Friday, May 17, 2013

Trigger Shot

How are you?

I'm often asked this question right now. With Nathan hovering at just past the one month mark this question has hovered on many lips near me...

I usually say pretty good or okay or managing or tired. All of these answers are true some of the time.

While the answers are true they are not answering the question people are asking. People are asking me how I'm managing with a newborn and I am answering about how I'm managing living without Eva.  And they aren't answers that I want to give. One time I answered well, we're missing Eva always but we're doing really well with Nathan. I got a sigh and the question repeated what I mean is how are you doing physically since having a baby?

Oh, well, if that's all you're asking then I'm doing really great. I gained 20 pounds this pregnancy and already lost 25 pounds thanks to eating Trim Healthy Mama style while I was pregnant, and beyond. I got my placenta encapsulated and that has really helped balance my hormones after the birth. I had a touch of baby blues with every birth and I knew that this time I would be at high-risk for real post partum depression. I wanted to take every measure possible to avoid this happening.

But nobody asks me how I'm coping with watching Nathan and seeing Eva. Few comment on his physical similarities to his sister. I point out that his left ear is an exact wrinkly replica of Eva's. People only wonder at how I'm coping with Nathan. Nathan is doing great. He is doing his job. He is eating. He is sleeping. He is pooping. Most importantly, he is growing. Something Eva wasn't very good at. He's getting excellent medical attention. Also something that lacked in his sister's early life.  He nurses really well. Another thing his sister didn't. The similarities and differences in their lives abound.

He is loved and we are blessed (and paranoid) to have him. We are thankful for every moment we spend with him and he is not a little spoiled. 

But how are you...well, that's a question akin to asking me how many children I have...what are you really asking...what do you want to hear...please be clear. It's one of those loaded questions around here...and you didn't know you were carrying a gun, did you, until you pulled the trigger.


  1. I struggled with that a lot, for a long time I couldn't accept? that Amanda was her own person. That she deserved to be as celebrated as any of the others and yes that meant in the beginning most questions would resolve around her. It was really hard for me because I didn't want to because it made me feel like I was wronging her but celebrating this new "replacement". Its hard. It sounds to me like you are handling things pretty well, I was a mess for the most part. Constantly waking up from a dead sleep knowing 100% in my heart that she was dead and I was again holding a dead baby in my arms. I didn't see many similiarites in my kids as babies, but then again I think people are crazy when they look at a newborn and say they look identical to dad or cousin or whomever. THey all look like wrinkled little old people lol. Its funny because I rememeber being asked the same question. How are you doing physically after having the baby? I immediately went into the emotions and paranoia that had overtaken my life where they simply wanted to know how I was handling my post csection pain and making sure I was taking it as easy as possible etc. Its hard road. Im so glad little man is growing so well.

    1. Jenny, You're right that our rainbows are their own person and they deserve to be celebrated for themselves. And I do. I couldn't love Nathan more. And I have those 'I'm sure my baby is dead' moments all the time. I check his breathing 5 times a nap. In regards to looking alike. All my kids' baby pictures look the same. If I mixed them up I wouldn't be able to tell them apart. They have some unique traits but they are so similar it's uncanny. It's just that I guess I want Eva to be included in the how are yous...people often ask how the older kids are handling the new I'm doing physically...I don't know...maybe I expect too much.

  2. I like this post and I get it. However I hope you know that when I ask "how are you" I actually mean how are you coping without Eva today. I know how you are physically and I know you're enjoying Nathan. The ever aching hurt in your heart brings you to tears at times, makes you smile at memories, its always sneeking up in different ways. That's what I'm asking about. You can say "fine" or whatever, I try to read you and decode your tone. Im just blabbing on about stuff you already know. I just miss you and can't wait to come home. I'm so thankful that coffee with you is part of home.

    1. Oh Holly,
      Your words and how are yous are much deeper than most. I know what you are asking when you ask. I know you care and that you miss Eva along with me. And that means more than you (even you!) will ever know, I hope. I'm looking forward to you coming home too. And I'm also glad that coffee with you is part of my home too:)

  3. Oh, the dreaded "how are you?" I'm also guilty of asking it, and always feel bad. Like I should know better. But it's funny how even after knowing all we know we can still fall into those social nicety traps.

    "and you didn't know you were carrying a gun, did you, until you pulled the trigger." YES! This, exactly.

    Thank you for an honest post. xoxo

  4. Ah Amanda,
    I loved that trigger line I came up with at the end. I love writing.
    But yes, I also fall into the trap of social niceties. I asked a mom who had struggled with infertility if this was her first. I didn't know her well but I saw her hesitate to answer and then choose to say 'yes'. I could have kicked myself and longed to say more but I was at a garage sale surrounded by people. There was no where to go and I hated myself for putting a mom in that position. But, ultimately, we choose our answers depending on our feelings and how we perceive the other person to be and, sometimes, just the weather or the date...she saw me sitting there with 4 kids and a newborn and probably thought I had no clue...

  5. What hurts is when people dont seem to WANT to know how I'm doing with losing Isiaah. They'd rather pretend life is just wonderful-- they know how to talk about living babies, just not about dead ones. I guess they feel awkward bringing it up-- but oh how I wish they would!

    1. The sad reality is that most people actually don't want to know how were doing...or maybe they do want to know but only to know not to talk to you about.
      The other reality is that even I sometimes am not sure what to say to a newly bereaved parent. There is no manual is there. What might help you might not help me. Ah, the conundrum.
      Hugs to you Julie as you travel the dark road.