Dichotomy of Secrets
For someone who hates math as much as I do, my favorite artist is a mathematical genius.
Truthfully, his symmetry and creative outlook on the impossible are what originally drew me to him. Also, he has an uncanny way of making the impossible seem true... of causing two diametrically opposed objects to work together as if they were always intrinsically the same.
So when I think about the dichotomy of secrets, I think of an MC Escher piece.
Because secrets contain a built-in paradox. Half the horses in your mind want nothing more than to keep that secret private. They're content in their stalls, munching on their hay and reflecting on what amounts to be a very personal, intimate matter.
Those other horses, however... they're chomping at the bit and pawing at the stall doors to escape and spread the secret to anyone and everyone who will listen.
My secret? Myla Therese.
Today, Remembrance Day, made me keenly aware of this inner dichotomy. Myla's existence is still mostly unknown. My mother, my SD, you folks and a tiny handful of friends (6 or 7 maybe?) are even aware of what happened. No one else on either side of the family knows, and I don't bring her up to anyone but the closest to me. It's those pesky horses... the half that wants to keep her private and mine - all mine - they're content to sit in their stalls and keep her memory there.
Those other horses, though... sometimes they get creative and find ways of slipping out. A few days ago, I commented on a Facebook thread that was far away from anything my group of friends would ever stumble across. It was a bunch of Catholic moms talking about babies. My friends and family would steer so far away from "Catholic" "mom" and "baby" that they'd be happily on their ways to China so as not to accidentally find themselves in a spot that combined them.
However, what I wasn't aware of was the fact that Facebook doesn't care about that. Facebook took a personal comment on a wall of a group that is "no man's land" to my friends and put it in the newsfeed. In the NEWSFEED.
Everyone then had the chance to see my comment of comfort. It was originally meant to reach out to another mother who had lost her child an felt secluded in her grief. I wanted her to know she wasn't alone, so I said something along the lines of, "I'm the mother of a baby in Heaven, too. Our little saints are playing together on the lap of Our Lady, I bet!"
Several minutes later, I got a private message from a friend of mine. She asked me about the comment and I immediately felt like someone had walked in on me in the shower.
My mind began racing...
If she saw it, who else saw it? Is John going to get these questions from our friends? Is John going to be MAD that I posted this on Facebook? Oh God... did anyone of his family see it? Will anyone else send me questions? What am I supposed to say to this one? And why does Facebook have to notify her that I'd already read the dang question?!
Before bothering to respond to her e-mail, I called John. I explained the situation and asked how he wanted me to handle it. After all, this was a mutual friend. What I said to her had the capacity to reverberate through our friends and back to him. He might not be able to push the situation out of his mind so easily.
His response surprised me. He said, "Answer her however you want to. Whatever makes you feel better because you're the one handling it. I really don't care how you respond."
Now try not to bristle at "I don't care how you respond." I don't think he meant that in a harsh or demeaning way.
I repeated that his family might find out... his Mom. I didn't think she would from that basic exchange, but it was a possibility, and if he still said that he didn't care what I did after thinking about it in those terms (moms tend to paint a black and white picture for us better than most things), I could trust he really meant it.
Apparently he did, because he still gave his stamp of approval even then.
I went back to my computer. How do I respond to her? I didn't know. On the one hand, I wanted so much to tell someone else about Myla's existence, but on the other, I didn't want to share something so personal. I honestly didn't know what to do, so instead of answering her, I went through my newsfeed to clear out any possible reference to miscarriage I could find.
Finally, I went back to her message. I was back in control of my feelings, so I could respond logically. I trusted this particular friend, so I explained in very simple terms that yes, John and I had been expecting in July and I had miscarried around the 5th or 6th week. I also explained that we weren't really making that information public, but I thanked her for sending me the message. It really did mean a lot.
She quickly responded with love and support. I felt better that another person was pulled into the circle that knew Myla existed. She was such a blessing, and I sometimes ache that more people aren't aware of her. However, I do fear what knowledge of her existence would bring.
Questions that I'm ill-equipped to handle. Questions that would make me cry. Questions that would tear me apart and leave me pounding my fists into the floor.
Disbelief that she was real. At 5 or 6 weeks, she's nothing, after all, right? Society tells us she's nothing. Society assures us that my sweet little baby is completely inconsequential.
