Friday, October 27, 2006


There's a two-and-a-half month old baby squalling down the hall from my office right now. Her mother works in an office near mine and is having childcare issues so her daughter is here with her today.

The sound of a small baby crying makes my insides start swirling in a confusing mess of emotions. Since I had Bubba, and with the passage of time, the sound is no longer like an ice cream scooper eviscerating my guts the way it was during my time between Hope's death and Bubba's birth. However, there's still a twinge there that hurts, along with an emotion I can't quite place but that I would term "muted delight."

I can't completely let go of the bitterness I feel toward people who came by their children easily. I can't quite excuse the thoughtlessness of someone who brings their baby to work without realizing what kind of heartbreak and pain they could be causing someone who has lost a child, had a miscarriage, or is infertile. I feel this way even though I've brought Bubba to work myself--albeit for short, very occasional visits, not for entire days like the woman down the hall. When I did make visits such as that, I often felt ill at ease, like I was playacting, starring as "the naive joyous perfect mother!" and was still aware that my visit could potentially be painful so I usually kept the whole thing as low key and short as possible.

This causes some consternation within me because I do feel like workplaces should be supportive of families--but I don't think that bringing the child to work is the answer. How about allowing someone to work from home (whether or not they have a child, for that matter)? Better yet, how about a real system of employer/government subsidized, affordable, decent, reliable childcare?

I remember so well how there were virtually no "safe" places for me to be after losing Hope. Even work was rife with pregnancy announcements, baby shower notices and baby-talk, but at least it didn't usually involve having to actually see or hear a brand-new infant. For people like me, I honestly believe that bringing a new baby to work can make the workplace just as "hostile" as sexual discrimination can. Maybe it just doesn't affect enough people.

Today, as I listen to that baby cry, I realize that no matter how old I get, and no matter how much time passes, it will always be a reminder of what I didn't hear when Hope was born--and what I did hear when Bubba came into this world.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Overheard on the bus in a midwestern college town

"So like, we used to live right next to the railroad tracks, right, so one day, my dad was like, looking out the window and saw the headlights of the train coming down the track, right, and like, there was this truck and trailer stuck on the tracks, and like, the trailer was full of, like, cows, and it couldn't get across in time and like, the train just smashed into it, and like, I'm not kidding, like, this truck just got completely, like, torn apart, and there were like, bits and pieces of like 17 cows all over the side of the railroad tracks. Seriously."

I know, I know, this is kind of a strange entry for my first blog post in what, three months or something? But I heard this on the bus and had to share it.

I've been working up to blogging again, so I'll try to come back with something a little more substantial next time.