Pity

5 Aug

We all say we don’t want pity when life hands us a heaping pile of lemons. But do we mean it? Pity has a negative slant to it but isn’t pity, when kindly intended, just another word for sympathy?

That’s the other reason it’s been difficult to share too much of our situation with those we know and for me here on this blog. I don’t want to look like I’m trolling for pity. I don’t want to be all “woe is me,” even though sometimes? Woe really IS me.

I do want sympathy but I don’t want pity. Not because pity is a dirty thing but because I don’t want to be pitiable. It pains me to think of people saying “I’m sorry” to our faces, while thinking “thank god that’s not me” silently to themselves. I never thought I’d be one others would pity, especially not at this part of my life. Sympathy feels good but pity makes me sad. Thinking of others pitying us makes it feel like this really is as bad as all that.

And yet I want to say to some, don’t skip over my pain. Don’t minimize what I’m going through. Don’t talk to me like everything is normal because it is not. I feel this distance growing between me and my closest girlfriends because they just can’t begin to understand.

I know, I sound impossible to please. The truth is that the needs of someone in the midst of a serious and ongoing personal situation like this are ever changing. I need people to be there for me and yet I need space. I need friends and family to walk that fine line between pity and sympathy. I need to be handled with care without feeling like I’m being handled with care.

You’d think the people here in the hospital would be the best at walking those lines but some of the comments we’ve had from people you wouldn’t believe. Last week I had J in the Baby Bjorn and was walking her around the floor while also wheeling along her IV pole when someone with a staff badge passed me, looked at our pole and said, “that’s a lot of baggage!”

How do you respond to something like that? A cutesy, “We don’t travel light!” with a laugh. Or a more pointed “thanks for the reminder!” Because I had almost for a second began to get used to OUR normal before you reminded me how fucked up it really is.

Or there was a doctor, the head of surgery no less, who suggested on rounds that maybe I don’t hold her enough as the reason she had been vomiting two nights in a row. That slayed me. I make every effort to hold her as much as possible, just usually not at the time rounds come by.

Other docs are amazing though. One surgeon, a male no less, had the awareness to acknowledge how good it is that I managed to have some breastmilk for her (about a month’s supply, for what it’s worth), since that’s the easiest thing for her newly working bowel to digest. I’ve thought about a whole post on the challenges of exclusively pumping while living in the hospital but how many different ways are there to explain how much it sucks to exclusively pump while living in the hospital (and having gallbladder attacks and your gallbladder removed). I did my best but in the past weeks despite my efforts, my supply has gone down and down. I’m now dry, and sad for it because I so wanted to experience breastfeeding J. We had a few times where we practiced with latching and it was wonderful.

Oh well. Next baby. (Now that really is a whole other post.)

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8 Responses to “Pity”

  1. Mo August 12, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    I TOTALLY get where you’re coming from. I felt exactly the same way after losing Nadav. it really is frustrating when your emotional needs are that confusing and up in the air. But from everything you’re describing, you’re handling it like a champ. Hang in there! Lots of love.

  2. Katie August 13, 2013 at 12:50 am #

    I’ve been thinking about you and that sweet baby…

  3. Ms. Future PharmD August 15, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    Hugs. I wish things could be easier for you and I hope everything continues to improve.

  4. Amanda E. Perrine (@amandaea129) August 16, 2013 at 1:26 am #

    I wish I had a good comment to this post. Instead I’ll just say that I keep you and Turtle in my thoughts and that you are a rock star mom for all you’re dealing with.

    readingeachpage.blogspot.com

  5. oilandgarlicjj August 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    I just had to say something because you nailed down my thoughts / feelings with this post and your previous “Trying”. I am winning the Pain Olympics against my will and I completely understand what you’re going through. IVF was hell for me. The NICU was a rollercoaster ride that largely got ignored once we found out our child has a lifelong disability. I hope your outcome is much better. It’s hard to imagine when you’re in the thick of NICU but I hope you and your family will soon see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  6. Tamika October 3, 2013 at 3:20 am #

    I hope you all are doing well, healing and existing as peacefully as possible. I know I don’t know you, but one mom to another, I think of your family every day and pray, for what it’s worth, that you all can cope well with whatever comes your way. Thank you for sharing a little bit of your life with us. It makes the world less lonely.

  7. Donna October 8, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    Thinking about you lately. Hoping and praying that J and your family are doing ok.

  8. Katherine November 6, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    Anything new? Any updates?

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