A midwife I'd barely met tapped into something very astute about me when I was in labor. A few hours previously, I had rejected her suggestion of narcotics for pain because, well, the word "narcotic" scared me. Wasn't that for druggies on the news? Krokodil and crack pipes, etcetera? (I feel like an old person who learns about "the sexting" via Dateline, but seriously, aren't narcotics, like, drugs and I did have a precious baby in my body who needed all her eyeballs after all.) In the mean time, a nurse had explained the safety of the medication more clearly and I so I changed my mind. When I said as much to this midwife, she looked at me and said, "okay, which one of your personalities is coming out now?" She was joking, but it's true. Also, she was kind of a bitch, but let's find a lesson. There are indeed two of me.
First, there's Tough Me with the strong opinions who makes declarations and rants, who definitely does not want narcotics because she can handle this labor. Then there's Inner, Sensitive Me who doesn't like conflict and will take the narcotics now, thanks. My entire life, I oscillate back and forth between the two. Interactions with me are like a box of chocolates (all of my friends and family: WHY YES!) - which brings me to handling grief.
I've made statements on this blog that I have three daughters and that's it. I've handled my grief from losing Boss's twin in utero mostly with Tough Me, because that's the me that gets me out of jams. To be frank, that's the more popular side of my personality. Nobody likes a sour puss. Grief gets in the way of fun times. Two days after the loss was confirmed, someone said, "you're going to have to get over it sometime" and she was just saying what everyone in my life was thinking. Grief is lame. Grief is inconvenient. It's not like I enjoy grief myself, especially when it's me in the middle of it, so I've done a fantastic job of "moving on". I've chosen to focus on what I do have, as opposed to what I don't. Chin up! Pip pip, cheerio! Can I get anyone a refreshment?
I have the time to write this right now because my oldest daughter is in the ER. Her dad took her in and I'm here at home with the baby who tested positive for RSV and the middle child, who is on day nine of antibiotics for pneumonia. Normally Tough Me powers through bad situations, like the other day in the car in when I was out of gas in a foot of snow and Boss started gasping for air. Have you ever seen a hoarse newborn try to cry? It's like watching the scream come to life, all contortions and hissing. For some reason, I was the picture of zen for that. I just rolled into the gas station, did my biz and drove two miles over the speed limit to the doctor. No prob. I'm tough. Tough Me is rational and sees things from the outside in. There's always a solution! It's why my rants are so persuasive.
Then there's the other me.
Today, I'm dealing with the me who irrationally blames myself for everything. Bee's in the ER, Stella has pneumonia, Boss can't breathe, we lost a twin. The common denominator is me. Why can't I keep my family healthy? (Tough Me from yesterday: "I'm over this mom guilt!" I told you, I'm two people in here. I should buy us tennis rackets.) It's times like this my grief comes back. It creeps in and undermines my mom confidence. Ahem, my "momfidence," if you will. Sometimes the pain of losing Ruby is sharp, so much that I can't bear to be in my own skin. I hold Boss and fight off imagining a second little tuft of hair on my chest. Usually though, it's dull, shoved into the corner like a sullen party guest by Tough Me. I wonder if this will ever go away? I think rather than stuff it down and pretend I don't feel the way I do, it makes more sense to befriend this lurking wallflower. I'm going to feel sad sometimes. It's just a fact, like the day having 24 hours or the sippy cup under the couch containing live cultures.
Why do I bring this up now - a story about my labor and the twin we lost last summer? Well, it's kind of like when you ask someone about their vacation as they get off the plane. They say, "It was great! We had a great time!" Then six weeks later, you get the long version about how they befriended the locals and did some blow in the woods. So that's where that tattoo came from, you think, the one of the giant Bahamian flag and the rasta head. I imagine little pieces of this chapter of my life will trickle out over the rest of it. In the mean time, I'll keep myselves occupied in here with a game of doubles or something.
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