Monday, November 17, 2008
Babies and Bubble Wrap
Last week a friend updated her page online. I got the little notice that she posted a pic with the title “welcome to the world…” I already knew about her family member who was due any day. So, being the near genius that I am, I figured this was a picture of the new baby.
Then I avoided her page.
From what I’ve observed over the years, this is not supposed to be the ‘normal’ reaction to babies – especially for a woman. From what I’ve observed they ogle over babies and say things like “aaawwww how cute!!!” or “oooo, he’s so beautiful! and “can I hold her!?” Ya know, I wish I could react that way. I wish I could celebrate like they do. I wish there was at least a hint of joy inside of me, but there isn’t. I wish I could be excited, but I can’t. It isn’t, it just is not like that for me. Instead my reaction is to pull more bubble wrap from the storage of my mind. Then I wrap several layers of it around my heart. I can not risk exposing myself to the pain of an infant child. What should be ‘normal’ instead hurts so much. It’s like swallowing juice seasoned with the spines from a cactus. I find it hard to swallow, breathe, or even regain my focus. I shut the baby out and pretend he/she is not even there. I’ve trained myself to avoid eye-contact with them. A co-worker handed me his cell-phone & and almost dropped the phone when I realized he was showing me a pic of his new grandson. Just beyond the bubble wrap, I’ve built up a wall of defense to those around me from day to day. This wall of defense has been built by the words I’ve used leading them to the conclusion that I hate children and especially babies. For example, I had a brief conversation with Mary (who is in charge of the nursery at church). I’ve described my ideal nursery system to her. Mommy or Daddy would bring precious little infant to nursery. Put Velcro vest on precious little bundle of goo, and then stick him/her to the wall, where he or she would be safe. A plastic pail would be strategically placed below the baby. Whenever Mommy or Daddy comes back to retrieve their little one, they are totally responsible to clean out of the pail whatever may have fallen from the baby while they were away. I’ve shared this ideal nursery system to many people over the years. And just like Mary, they get the picture I want them to have. Actually, it isn’t the picture of me that’s important, it is end result. The result is that they steer clear of me when it has anything to do with infants. People think I hate babies and kids. Yup, nearly everyone in my life thinks this. Very few people know that it isn’t babies I hate. It isn’t babies I’m trying to avoid. The truth of the matter is … it’s the flashbacks of my own pregnancy, birth experience, and the sharp pain that pierces my heart when I think of my own son. That is what I hate. That is what I am really trying to avoid. My son a day old, 2 days old, 3 days old – and then he’s gone. So when I got that little notice that my friend posted a pic, I initially avoided it. And I can’t really tell you why, but after some time I decided to at least look at the picture. And as I looked at the pic of this little boy, I was shocked at what the camera captured. It seemed as if his one eye was looking right at the camera. He was looking right thru the lens and into my soul. I was entranced and just sat here staring back at him through my computer screen. I was looking him right in the eye. In spite of the fact that it was just a picture, it was a brave move. And I could not look away. Nor can I put into words what was going through my mind, because this was not logic. It was purely emotion and feeling. I felt the intense sadness in my soul of missing my son. It was a heaviness and longing that words can’t really describe. I wanted the moment again. I wanted to have him in my arms. I wanted to look into his eyes and just experience a tender moment with my one and only child. I wanted to re-do it and allow him to look back at me. To just look and not have to hear the horrible words on his ears of the lies telling him why our lives must go separate ways.
Once the ink dries on this, I’ll roll it up and store it in my heart. Then I’ll be sure to carefully again surrounded and encase my heart in the much needed