Sunday, November 12, 2006

Since I've gone this far...

I should have taken your good advice and never contacted ESP. As it stands right now, things are much worse than before I emailed her. Here is my response to her response. She responded again with someseriously unbelievable bullshit. I haven't emailed her back and don't know if I will. At this point, I am attempting to comfort myself with imagining the things that I'd like to say back. So I'm back to where I started from. Harumph.

Ooh I am also so mad that I said some nice things to her and I extended an olive branch of sorts. ARGH.

So this is email #3, my response to her response to my initial email.


One thing that seems very safe to say is that neither one of us got what we needed from each other. I hate that our paths put us at such disparate places in our lives. I so enjoyed your friendship and I felt like we really clicked and were going to be friends for forever. I never meant to judge you and I regret that we’ve both suffered so much and been unable to help each other. No need to worry about sounding bitchy or harsh; the only shot we have of really getting past this is for us both to be completely honest.

I had NO IDEA that you felt like I was cramming my opinion down your throat and that it was upsetting for you to hear that you might be tormented by terminating. (I don’t recall actually saying anything like that to you. I recall wanting to talk to you about it but never getting the chance.) It never occurred to me that you wouldn’t be tormented by guilt if you terminated. I hadn’t thought of that as a possibility. You certainly seemed conflicted about it and I thought you didn’t do micros*rt because it seemed like tampering with fate or something. I thought that you told me because you wanted feedback, guidance, approval, or something. I thought that suggesting an acknowledgment and apology might help you get through it but I see now that you didn’t feel like there was anything to apologize for.

In your email you sound like you were so shocked at my suggestion of apology and you felt that you had nothing to apologize for. But then you say that you don’t know if you would’ve done it. That gives me the idea that you weren’t certain that you’d do it and that you were actually conflicted. I experienced you as conflicted and as I said before I was trying to help you. I didn’t know what you needed. I thought I was being a BAD FRIEND by not being honest and I didn’t want you to turn to me later and ask why I didn’t say something. I’ve never been in a situation like that before and my impulse is always to help a friend work through shit by DIGGING INTO IT and helping them process and deal. I wasn’t bragging about my psychology degrees; I was trying to tell you that this is who I am and how I function. I process EVERYTHING to death and I have always been this way. We didn’t have a chance for you to see that about me I guess. I didn’t WANT you to be tortured. It hadn’t occurred to me that you might not be. I was trying to help. I was trying to help. I was trying to help. I get, NOW, that I didn’t help.

I’m not pro-life and I support women having a right to choose whether or to have a baby. My sister terminated her third pregnancy and told only me about it. She regrets terminating now but at the time it was the right thing for her. I supported her decision and did all that I could to help her think it through. That is my only experience with termination of a viable, normal pregnancy. During all of our many conversations about how much you wanted a girl, I never got the idea that you supported a woman’s right to terminate based on gender. I’m saying this because I just didn’t know where you were coming from when you told me and consequently I didn’t know how to help you. I could not have encouraged you to go for it without any concern for how you’d feel afterwards. I would have been lying my ass off and I wouldn’t have felt right about that. That didn’t even feel possible. If I said no judgment at first than I meant it but as time went by I felt differently and anything I said was always motivated by WANTING TO HELP YOU.

This next part may be a little harsh but it is how I feel. It doesn’t feel good for you tell me how so many others were happy for you despite their losses and infertility. Had any of them just lost their third baby when you were “in denial” of the existence of yours? Would they have understood that you were “all set” and didn’t need another boy even though you chose to get pregnant? Would they have understood when you acted like nothing had ever happened when your baby turned out to be a girl, when you called to tell me and never in any way acknowledged how that might be hard for me, on the same day that I found out that my THIRD dead baby was the boy that I wanted?

I do understand this; we do not get where each other is coming from at all. I don’t understand your need for a daughter because I haven’t lived your life. I know several people who didn’t get the girl or boy that they so desperately wanted. I get that it has been brutal for them to come to terms with. My problem is not as much that you were thinking of terminating as HOW YOU HANDLED IT, particularly when my concurrent huge fucking disaster occurred.

