Friday, January 15, 2010

Quite possibly the corniest post I've ever written. I exercised today so I'll blame it on endorphins

For some reason, my company is suddenly taking an interest in its employees. Rightfully so, I’m skeptical and scared. Corporate America wants nothing more than to see its workers suffer. It’s called Management. Ask anyone.

On Wednesday, it was the falalala “What are your personal goals?” bologna. Now, they’re offering free fitness classes in the cafeteria. My guess is that they are hoping some of the older, out-of-shape people will go into cardiac arrest, therefore removing the need to fire or lay off people.

Initially, I had decided I wasn’t going to take the free class. I have the coordination of a 13-year-old boy at a school dance, so I prefer to exercise in private. Besides, who wants to see their hairy co-workers sweating in their white t-shirts? Not I. But public marriage Judy guilted me into it, so I sucked it up.

I jumped and stretched and hopped and then...then I had a flashback—to the last time I took an exercise class. It was 2006. It was called Bootcamp Aerobics. A retired Army guy was teaching it in downtown Mulletville. I’d signed up on a whim. And even though I was in the middle of having a miscarriage, I went anyway.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but the Army guy had checked on me so many times during the class, I had thought he liked me. He asked me how I was doing. I said FINE. He told me to do fewer reps if I needed to. I said NO. What he didn’t tell me was that Chuck had gone up to him before the class and told him about my predicament. He must have thought I was crazy. Or maybe he admired my masochistic tendencies?

Chuck had thought I was crazy, that’s for sure. He couldn’t understand why I—someone whose idea of exercising is bringing groceries in from the car—would chose to do bootcamp aerobics during a miscarriage. But as I kicked my way through the free class this afternoon, I suddenly understood why. At the time, I had been so overcome with grief that I had needed the outlet of physical pain. Or maybe I needed to add pain to the pain I was experiencing. You know, bring myself to the brink? Since I don’t smash windows with my fists, push-ups on my knuckles sufficed.

I had thought that I had put the miscarriage behind me. But there I was today, thinking about it. I thought about how I’d known from the beginning that something was wrong with the pregnancy. How the doctor who had done the ultrasound was the husband of someone with whom I work. I thought about how he tried to make me laugh with corny jokes. How he handed me a box of tissues when he told me there was no heartbeat and told me to cry if I needed to. How he was surprised that I didn’t.

(Unfortunately, all I could imagine was him going home to tell his wife: “I met Mrs. Mullet today. Don’t say anything but...”)

The thing is, I didn’t just think about all of that today; I allowed myself to feel the grief, to acknowledge the loss.

Then I thought about Junior and how I wouldn’t have him if I’d had that first baby. And then I thought about how Chuck and I have been talking about having another baby and how, without my permission, the thoughts of miscarriage have crept into my thoughts. Is it possible to miss a baby you never knew? Is it the possibilities I miss? The opportunity to parent, knowing how sincere my intentions and how big my heart?

Lorrie Moore, in her novel Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? wrote one of my all-time favorite lines (and I’m not just saying that because her novel has the word “frog” in the title). She wrote, “It is unacceptable, all the stunned and anxious missing a person is asked to endure in life. It is not to be endured, not really.”

Life certainly doles out its hardships along with its blessings. No matter where you are, I hope you take a minute, right now, like I did today, to acknowledge your strength to persevere. You’re doing a great job.

I fucking promise.


Stacie said...

It's absolutely possible to miss a baby that you never knew.

I miscarried my first baby, and now I have a healthy 19 month old daughter. I still miss my first baby, even though I lost it at 9w3d.

P.S. This was not a corny post at all. It's very real.

Pricilla said...

My mother always said that everything happens for a reason.
She was right.
Why shouldn't you miss your first child. Just because he/she wasn't born didn't mean you didn't want him in your life.

Anonymous said...

Not corny. Not at all.

Your sadness is so normal, so exactly what many, many of us experience in your situation.

Sometimes I think it's incredible that any of us finish our lives sane, with all the missing we have to do along the way.

Cris Goode said...

At the risk of sounding corny myself-- this post is what I needed to hear today.

