Brave Face

Last weekend Husband and I went up to Bro-in-law and Fiance’s place for dinner with them before they flew out to Switzerland for their wedding day. It was just the four of us which was nice as I do really enjoy my Bro-in-laws company but he can get a bit boisterous with lots of people around so it was a rare opportunity to have a cohesive conversation with him.

Then came the revelation. I was helping Fiancé in the kitchen while the boys were outside playing with the barbeque. Two months ago she’d had an abortion. I was truthfully a bit shocked as I know both she and Bro-in-law want kids so I said as much to her. Then she said, “But if I’d been pregnant then I would’ve looked fat in my wedding dress.” I expected this to be a joke. It wasn’t  “I’d have been 14 weeks preggers on The Day and we wouldn’t be able to go diving on our honeymoon. Do you know you can’t dive when you’re pregnant? So I thought I’d better get rid of it and conceive on the honeymoon so it won’t be in the way.”

I can’t begin to describe how difficult it was to remain politely sympathetic.

Despite the fact that I’m pro-choice and people can abort for whatever reason they want in my book (because frankly, it’s none of my business), listening to the callous way she talked about terminating a pregnancy was really hard. Especially knowing that my obstetrician appointment is still months away.

I will admit that I had a bit of a cry when I got home that night. I wish that baby could’ve been transplanted into my uterus.

This year has been a tough one – for a variety of reasons but both Husband and I have been a bit sensitive on the baby side of things. We’ve been married for five years and have been constantly dealing with the “When are you having a baby?” questions. Over the past two years, there has been a baby-boom among our family and friends. In fact, when the first baby of the next generation was born into Husband’s family in January, the new mother (Husband’s cousin) proudly said, “I beat you!” when we walked into her hospital room. Husband and I were told we’d been “pipped at the post” by the brand new grandmother and told we’d better get a move on with the baby-making. This was one week after my most recent miscarriage.

Despite the pain (physical and emotional) I was in at the time, I remained chirpy and happy and gushy about the new baby, because that’s what being an adult is about – you put your brave face (and/or your big-girl pants) on and you don’t let your own problems get in the way of another person’s happiness. However, I (and Husband too) have struggling more and more dealing with the unintentionally upsetting (yet still unpleasant) questions of when are Husband and I going to give everyone a grandchild/great-grandchild. Just like my future sister-in-laws abortion, it’s no one else’s business. It just feels like no one else understands that it’s none of their business or seems to think that having a baby isn’t always straight-forward and their comments may be unwelcome or even hurtful.

I’m not going to hold the abortion against Bro-in-law and Fiancé – as I said, if people want to abort a child, then they can and the reason has nothing to do with me. To be honest, I’m annoyed with how much this has upset me. I guess when Husband and I have wanted a baby for so long and have not even been allowed to try to get pregnant, any baby seems too precious and too wonderful to be thrown away.

Haunted (But In A Good Way)

Sometimes I feel the hairs on my arms stand up for no reason or a breath of wind on my face in a still room. Sometimes my skin tingles. Other times I feel an unexplained warmth in my chest and I know you’re here.

You’re not around all the time and that’s okay. I know you have other loved ones to visit and watch over. But I want you to know that when you’re here with me, I know. I can feel it.

Every now and then I catch the smell of your soap and it reminds me of your wonderful hugs. Occasionally I think I see you in a crowded shopping centre and I want to chase after you to say hi, but I know it’s not you.

When you first went away, I was so focused on the emptiness that I forgot to focus on the good times. It took some time to realize that losing someone doesn’t mean only thinking about how they aren’t here – it’s about remembering them and their stories and their love.

These days, I think about you in the physical sense. I imagine you standing over my baby cousin as he opens his presents on Christmas morning. I imagine walking into your house and seeing you come towards me, ready to greet me with a gentle kiss on the cheek. I imagine us sitting down to drink tea at the kitchen table and talk as though it’s been months, not days, since we last had a discussion which lasted hours. I wear the necklace you gave me often and I always think about the day you gave it to me – I felt so grown up now that I had a chain like yours to put around my neck.

Thoughts of you keep me sane when I feel like I’m going crazy. They comfort me when I’m sad and keep me company when I’m lonely. When things are frightening, I feel stronger knowing that you lived through worse but survived.

I miss your friendship and your love and your companionship. There was so much I wanted to tell you and so much I wanted to hear you talk about but we ran out of time. Your body gave up. It needed to rest.

I know you’re here. The fact that I can’t see you or talk to you hurts like a knife wound to the chest. But I’ll be okay. Just don’t go anywhere, okay? I still need you. I need to feel you here.

Love, PW. x

The Line

{I’ve been a bit hesitant to press the ‘Publish’ button on this blog post after the events of the weekend. But I’ve decided to go ahead with it.}

I hate pranks of all kinds – I find them cruel. They can begin in good humour and quickly turn bad. I’ve seen pranks end with people feeling humiliated, embarrassed and hurt (both emotionally and physically – one prank I know of ended with a trip to the hospital and a dislocated knee). When I hear a prank call come on the radio, I always change the station – they make me uncomfortable. I find them in poor taste and as unfunny as slapstick humour. But of course, humour is subjective.

So when I heard of the prank phone call to King Edward VII Hospital regarding the Duchess of Cambridge, I thought it vile. Not only was it a tacky “joke”, but a group of people (in this case, two radio DJ’s, their producer(s) and other 2DAY FM station staff who were aware of the phone call) attempted to invade the privacy of another person who was in hospital receiving medical treatment. Whether the person was a duchess, president, Grammy-award-winning singer, D-list reality TV “star” or just the average person like me is irrelevant. It was wrong. It was an invasion of privacy. And the invasion of privacy is not a joke – it shouldn’t be something we laugh at as we eat our breakfast or drive home from work.

I can’t comment on whether or not the nurse (the second nurse who divulged the medical information) involved in this incident has done something wrong. I don’t know the privacy policy of the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was receiving treatment so I’m not going to speculate. But the two DJ’s and the radio station who then broadcast what that nurse said (ie: confidential medical information) to the world are, to me, immoral, unethical and repulsive.

I know a lot of people say we shouldn’t treat the Royal family like gods, but it’s not about their position or status or title. It’s about privacy and not invading it. It doesn’t matter whether the patient is fighting cancer, passing a kidney stone, being treated for hyperemesis gravidarum or getting a splinter removed from their finger – a patient receiving medical treatment should be granted the right to privacy.

I know there’s a market for gossip magazines and websites. I’m cool with that – if you want to read about which celebrity couple are possibly getting married, see the photos of that singer and decide if she’s pregnant or not, discuss who looked better than who on the red carpet of some award ceremony, then read away! I’m as nosy as the next person and enjoy reading the occasional trashy gossip magazine.

But there should be a line and it shouldn’t be crossed. Photographs taken of famous people in a private place, private emails made public by a hacker, confidential information obtained in a devious manner, etc. – they are an invasion of privacy. I don’t like private information being made public without the consent of the person or people involved and I think that should be the line that the media (or anyone, really) doesn’t cross – famous (and infamous) people are still human beings and should, in my opinion, have the right to privacy no matter what their title is, how much money they earn or what country they live in.

I think sometimes we just have to remind ourselves that the private lives of other people are none of our business.

{The number for Lifeline is 13 11 14.}

{Also note that if you’re going to comment on this post, keep it respectful. By all means agree/disagree and have your say, but any comments which include hate-speech and death threats to anyone involved in this incident will be deleted.}