Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ignorance and Bliss?

There's a mom of one of H's preschool classmates (more on preschool at a later, more clear-headed time) that found my last nerve the first day I met her by asking two questions: Was H my only child, and did I have plans to have more? Little did she know she bought two passes to the lion's den by raising the topic. I polititely danced around the latter question, still having the I-just-met-you-and-will-give-you-a-pass generosity of spirit. When she asked me for the third or fourth time on the playground one day, I was much more firm. I told her it was a very complex and difficult topic and I really didn't want to get into it.

That silenced her for the time being. But several weeks ago I bumped into her again on the playground and she took the first opportunity -- any opening that might somehow relate in the most general sense -- to non sequitur her way to an announcement of her pregnancy. Clearly, her earlier questions were simply a proxy for her discussion of her own situation and family plans, had I the politesse to ask her back (which I did not). What came out of her mouth next, though, mesmerized me for a full minute: She was telling me, a virtual stranger, that she was eight weeks pregnant. She added that she hadn't had an ultrasound yet. What.

The fact that I myself had just learned I was pregnant and thought there might be a chance it could actually work did little to quell my irritation or wonder at her hubris. Frankly, from an empirical standpoint I was fascinated. I sort of wanted to take notes for some sort of yet-to-be-determined anthropological study. Naturally, I was 100% certain that her hubris would be rewarded with an uneventful pregnancy.

Now, sitting here losing my own, I'm not so sure where I stand on it. Part of me wishes I'd had even one more day of ignorance about this doomed fetus. One more day of letting my mind inch toward an optimistic thought here and there, allowing it to round the corner and peek quickly at the possibility of a frilly girl's nursery or H sitting with his brother. One more day of maybe.

But would I really want to walk around not knowing that the baby I pictured was actually a fading fetus? Isn't it better somehow to know? I'm not sure. I worked hard to protect myself this time by really staying detached, at times almost eerily so, and I just don't know that it impacted my grief one way or another.

I do know that the experience of suffering on my way to motherhood has made me a better mother in all kinds of intangible ways. I love that kid fiercely. I'm bonded to him, the way you're bonded to someone you've fought for.

Still, I think I wouldn't mind a little ignorance and hubris now.


Turia said...

I have encountered women like that as well. It never, ever fails to boggle my mind that they will cheerily announce a pregnancy that is six or eight weeks old. I feel like they are a different species or something.

Amelia said...

I have friends who post their first ultra sound pic on facebook. I'm like holy crap who does that?! Then I remember; people who haven't had their babies die.
I don't know how to answer those questions, I know I'll never be asking them again though.
Light and love to you.

anofferingoflove said...

holy hell. what is wrong with people? i'm sorry you had to deal with that. ((()))

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