I don’t expect you to understand how it feels to lose a baby. I recall you saying how upset you were that _____ wasn’t conceived exactly when you wanted. Imagine giving up your “plan” THREE TIMES. I’ll have 2 three-year age gaps instead of two years, if I’m lucky. Two times I was at the end of the first trimester only to see a dead baby on an ultrasound and have my plan for a two-year age difference go to shit. One time I had to deliver my perfectly healthy baby at nearly 23 weeks, too early to live. I felt her kicking an hour before she was delivered, destined to die immediately. Call me Mrs. Doom and Gloom but I have been through shit that I will never ever forget and that I will think of in the middle of the night for the rest of my life. There were hip sockets in _____’s ashes. I came home from the hospital WITHOUT MY BABY because she was in the morgue. It’s called Post-Tra*matic Stress Dis*rder and it all came back to me when I woke up in a pool of blood shortly before delivering another dead baby into my hand. I had to fish the placenta out of the toilet from amongst the shit that I had taken when I delivered him ALONE. I did this and I’ll never ever forget it no matter how much I want to. Now I’m crying. The reason I’m saying this is to illustrate how COMPLETELY DEVASTATING AND HORRIFYING it was losing the baby in July and how hard it was to deal with your situation at the same time. With no acknowledgement from you.

Three times, I have had to watch friends and strangers continue on with their pregnancies while I grieved the loss of my babies. You are the only one that I have been unable to see. I’ve seen _____ many times. I started feeling very upset about you when you told me the news and acted as if nothing had ever happened as far as possible termination. “I don’t know why I’m not more excited.” I guess I was supposed to pretend with you but I couldn’t. I can’t imagine a person alive that could have pretended with you. Actually I did sort of pretend but after we hung up I started to be unable to see you.

I can see now that you expected complete support and that I was expected to bear the burden of being unable to say anything in response. Does that not seem like a lot to expect from somebody? Were all of your East Coast friends completely supportive? If so, did any of them have a third dead baby in the process? I hope it’s clear that this is so not about you being pregnant. Being pregnant again myself has not changed my feelings one bit. I am just sick of carrying this around with me.

Regarding how I treated ____ and the kids, I think it was nice of me to apologize for running away the one time that I saw them since the summer. How I treated them being “very painful and disappointing” was a little much for me to take. It’s been painful and disappointing on my end as well.

I wrote all of this because, in your response, I didn’t feel that you really acknowledged how the whole situation was for me. I imagine that it’s hard for you to think straight right now, having had such a shitty week but that’s not to say that I think acknowledgement is still forthcoming. I hope it is because it’s been really awful struggling with this. Sounds like it has sucked for you too (understatement). I look forward to getting this over with and not thinking about it anymore. I literally spent five hours working on this yesterday, fending off the kids and more hours on Saturday morning and I dreamt about you too.

I need you to hear that it was awful for me to lose my baby while you were considering terminating yours. And that it was extra awful to then have you keeping yours without acknowledging how that must have been for me. I know that I have been completely unavailable for you since then but you were also not in any way there for me after my horrible loss.

We have let each other down completely and I don’t know how we can repair the damage. I think apologies are needed. I am a little reluctant to apologize to you because it feels like you kind of threw the ____ apology back into my face. I will say this: I am sorry that you felt so unsupported by me when you told me about your situation. I am sorry that I couldn’t give you what you needed before or after you found out that the baby is a girl. I am sorry that you are going through this pregnancy without me.

I think that the next step, once you send back a blistering reply, if that’s what you need to do, is for us to actually speak in person. I think it would help for us to see each other’s faces and remember how much we used to like each other and how we liked each other immediately. I have really missed you. We really were just in a very difficult situation where it would’ve been nearly impossible to empathize with each other.

Christ I’m sorry this is so f*cking long. I really have thought about you probably every day since June and sometimes for hours on end. I’m ready to release it. I felt like I released it but then I got your reply and I was like, “Oh ouch” and I have been immersed in it since then. Send a reply if you want but I am also willing to talk and get this over with. I guess it’s time to forgive. Your move.



Blogger kateandjona said...

I'm sorry to hear that you're having such a difficult time. The only thing I have to offer is this ... those who haven't been there truly CANNOT understand. That's just how it is.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Co said...

I have never been where either you or ESP are. But, having suffered a great deal of loss in my young life (a mom to cancer, a dad to suicide), not to mention some other traumas, I've learned something. Not everyone can deal with my grief or my pain. I can't share the graphic details of my dad's suicide or my attempt to resuscitate him with just everyone, for example. It's gross and horrific and lots of my *friends* just are happier not knowing any of it. They don't.

I've decided that's okay. I have friends who will go to the darkest recesses of my soul with me. But that's not every friend.

I think ESP cannot or will not, however you want to put it, go there with you. That puts you in a tough position, because you're so open and candid and it seems like you wanted her to share in your pain and support you. But it sounds like she will never be that friend for you. I don't think I'm saying anything earth-shatteringly insightful.

I've found that with some of my friends, I have to accept a lesser level of friendship with them. I once thought they were close friends who I could tell anything to, only to learn that I must draw lines and keep certain things to myself. Or else end the friendship.

