Thursday, 18 April 2013

Social Ninja

I used to date this guy, many years ago, called Nick.  At the time I thought he would be the man that I would end up with.  We shared a dark sense of humor.  We are no longer in touch, and I am a bit sad for this, not because I have any romantic feelings or feelings of having missed my chance with him.  Just because he was a funny, smart, interesting person to count in my life.

Nick used to describe himself as a Social Ninja.  He was a bit...err... socially awkward and loved to make others around him feel as socially awkward as he did.  On more than one occasion, while at a party amid the laughter and the fun he would suddenly blurt out "My father died last year".  In fairness to Nick, his father had, in fact, died last year.  He wasn't lying or anything.  But it wasn't that he was suddenly overwhelmed by a need to be comforted.  He just loved to see the reaction when in middle of a night of fun and drinking people suddenly had to cope with an uncomfortable truth.  That every night isn't about fun and laughter.  That people do die.  And that life does suck sometimes.

I was thinking about Nick because I feel like I have become this same social ninja.  Although i my case it actually isn't because of a desire to make others feel uncomfortable, rather, it is simply because I am trying to protect myself.

I have been married for less than a year.  Nine months and 17 days to be exact.  But, those nine months have been among the last 9 months of my thirties and this information is not lost on anyone.  I have alluded briefly to the ongoing struggles with my in-laws who are hoping everyday that we make a pregnancy announcement.

My husband's cousin and his wife conceived within the first two months... her advice to me was to drink a bottle of wine and forget about it... (uh.. .yeah... thanks... tried that... come back when you have gone through a loss, when you have gone through months of negative tests... sorry, but you aren't an expert).

A very dear friend asked me at New Years why I wasn't drinking... "Are you pregnant?" she asked hopefully... i looked down and away and said no.

We have dinner nearly every Friday with my in-laws and I have been consuming less and less wine everytime...  but, still, there is always a small amount of wine in my glass as part of the prayers.

The day that we learned my hcg levels were dropping was a Friday.  We went to our dinner, tears held in check by sheer tenacity, and I was surrounded by the pregnant bellies of two in-laws.   We ate our meal, smiled artificial smiles.  We said nothing.  We got into our car and I cried the whole way home.  The next day the miscarriage started.  At the time I was determined to be stoic, to not tell anyone of our missed chance at a family.  Those days are gone. 

One night my in-laws seemed to think it was funny to chide me about not being pregnant yet by teasing me that I was drinking while I was 'pregnant'.  "I'm not pregnant".  But it stuck and became an in-joke.

Every week.  "She's pregnant!  What a bad mom stop drinking"  "I'm not." 
"She's pregnant!  You are so irresponsible drinking while you are pregnant"  "Please stop"
"She's pregnant!"

Then I lost it...
I became a social ninja and finally understood Nick.  "Stop it, stop.  It isn't funny.  It's hard and we've tried and you need to stop.  We've already lost one and it is worse when you laugh about it."

They have stopped teasing me, but the social ninja inside remains ever alert.  Now when someone tells me that my husband and I "need to get on with it" I tell them about my miscarriage.

My goal is to make them aware of how incredibly painful what they are saying is by making them feel uncomfortable.  Making them aware that if a couple doesn't have children they either don't want them or can't have them for some reason, and that this is not a topic of conversation for the casual acquaintance. 

It is not graceful or elegant... but then neither am I.

1 comment:

  1. I've responded by saying, "we never want kids." I could always change my mind later if I miraculously became pregnant. Even without being a Social Ninja, I've alienated many of former friends.