Just re-read 159 about Jay’s birth by Cesarean and how bad we felt about it, and I wonder what has changed here on his 2-month birthday.
The answer is ‘a lot’ and ‘not a lot’.
It still makes me feel bad to think about it. I still feel we were robbed of something beautiful, even if what happened was the right thing and the most important thing – Jay got out alive and well.
I guess I feel it because we were so close, we could see him, the first midwife made ready to deliver. And then everything changed and went downhill from there.
Except of course that it ended well.
I have to accept these feelings and that they persist, in me and in Char, even if we since have imagined various stories to make it easier to live with that memory.
One story, I guess – and maybe I have mentioned it before – is that it was meaningful in retrospect that we had to surrender our own desires for some course of events and leave it for events to unfold for the best of Jay. That is what parenting is about. Might as well learn it on the first night.
But that and other stories don’t feel as meaningful today. Some days they do, but it ebbs and flows.
Today there is just the feeling that it was so unjust, coupled with the shame that we can even think about that when we got Jay safe (probably wouldn’t have happened in Medieval times).
Or the shame because others have fared far worse, with their delivery ending far worse. Others do, all the time. So who are we to feel bad about this outcome?
I’ve said it before and I guess I will have to say it again – to myself. That kind of ‘comparison-shame’ is useless. It’s like saying it’s okay for a child to go hungry to bed in Denmark because children are starving to death in Africa. ‘You should be ashamed for crying about being hungry!’
It is useless. There are always someone worse off. We could never allow ourselves to feel anything again, if we had to put a lid on it, because somebody had always felt worse, somewhere in the world.
So. Put that one down. For the nth time.
Same, I guess, with the shame about not appreciating that we got Jay – appreciating it enough to overshadow how we got him.
That one is more difficult. In a way, as the weeks have passed, we have developed more appreciation – obviously. We were so scared the other day when we thought he could not breathe, because he coughed. Just one example of how much we love him. There are numerous others. We work all day for him. We set aside everything for him. We feel over-joyed just looking at him. We can’t imagine our lives now without him.
But still that memory hurts.
I guess something deeper is at work here and needs to be remedied. I’m not much of a Zen-man or a psychologist, but I think I’ve heard something about mindfulness being a way to start before rationalizing events.
You go mindful in the sense that you allow yourself to be with the event that hurt, to keep it in you, in your memory.
You don’t try to change it or push it away. You have to be able to contain it first. Then the emotional part of you calms down. Then you can begin to make stories that will allow that even to have a little more meaning.
I think that is a way for me to go. I don’t know about Char. She seems not to like to think about it and I can understand. It was her body …
But we will just have to take that one later. Give time.
And I wonder … there was this strange dream in early May. I sometimes remember it:
I was in school and an old friend of mine, a girl, was getting crushed in a crowd to a school-concert and I had to save her and carry her out.
Then when we are safe she says I should go back and see to Char – that I should care about how Char is doing. And I get the sense that Char is in labor, or has just given birth, although that may be something I make up in retrospect.
But there was definitely something about Char. And going back to her. And not spending more time on the girl I had saved.
Jay is not a girl and not a teenager yet and he certainly won’t be attending my old school. So I have not thought too much about this dream, of it being connected to the birth experience two weeks later.
But when I do, I get the sense that it was inevitable that Jay could not get out.
Although … maybe it wasn’t? I remember thinking the day after the dream that it might have something to do with the birth, in a symbolic fashion – using my old school memories for whatever reason to visualize it. Maybe. But just that birth is a difficult process – that you do feel crushed as a baby.
But now … when I think back. Now …
I think that I had to save that girl. She was getting crushed, after all. She had already fainted there, on the concert floor.
So what about Jay?
Do I believe in precognitive dreams?
Even if I do, was this such a dream? It was, after all, quite a different setting?
It would be so wonderfully easy to just accept the dream and say it was preordained, for some reason To Maybe Be Revealed Later. Then there was nothing we could do now – but accept and move on.
Which I suppose is still the case.
That is not the question: We do have to accept and move on. And to some degree we already have.
We both know it is necessary. We just have some pain left that is difficult to keep inside or find a place for. Some painful memories.
We have to accept those, not feel ashamed.
The question is how? Will such a dream help? Will it help if I tell Char? Will she even believe it?
I don’t know.
I just know I have to get on with my work today, and then later with caring for Jay. That is what is necessary right now. I will have to let this go. That is the right thing. For now.
And then return to it later. For a while. Try to learn to keep it in me a bit more or maybe find a better place for it.
That is also the right thing.