I don't know what my point is here. But maybe just that she was never that friend for you, so maybe you should cut your losses, feel sad that she wasn't really a close friend after all, and go back to avoiding her or at least not discussing this further. That's probably not helpful, but it's my feeling.

3:46 PM  
Blogger whatthef*ck said...

co- it is helpful, what you said. in fact my voice of reason/husband just said the same thing not five minutes ago. i think i didn't know that about her because she heard all about the loss of my baby at 22 weeks AND because she confided in me that she was considering terminating if her baby was a boy. i guess i felt the groundwork was laid for sharing of major details. but i appreciate your point and i'm sure that i have been insensitive to the discomfort that i have caused other with my oversharing.

I can't fathom the depths you have been down to. I'll visit with you if you ever need company. And BTW, thanks for sharing. Really.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm so sorry that you're having to go through this right now. I've been giving this a lot of thought, because I'm kinda going through the same thing. Friendship between women is so complex and complicated. We tend to put so much in to friendships, because I really think that's how we're wired, and it's difficult for us to sever ties. But this girl is just not wired that way. She was willing to terminate her otherwise healthy pregnancy if she was carrying a boy. And from what I gathered from the letters, would have felt no remorse about it. If she doesn't value the life of her child just because of it's sex, then she sure as hell doesn't value friendships. (I'm pro-choice, btw. That sounded a little preachy) CO is right--she must not have been the friend that you thought she was. I'm not even sure if she was the person you thought she was. This is not someone that you need in your life right now. Or ever, really. Again, I'm really sorry. This sucks much.

5:55 PM  
Blogger delphi said...

I think that what she is telling you is that she feels she has NOT wronged you - that you are misunderstanding her. It is too bad that she cannot acknowledge the ways that she hurt you in the same mannar that you acknowledged her. She obviously does not want to expend the energy that it would take to begin to understand your point of view.

I have a similar situation in my life. The only way I have been able to deal is to decide to let her go. To deal, I have invested a lot of energy into mentally laying out the ways that she is incapable of understanding me. I think of her as an emotional and life-experience child. Things have always gone her way (on the big things) and she is incapable of understanding anything but that reality. Just as a two year old cannot understand the complexity of the world around him, my friend cannot understand the complexity and nuance of my life. She doesn't have the skills.

I am sorry that ESP isn't interested in working throught this with you. It seems as though that this is one of those friendships that does not stand the trial of fire. That is SO hard to let go of.

One thing that she wrote that I MUST respond to: this whole idea that you weren't respecting her when you shared the graphic details of your loss... I have to say that I find this insulting. I don't actually think that ESP could possible understand what *true* pregnancy fear is like. She doesn't know what it is like to lay in bed at night timing activity, or getting up at 5 a.m. to Doppler, or worrying that your baby is going to die of an infection every time you have a bad BM. She THINKS that she worries about her baby dying, but she really only worries in that vague "ooo, what if something bad happens... shiver, shiver... OK, now I will think of something optomistic." sort or way.

I find it insulting that she was upset by you sharing with her. Though the details of C's stillbirth are not fun for people to hear, I only share that with people who are really deserving. People that are *touched* that I think enough of them to share that most important experience with them. People who can see past the trauma and pain, and see the beauty of the little life that passed through mine so briefly. ESP should consider herself one of the chosen few that you shared with. Obviously, though, ESP will never feel that way.

Sorry this is so long. I think that I am working through some of my crap, vicariously, through what you have shared here.

I hope you feel my support, though. I think that your choice to be candid can only lead to an ending that is healthy for you, though the getting there is obviously very difficult.

Does this make sense??? Yikes. Ban me...

8:12 PM  
Blogger lagiulia said...

I've been following along but haven't had a lot to add until now. I hope you don't mind my jumping in.

I think that ESP confiding her consideration of termination to you was different than asking you to work through it with her. As she sort of says, she may just not be the type to want to look at the complex places inside of herself. It sounds like you are much different from her in that way. It may feel invasive and much too vulnerable to her for you to look inside of her, when she does not want to look inside of herself. My mother is like that, and we have never, ever been close because of it (I am a processor, more like you probably). It freaks out my mom to no end when I try to go to vulnerable places with her, and she pushes away - HARD. In a friendship, a relationship not bound by blood or required Thanksgiving gatherings, it is all too easy for the closed friend to say "I'm done with this" when the open friend tries to open up the closed friend. The closed friend may want (need) to run away, screaming, because she is so freaked out by impending vulnerability.

