Thursday, January 28, 2010

Defending the pee stick

Yesterday I came across two blogs of ladies who had stillborn babies and have just recently miscarried in their subsequent pregnancies. As I type this, these two ladies (and who knows how many others) are living out one of my greatest fears. My heart goes out to them and I grieve for them.

One of them said something interesting on her blog:
"BLM's would you agree with me when I say that through gritted teeth you can send love and best wishes to fellow BLM's announcing their rainbow baby pregnancies, but that an 'obligatory' pee stick photo is like a kick in the stomach?"

BLM = babylost moms for those of you fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with this macabre terminology that seems to invade your life once you're in that very unfortunate club.

I think that perhaps this lady has a point, but for my part as one who has lost a child and has recently posted my own pee stick pic, I'd like to put my thoughts on the matter out there.

There are a few things here.
First of all, I started this blog 4 years ago for the pure and simple joy of writing. Life was simple and the blog was a place to express myself in my own quirky, uninhibited way. I think my writing was fun and entertaining back then. Lighthearted. Funny. Hell, it was downright Marian Keyes-ish (minus the Irish family, the friend named Clodagh, the career in publishing, the tragic break-up, the weight loss that happens without our hero even realising it - come on!! - and the inevitable perfect man who was, in fact, right under our hero's nose all along).

When "everything happened" I had an overwhelming compulsion to write. Writing is not only a joy for me, but a therapy. I am far, far more likely to pour out feelings in writing then to speak them out loud - even to The Band or The Best Friend. And so, this is my place. If others find it and are comforted or entertained or whatever as a result, that is wonderful, but I'd be lying if i said that was the reason for this blog.

I also had an overwhelming compulsion to read. I devoured the blogs of people who've lost a child and found hope in the stories of those who went on to eventually fall pregnant again and have healthy children. On many days these stories kept me going.

I don't remember if I posted the pregnancy test pic with Sophia, I don't think I did. But with The Kernel, pure joy is not something I feel. It is not something I have felt in nearly 5 months and perhaps it is not something I will feel again in this lifetime. With Sophia, life remained simple, it was easy to assume that come September we'd have a beautiful baby in our arms (the assumption was true, but the reality was coupled with tragedy and was all too fleeting). With The Kernel I have no such surety. I have no such naivete. I have no such carefree hope. Approximately a million times a day I pray for this baby to be protected, kept safe. Celebrating this baby, when I am terrified of losing him/her, when my heart remains broken for Sophia, is not a simple matter. It is something I consciously choose to do, it is something I will myself to do. Everything in me wants to guard my heart, to not get attached until The Kernel is safely born. But that's not fair on The Kernel, is it?

And so I will post pee stick pics. I will post cheesy belly photos and scan pics. I will make every effort to celebrate this pregnancy, despite my fear, despite my human defence mechanisms cautioning against it. I need people around me to have hope when I'm too scared to, to celebrate The Kernel when I am too sad to. The Kernel deserves as much.


Anonymous said...

totally agree, you should post the stick and whatever else follows, its part of your life, and I really hope you let yourself become excited, just think positively all the time - stress can cause illness and problems. and you will most definitely feel joy in this lifetime, when you hold the kernel in your arms! it'll be the most joyful happy moment ever, and dont let the past cloud it, the kernel deserves a mommy who is just there for him and not hanging on to sad stuff.

so is it pink or blue

Anonymous said...


At a fundamental level this blog is either for you to express where you are at or for others. If it is for others you might not talk about Sophia or The Kernel or anything at all. Everything has the power to upset someone really or it is just drivel. And what is the point of that.

But is fair that our blogging friend expresses that pee stick pictures are like a punch in the guts too. It can't be any other way.

The thing is, as someone who also feels the additional pain of not being able to conceive after our daughter died, I can honestly say that I don't have a problem with the pee stick picture. Do I wish my wife had shown me one of these for real. Of course. But part of grieving is accepting. And part of accepting is being able to relate meaningfully to people who have what we don't.

So I will keep vistiting your blog and commenting when I can. You need to keep writing from the heart and honestly expressing where you are at.

One other thing. I am convinced you will know pure joy again in the future. My hope is that one of those moments will be when you hold this baby in your arms. And many flowing from that.


B said...

Scuse me for wading in where I probably shouldn't, but.....

Anon, it's all very well to say 'the kernel deserves a mommy who is just there for him and not hanging on to sad stuff', but denying emotions is unhealthy for both Caz and her future child, surely? And even when the next child is born, the joy will be tinged with sadness that Sophia isn't there to be a big sis. Caz and the Band will always miss her. That's not 'hanging onto sad stuff', in my mind.

But anyway. The only thing that bugs me about the pee stick thing is that i never took a picture of my own. i thought that a baby would be proof enough that I had been pregnant.

Yeah. I was a bit naive. I wish i still was.

It doesn't kick me, seeing pics of positive tests, so much as just making me sad that I'm not pregnant, and I don't know how long it will take. or if we will ever have a real live baby at all :(

But I'm really pleased for you. Just really really jealous at the same time. and just hoping so desperately that everything will go well for you this time round.

Champagne Heathen said...

I think its as you say at the end... "The Kernel deserves it".

I can imagine it must be the toughest line to walk along. Respect & mourn the loss of one child while not forgetting the living (growing...becoming) child. As well as vice versa.

