Yesterday was April 1. April Fools' Day. I'm an extremely gullible human being so I generally hate April Fools' Day. (As proof of how much I hate the day: if we'd had to work yesterday, I would have used a vacation day to avoid it.) And when I saw the first "April Fools' Pregnancy" on Facebook, I knew I needed to steer clear for the rest of the day. And so I did. Except to like a friend's picture stating that a fake pregnancy announcement isn't funny.
Today however, I ready Ashley Sue's post on the topic: Looking for Sensitivity on a Day for Fools and I left a comment with this as part of it:
I realize that it's more about my pain, as you said that it hurts, because it hurts, not so much because someone made a joke of it, but because it hurts, all on its own.
And as I wrote that, and then continued dialoging with Ashley Sue, I realized that this goes much further than April 1 on Facebook.
It includes the pregnancy announcements; the complaints from pregnant women; the questions from strangers; the comments from family and friends; the baby at Mass that is the same age as ours would be if we'd conceived after surgery; all. of. it. All of those things that can cause tears or anger or embarrassment without warning, without notice. All. of. them.
They have nothing to do with the announcement, the complaint, the question, etc and EVERYTHING to do with my pain. They become a crutch, an excuse, a place to put blame. A way to hide what they are really about. The pain. I so often feel like I need an excuse for the pain, a reason for it (most often unconsciously . But, honestly, the pain is enough all by itself. Certainly things can trigger it, or make it worse, but those things are not causing the pain. That same pregnancy announcement or question, if I have the family I dream of, don't hurt. They are not the source of the pain, only a reminder of it.
A while back, while venting over a friend's pregnancy announcement, specifically that she didn't tell me individually (she knows of our struggles and had some of her own), I asked the question, what do I expect? I came to the conclusion that I had no right to expect anything from her, as it was her announcement to make. It is only today that I am finally understanding why I came to that conclusion. Regardless of how she made her announcement, my pain is still there. And is about me, not her.
Will knowing this, realizing this, make the pain less when those reminders happen? Probably not. But I know that when I stumbled across a left-over FB announcement from yesterday this afternoon, it didn't feel like a slap in the face. Yes, it hurt, and yet, it was different. While I will still steer clear of places and situations that I know to be strong reminders of the pain, those times that I know it will come to the surface, when they happen (as they will, I'm not crazy), I hope and pray I remember this, and I respond with grace to the person, rather than from my own pain.
*I am not speaking of those situations where people, who know exactly what they are doing, choose to inflict additional pain. I'm speaking specifically of those instances that come from a place of ignorance, circumstance, or anything else that the intent is not to cause pain.