You'll remember I had plans to go to girls' night with a few friends. I ultimately decided not to spend the night which was the right decision. It was hard enough to bide my time through spa treatments and dinner (~ 7 hours total). I don't think my patience or energy would have lasted much longer.
Two of these girls are my close friends (the third is more of an acquaintance to me). All three of them have children all aged 4 or younger. The two youngest of their kids were born 7-months before A. The three of babies would have been the same age, started kindergarten the same year, etc. Pregnant with A last year I was finally going to be invited to play dates and be more engaged by conversations of potty training tactics and childcare arrangements. Now I feel even more alienated.
They, I assume, are uncomfortable around me because they can't look at me and not be confronted with unfathomable, unjustifiable tragedy. They aren't sure what to say or what not to say to me. Do they bring it up still? Do they ask how I'm doing? Do they still talk about their own children or is that painful for me?
I am uncomfortable because I can no longer care about the ups and downs in their daily lives. Like I said in that earlier post, I just don't have the capacity plus most people's problems pale in comparison to the hell I'm living each day. I smile feebly feigning interest and trying not to cringe when they talk about how much fun they're having this summer with their kids because they're at "that great age" or what color their 3-year-old's toenails are painted (what I wouldn't give for little, wiggling toes!). I put forth great effort to control conversations and keep others talking. Anything I want to talk about, they do not want to listen to, nor could they grasp the complexities and polarities of this post-stillbirth life. Just keep asking questions about their jobs, homes, children and husbands. It is very tiring and I feel so fake. This is not who I am anymore.
I am uncomfortable around them because I do not belong anymore. I am not one of them. I don't belong to their world of the grief-innocent.
My excommunication from the realm of those unscathed by tragedy was most apparent as we retreated to the hotel room post spa and pre-dinner. I was as ready as I was going to get having arrived in my outfit with some makeup on. The other three brought changes of clothes, curling irons, shoes, multiple handbags and cases of makeup. They were excited for a night out. Thrilled to be liberated from their wifely and motherly duties for the night. Relieved to leave their families at home for 24-hours so they could let loose, primp, get tipsy and not have to take care of anyone but themselves. I lay on the hotel bed idly chatting with my girlfriend while she did her hair in the full-length mirror. Top 40 hip hop blared from an iPod. They danced and jumped around, giddy. I eyed the clock and willed it to move faster, trying not to drag the whole party down.
All in all there weren't any major discomforting moments. A couple awkward exchanges. Far too much conversation about their living, breathing, growing kids - but how can I blame them, young children dominate your life. And an effortless good-bye after dinner while they continued on to a bar up the road. I raced home, desperate for the safety of my home and the soothing of E's embrace. I don't think I could do it again. I don't know that I'll ever be able to fit in to their world again.