Ignorance is Bliss (When It Comes to Pregnancy Complications)
The problem with giving birth to a dead child is that afterward, you think every pregnant woman is in denial. That every pregnant woman is kidding herself that one day she'll give birth to a kicking, screaming, breathing baby. There are a lot of other issues, of course, when you go through a stillbirth, but that's a big one. It's awful to feel sorry for pregnant women rather than joy. I didn't used to. I used to think that being pregnant was the most amazing, life-affirming experience a woman could have. But I got jaded. And it sucks.
This past weekend, I threw a baby shower for one of my best friends. I had to push myself to do it, since I know that pregnancies don't always wrap up perfectly with a pretty pink bow. "Why should I get everyone's hopes up?" I kept telling myself. But I knew it was the right thing to do, to feign optimism, to pretend that she was going to have a perfect pregnancy and deliver a stunning, healthy baby.
That's how I was when I first got pregnant—blissfully ignorant and a total optimist. I read every book, week by week, and meticulously planned my baby's arrival, thinking I was in complete control. My pregnancy wasn't marred by any complications. I had never even contemplated the possibility of a stillbirth. Even seeing that word now makes me think of the Dark Ages. There really isn't a good word for it—and I guess there shouldn't be.
My ignorance was stripped away when Charlie stopped living at 37 weeks. I could never look at pregnancy the same again. Even though I did manage to get pregnant again and successfully deliver another boy, I still can't believe it actually works. But it does. It worked for me, twice! So I often wonder why I can't get on the bandwagon and just be happy to see my friend pregnant and planning her nursery. I am trying. I want to believe it will work out for her. I hate that I have doubts. But I do.
But for now I'll pass out the flower cookies, decorate the burp towels and happily join in the girlie conversation about designer diaper bags. I will laugh about the constipation and the varicose veins and the food cravings. Because pregnancy is a beautiful thing … when it goes well.