And the list drags on.
So for today, I reposted a few things and commented on a few others, but I kept my tone ambiguous. Instead of posting Myla's story, I posted things "in solidarity with" or "together with" others who have shouldered this cross. Folks seeing my posts could easily think they were akin to wearing pink in support of breast cancer awareness though I never had it myself. It was my safe way of publicly spreading awareness without opening the door to something I'm not ready to handle.
Again, I know this might come as a surprise to you readers who see my most personal thoughts on a routine basis, but I am just not this forthcoming with many people. Behind the safety of my monitor, I can vent with the knowledge that none of you will ever be able to treat me differently or judge me harshly because of what you read here.
Truth be told, in real life, I'm scared. Very, very scared. I like being in control... in charge... even-keeled. Being upfront about things so sensitive and emotional for me... it's just not something I'm good at. And for as much as those horses want to call out Myla's name from the rooftops and share my experience with other women who might be going through (or will go through) miscarriage, I am not strong enough to handle it at this point. I feel selfish and weak for admitting that, but it's the truth.
I do hope to one day be able to tell other people about Myla. She is a blessing, and I want to share her with others - especially family and friends.
I just don't know when (or if) I'll ever be ready to do so.
For those of you who have endured miscarriage, did you ever tell family/friends? If you did, when and how did you go about doing it?
Yeah, FB does that. Even if it isn't in the newsfeed, it can show up in the ticker. If you type it and don't limit it to a specific person or group of people, assume everyone can see it. I love FB and I hate FB and this is one of the reasons I hate FB, but I do love that I can share stuff with only those in a select group.
10/17/2013 06:30:25 am
*shakes fist at FB*
10/16/2013 06:39:42 am
I didn't want to tell anyone, and I mean ANYONE, because I couldn't stand the thought of everyone tiptoeing around my feeeelings, or constantly asking me if I was okay, or hearing the typical platitudes- "You're young," "you can try again," "there's a reason for everything." Of course, I did tell people because it's too big a burden to keep to yourself. I only told my parents, in laws, sibling and siblings in law, and some close friends. We told them within a week of the miscarriage, and had to tell most people over the phone since we're so far away from family. Like you, it was hard to talk about it because I hate feeling like I'm in control of my emotions or reactions, and while I feel like telling people would relieve some of the stress of keeping this particular secret, it's such a personal heartbreaking part of me that I don't WANT to share it.
10/17/2013 06:36:58 am
10/19/2013 10:17:14 am
I haven't really thought about it. I know I want to, but the timing and context in which to tell her are hard. Should I tell her once she's a teenager and old enough to understand why it's upsetting? Or wait until she's married and ready to have kids? Both my family and Rigo's family are very private when it comes to painful situations like this. My sister in law also had a miscarriage, and beyond the time period when it occurred, the only other time we've spoken about it was when I had mine. So that also makes it difficult since we're not very open about personal issues like that. I can definitely understand your dilemma with the emotions and side issues that come up with a miscarriage, especially for those of us who like to be in control of ourselves :)
10/17/2013 08:34:33 am
Ok you do realize this blog is public? I don't know you I just stumbled across it. I can't imagine you haven't mentioned it to everyone on FB and in your family and friends given that you can't even keep a miscarriage secret. It seems like you are justr trying to fish for more pity in this situation. Come on you didn't know what you posted on FB went into everyone's newsfeeds?
10/17/2013 11:34:28 am
10/17/2013 11:38:38 am
And for the record, you didn't just "stumble" upon me out of nowhere.
10/25/2013 09:40:11 am
Gina I announce evry pregnancy immediately and so any miscarriage info is also FB public. When it happened many moms who lost babies came out of the woodworks to comfort me and admitted their loss, too. I had funerals for both so I visit my babies graves regularly? I have learned from my friends that these are part and parcel of being pro life witnesses. I understand that many moms like to grieve in private and I can certainly respect that, too. Hugs to you. Myla is playing with my Felicia! sure of it.
10/27/2013 11:23:21 am
I can really identify with your situation of needing so much to tell someone, anyone, about your deepest inner desires and realities. I also know the need, in the same way, to have to keep those matters private. You are so strong, and find that strength in your Faith.
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