I don't want to be the killjoy. I'm practical by nature, but I'd rather not be the woman at a baby shower who stops light banter with some awkward comment no one wants to hear. But, seriously, at a baby shower who wants to talk to me? I have one horror story after another. Give me a condition, and I'll tell you someone I know with it. I operate in some alternate universe, in which I have many, many happy endings to awful, traumatic, and tragic stories. Mostly happy endings.
I can count the non-preemie babies I know on my fingers. Preemie babies? That's what I know.
My dearest friend from J's NICU stay has quads. During our last trip to the zoo, I looked across all the children lined up, five toddlers and a baby, none of whom weighed more than 2.5 pounds at birth. I thought, "We are a walking ad for March of Dimes." My world is foreign, totally foreign to most moms, and I'd actually like to keep it that way.
My sister-in-law has almost my exact due date with my son. I have been counting the days. She is now just two days from when I had J. The thing is: I don't want to count the days. I can't help it. I don't know how to look at a pregnancy and assume it will be long and healthy.
I guess I wouldn't blame her if she cut off all contact until the baby is due.
I don't want to scare people, and I don't want to depress them. I don't want to be the person no one talks to during pregnancy. I want to hear fears, without overshadowing them with my own sadness. I want to be a sympathetic person, which means I can't overwhelm others with my story. I am living in a strange and lovely world, but I have to find a middle ground between hiding that story and thrusting it onto people. I'd like to be a source of information and comfort for those who need it, and I'd like to share the vitality that comes with almost losing everything. I believe we should give back as much as we receive, and we have received so many blessings that it will take a lifetime of giving back to make any headway at all. But, being so passionate about a cause like preemies also separates you from other moms who have no idea what you're talking about.
I don't want to be the zealot; I just want to share love. And I'm figuring that balance out.
A preemie mom is a fierce mom.
And sometimes a killjoy.