's the expert, as my knowledge could only extend to my circumstances. I have no new knowledge to impart.

I begrudge no one. I'm so happy she is happy and has her little girl with her.  But it's just such a strange feeling, I was ahead of her, and now I'm behind. I was the more experienced, now I am far less experienced than she.

And I realize in the end, the race is only with myself and not with anyone else. It's a race against the goals I had set for myself, of where I thought I would be at this point in my life.  It's making the best of things, adjusting strategy according to the cards which are dealt. In the real game of life, it's all about rolling the dice and playing your turn. For better or worse, blindly tossing the dice.

We start out in the same direction. Me, with a head start. But I take a left, they take a right. My path permanently deviate from theirs, and loops back around to the starting line just as they cross the finish line. Like a maze with no end... 


My New Normal said...

How funny that I blogged about something very similar today. I find that the hardest people to deal with are those who had babies around the time that I did.

Tiffany said...

I completely understand where you are coming from. I look at our life, we should have three healthy kids, a two and a half year old and twin 16 month olds. Instead, we have a two year old with autism. DOn't get me wrong, I am so grateful for Max. And we got all those baby things with him. But now, he isn't where he needs to be. He might never do "normal" toddler, preschooler, etc., things. I am at the point now too where I feel left behind by mom's with kids Max's age. I used to think that I could just do those other things with Ellie. But no. It's sickening how everything can get so messed up, so fast.
Thinking about you and praying that soon, you get to learn firsthand all about teething and the terrible twos.

Lia Larson said...

You took the words right out of my mouth & my mind!!! I feel this way too. Constantly. I went to a cousin's baby's baptism this weekend and I kept thinking about how I should have a 7 month old with me right now and we should have already experienced this baptism with OUR baby. Instead, ours was considered a 'blessing' (basically the same thing but our baby wasn't living). Friends who were pregnant at the same time, or those who have become pregnant after our loss. I'm so far behind and like you said, it feels like a maze with no end. I hope we find our way out of that maze & have the happiness we all want & deserve. ((HUGS)) to you!!

Kelly said...

I feel the same way. I have 4 friends that had babies around the same time as Adam (2 in October, 1 in December, and 1 in January). They are all moving on, watching their chilren hit milestones. And here I am. Stuck. It's a complete mind fuck.

Caroline said...

ugh - I hear ya. And I hate it. I hate feeling "behind." I hate seeing people start after me, but "finish" before me. And like you said, it's only a race with ourselves, but it still just sucks to be in this strange point in your lives when you were so ready to be somewhere entirely different

Dana said...

I used to love that game, The Game of Life. Babies always came quickly and they never died. They should have representatives for spirit babies in that game. It would make it more realistic.

I have been feeling left behind too. I thought I would have at least 2 kids by now. Not dead kids, or course, like I have.

I also feel more left behind as other baby loss Mom's become pregnant. I'm happy for them, of course, but it feels like their cars have sped up and mine is having engine trouble and I'm at the back of the pack. It's especially bad if they are much younger than me. I'm older, I should be the one imparting knowledge on caring for a baby, but it won't be me doing that and it bothers me.

I've started to learn and accept that it does no good to set goals and expectations on things I have no control over. Since Jacob died, I kept setting dates by which I had to be pregnant again..due date, Christmas, first birthday. Sometimes I was, but that baby died too. It gets easier when you realize that you can only try and the rest isn't up to you.

But this sucks. It really does.

Andrea said...

Love this post. I felt the same way after losing Oliver, I was so jealous of these happy pregnant women who had no idea. While I still had my daughter, I had already set out on the journey of having two and all of a sudden that journey was halted. It is so hard to feel left behind when you wanted something just as much if not more.

lissasue3 said...

Another comment to say I feel the same way. I know a few people who are going to have two kids in the same time that I've been trying to have one (#2). It's a race with myself, no one else cares. And even though I'm pregnant again it still makes me sad.

little vitu's mom said...

I have thought like this a number of times. How me & my husband are left behind in this journey of parenthood. But as you said, its not a race against anyone else but ourselves. I think our loss is much too overwhelming.

TanaLee Davis said...

Yep...I feel this too. You just said what I couldn't form words for. I have been feeling this way for a while...especially since many of my friends are A: having a baby or B: Finally settling in with their baby. I no longer have a voice or an accurate opinion since I never brought my daughter home.

We have been robbed, lapped and removed of mommy-hood. Its so unfair that while we are happy for those that get the right of a child we sit back dreaming harder for the chance.

Hugs for you laura, though you sit back now..your chance is coming will see the day when all you talk about is your growing child.

sarah said...

Oh man, me too, me too. This has actually always been a bit of a "sticking point" for me, in other less painful ways, but I've always felt like I'm "behind" my friends - last to have the serious boyfriend, last to get married, last to get pregnant, etc...and now, I've added this whole empty, awful, painful year on to the equation as makes me so sad...I feel so left out, so alone, so broken when I see them in their place on the path and I am caught trailing so far behind.

Brooke said...

My husband and I are such planners and this business of falling behind, of losing our baby and hobbling along, crippled by grief, it's terrible. We were in a similar position in regard to moving and now nothing is the way we thought it would be. I know it's not a race, not a competition, but still I can't shake the feeling that we've veered so far from where we wanted to be and we'll never catch back up to happiness again.

New Year Mum said...

You've been though so much... and are such a gracious and caring person. My heart truly goes out to you... love always xoxo

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