I have been a lurker to your blog for a couple months--quite frankly because you make me laugh and I often find myself in need of a good laugh.

Your post today was very touching. I have had two miscarriages myself and can relate.

Thanks for the post.

NHGirlDisplaced said...

I've read your blog for awhile now (discovered through Diapers and Wine), and never commented because, well, I don't know you! :) But I wanted to say it's not corny, and it's definitely possible to mourn a baby you didn't know and a life you were expecting. I went through the same thing, and it never left my mind. It's funny what will make you think of things like this.

Mad Woman said...

It's absolutely possible to miss that baby. I've miscarried twice and I often find myself thinking about what they might have grown into.

This was a great post. Hope you're doing ok!

Jeanne said...

There's so much here, I don't know what to respond to. Maybe the thing that hit me the hardest: the image of you doing calisthenics while your almost-baby prepared to exit your body. You're a strong and courageous woman.

(Thanks for the tip on Lorrie Moore's novel -- I have the book of short stories she published and now I'll have to look for her novel.)

FoN said...

This was a good one that I needed today. Thanks!

Sorry about your miscarriage. That really sucks.

Mama Badger said...

I think it makes all the sense in the world. The exercize and the mourning later. Sometimes you just have to get through things physically before you can get to the emotions. Like the people who don't cry at funerals. Go through greeting people, going to the cemetary, feeding the guests. Take care of the will and all the business. Then you sit down and cry your eyes out. At your own pace, in your own time.

Keely said...

Do you really put those things behind you? I think you just learn to live with them. And of course you revisit them from time to time. I think it's perfectly normal to continue grieving.

Though that's kind of an awful association to have for exercise.

Mrsbear said...

It's amazing how one moment can take you back so unexpectedly and so acutely.

You handle corny beautifully. :(

Anonymous said...

We all have our on own pain and hurt somewhere inside of us it is how we handle and express them that make the difference.I am following your blog as i like reading it and look forward to hearing more from you. Be gentle and loving to yourself.

Riley said...

I miss my first child (miscarriage @6months), but knowing it was the only child I would ever carry makes it so much harder. Complications resulting from the miscarriage guaranteed me I will never know the feeling of hearing someone call me mom. Yes, you can miss something you never had, you can also miss something thats never going to be.

Frogs in my formula said...

Thank you, everyone, for your heartfelt comments.

SLColman said...

I am sorry for your loss. I think it is the possibilities that you miss. I feel the same way somehow because I wont ever have children... I miss the potential of that sometimes.

Julia said...

It's hard to believe on some days. Your last few lines...

But sincerity and genuine emotion is apparent in your post. I think normal thought processes are working here. No need to think you are corny.

Lindy said...

This post gave me goosebumps.

You are incredible and I find it extremely endearing that Chuck talked to the instructor before class.

Keep his ghost-busting ass around.

kyooty said...

Totally not a corny post.

Choleesa said...

Not a corny post. You can definitely miss a baby you never knew. That baby was a child of yours....You adjusted your life around this little life. It was a part of your life. Its okay to grieve, and love.

Mary said...

I joined Curves the same week I lost my first baby.

It's very possible to miss someone you never knew. And the grief of a miscarriage is intensely personal. No one else had that baby in her body and no one else knew him or her. So no one else misses him or her like mama and daddy.

I got a necklace from Etsy. It's sterling silver circle that says "Always in My Heart". In the middle of the circle are 3 birthstones. One for each of my babies. The one who lived and the two who didn't.

Now you have me being all corny. lol.

Dto3 said...

Sometimes you just have to look at things with some different perspective. We had a Boyd's Bear firehouse with the words "United We Stand" that spoke to us at a Hallmark one night after my loving wife's miscarriage. We protected it and kept it displayed, even when it became "way out of style (like it ever was)". After years and years of glancing over at it and wondering what might have been, our youngest came along when he was first learning to walk, knocked it over and broke it into thousands of pieces. We were devastated and then a few days later thought about how there is no way we would have our youngest if we wouldn't have had the miscarriage. That was the first time we had ever thought of that as a blessing in our life. OK - now get back to the funny posts, I'm verklempt over here!

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