You have nothing to prove to us. Any unnecessary but felt guilt is your own, not your audience's. (Does that make sense?? In my head it does, in writing not so much)

You have shown your love for Sophia & pain for losing her. And as you have said, you will hold that for the rest of your life. You could hardly flippantly just let that go. So to love The Kernel & the future is parallel to that, not replacing it.

Ok, that's just my random reactive thoughts to what you evocatively wrote...

phillygirl said...

I am all for the photo of the pee-stick, the bump progress and the scans ... those are really your first photos of your child, they're all part of the experience. I can only imagine how much you must treasure your scan photos etc. of Sophia more than anything now and you would never wish that away. So don't, not for anyone. So don't wish them away for The Kernel either.

Plus in my personal opinion that pee-stick photo is so much more evocative (perhaps that's why she doesn't like to see them?) than just reading the words "I am pregnant". You know?

Simply-Mel said...

The Kernel deserves it, and so do you.


Mrs. Holly Hall said...





PEE STICKS!!!!!!!!YAY!!!!

Anonymous said...

B: I didn't mean not just forget the past or mourn her first daughter etc - obviously it's something you carry with you for a lifetime, I meant when she is with her new baby to make it all about him and just be happy around him, and to have the sadness in her own time but not make it part of the Kernel's life.

Anonymous said...

I have to add one further thought on behalf of another. Not so much as a reaction to your post but to some of the comments made afterwards.

The same thing that means you are right to post the peed stick photo here, means that others are right to say they find it hard and like a punch in the guts. The fact is that you finding ways to meaningfully cellebrate the Kernel here is good and right.

But for someone else who is currently experiencing a miscarriage following on from a stillbirth they are going to find it a very different emotional experience. And for me who has been told I cannot have more children since my daughter Abigail can certainly relate to this. Whilst I wouldn't want you to be different, and it is my choice to still visit your blog (!) doesn't mean I cannot experience this as a difficult thing or cannot express those emotions in my safe space (blog). I think this is key to the blogging world.

I actually had a post on some of these difficulties a while ago here

Gill said...

Oh Caz I am so thrilled for you! I haven't been reading any blogs at all for a while, so I only found out that you're expecting today!

I had an abruption with Rox and lost two babies before I fell pregnant with Paula (if you feel inclined look in my label cloud under "Moments") , so I truly understand how you feel.

I spent my entire pregnancy with Paula torn between bliss and terror. I tried to focus on the bliss and only let the terror get a grip on me in the dead of night! Easier said than done.

Hugs {{ }}

Shayne said...

You have been on my mind all day - hope all went well at doc this arvi.


k@lakly said...

ACK~~~I have been out of the loop. WOW! I'm so happy for you and the kernal. It is a bumpy road, the pg after. You are 100% right to hope and cherish and share every moment you have with this new little one. It is a mixed bag here in db land for those who read and are not yet or may never be where another db mom is. We all have to choose to read the blogs where we find comfort and hope, however that may come.
In the end, this is your place and you write for you. Be honest. Be real. That's why you are here, that's why the writing heals.

And again, so, so happy to hear such positive news:)

Caz said...

Thanks everyone :)

Anonymous said...

It's your blog, you can do whatever you want!

Caz said...

Thanks everyone :)

Tracey said...

I would agree with others who say you need to do what feels right for you. I personally found alot of hope in seeing pee-sticks while we were TTC after we lost our sweet girl.

However, I do need to disagree with anon when they say you should only be happy around this new baby & the sadness of losing Sophia should not be part of Kernels life. This is simply my opinion and my experience....

Our daughter, Rose (who was stillborn at fullterm) is our 2nd daughter. While we had loving family and friends who help support us as we grieve, a parents sadness is unfortunately something our older daughter has learned in her life. Do we regret this? Absolutely. Is sadness from the loss of our Rose, something we can change or shield our older daughter 100% from? No. Do we hate that she'd had to learn this sad lesson so young? Absolutely. Have we tried to teach some beautiful life lessons from this sadness - yes. Do we try to shield her from the adult nature of the deep depths of pain we feel? Yes.

I guess its a long way of saying that simply not realistic to say that other children (either born before, or after a child's death) should be entirely shielded from sadness.

We are expecting our third daughter, and she'll grow up knowing about her sister that is not with us. When age appropriate, she may learn or experience some of the sadness her parents feel, but she will not be permanently shielded from it.

We share joy (age appropriate) with our living daughter, we share sadness (age appropriate) with our living daughter and we will do the same when our 3rd daughter comes home in the spring. In our family, both joy and sadness are beautiful emotions that offer tremendous learning and should not be hidden. In the year since we lost Rose, our oldest daughter has leaned the most amazing empathy and compassion skills far beyond her years...and while we'd prefer she didn't have to learn those skills so young, she's a beautiful and caring girl because she's been exposed to real emotion.

B said...

Tracey thanks for saying what I couldn't articulate.

Bruce said...

HEAR, is way to easy to get mired in the negative thougths of others. Chart your own course and celebrate. Nothing good ever came of worrying.

angel said...

After unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant with my darling Glugster, we stopped trying. Its been about 6 months, and it still hurts when my friends announce pregnancies and post pictures and such.
I wish them and congratulate them, and I send gifts and flowers, and I am happy when their babies are born... And I never ever begrudge their excited blog posts with photos and such... Its something to be celebrated and shared!

But I hurt.