On another note, I think it is thoughtless and self-centered of her to punish you for sharing your nightmare with her. Her criticism of you probably *does* come from a place of fear and anxiety in her, but it is disturbing that she would strike out at you instead of acknowledging her own issues. If she could not handle hearing about your dead baby, so be it, but it seems to me that she should have said so in a very compassionate, gentle way, a way that made sure to acknowledge your pain while being up front about the fact that she could not be there for you in a way you need(ed). She might have said, "I know I've failed you, but I feel like I just can't offer you anything of myself as a shoulder to cry on right now, and I'm truly sorry for that." All said, it seems as though she is not a compatible friend for you, and that in itself may be something to grieve. I hope I haven't said anything to upset you.

7:06 AM  
Blogger Trista said...

I think it's so sad that she's happier off not knowing herself, not thinking about her motivations and emotional states, and that she'd rather shove people away and forcibly distract herself rather than sit with who she is. She must not like herself very much. In fact, from her two responses to you, I think it's probably fair to say that she hates some part of herself... probably the part of herself that you touch. And there's nothing you can do about that.

If this were my friendship, I would probably sever it completely. I know you're neighbors, so you'll act civil, but other than that, she would get nothing from me except a very brief note agreeing with her that the friendship be terminated and requesting no further private communication. But that's just me.

8:19 AM  
Blogger Estelle said...

Wow. I'm not sure what to say to that, beyond what wiser women have said above me.
Although I do think her comment about worrying all the time about the baby is BS. That is the same baby that a week before she was willing to kill because it had a penis. That doesn't seem like someone that worries about a pregnancy.
I'm sorry you've lost a friend, even if it was someone who obviously wasn't on the same wavelength as you.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous bri said...

I'm sorry, hon. It sucks that you spent so much mental energy and anguish on this only to find that she is not the type of person who PROCESSES (holy crap! I had heard that such people existed but I didn't know that any of them lived in YOUR state!). I am pretty sure, though, that such a person is incompatible as a friend to someone who processes nonstop (as all good bloggers do - what else is a blog but PROCESSING?). I am sorry. And infuriated along with you. As before.

10:45 AM  
Blogger vee said...

All the wise and sensible people have made generous and thoughtful comments. I am neither wise or generous.

I just want to say, with a heavy dose of sarcasm, how utterly selfish of you to have mentioned the anguish you were going through to a pregnant ESP. I mean, she's pregnant for goodness sake! Thank goodness she's such a bright and optimistic kind of person, otherwise your thoughtless doom and gloom might have made her lose sleep! Especially once she'd realised that she didn't have to have her baby sucked out of her because it didn't have a dick.

I'm sorry that I don't have anything more generous to say about her; anything that might help you understand why she can't be the friend you wanted her to be, but reading what she wrote just makes my stomach clench and my nostrils flare.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous steph said...

You know what? F*uck that woman. She is not worth your time or energy. You have enough going on. Let go of her and squash all thoughts of her. Rise above her b*tchiness and when you have to see her treat her civilly but with a distant curiosity. She has a very different way of thinking. Think of her as an alien that is interesting to observe, but one that certainly can't be taken seriously. Let it go. Make yourself let it go.

7:21 AM  
Blogger Rosepetal said...

I am just catching up with this now. I agree when Delphi says it's a friendship that has not survived trial by fire.

I have friends who have have said what I consider to be the wrong thing to me, or worse, not said anything at all. Depending on who you are and what you want or expect from each friendship, you might be able to accept that you have friends unable to go through fire with you but who nevertheless have other qualities as friends that you still appreciate.

Where I am now, I'm unable to do this. In a way it's sad to think that on top of losing my son, I'm losing friendships as well, through my own reaction to something they probably see as no big deal. But I just have nothing to say to those people anymore. I'm different now and continue to change and they haven't accompanied me and don't know me anymore. Right now I need friends to walk through fire with me and I don't need an audience watching me in silence until I come out the other side.

I know in my head that if this hadn't happened to me, I would probably not understand or want to know major details about losing a baby. In fact about 3 weeks before Moksha was stillborn at full term, I went to see a friend whose wife had just given birth in hospital and he said, "a baby died in the delivery rooms the same night ___ was born - I saw a guy come out in total shock." Afterwards I said to my husband, "WTF did he tell me that for?" (I was about 38 weeks pregnant with no inkling that that might happen to me).

But that's my head. In my soul, I just cannot help some people to help me. I have no helping juice left over from trying to help myself. So those friendship hold nothing for me anymore and I cannot envisage, from where I am now, them ever holding something for me again since they do not acknowledge such a large and integral part of the person I have become / am becoming. So I'm just letting them go.

I guess in this v. long comment, in your position I wouldn't want to invest in this friendship anymore.


2:07 PM  

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