so after reading heather spohr's post today and feeling insanely jealous that she got to go see ellen degeneres, i want to share with you why ellen and i are best friends (a fact she still isn't aware of).
it all started three years ago, a couple of months after Charlie died. i know i haven't gotten to that point in my story yet, but if you've been following me (let's hear is for the sexy 7!), you probably figured that that's where we were headed with Charlie. there's a reason i capitalize his name and no one else's...actually, i don't even know why i do that. i always capitalize the names of anyone who has died. don't ask me why, i just do.
but i digress....so a few months after Charlie died, i happened to tune into the ellen degeneres show. i was hooked. it was love at first sight. i found myself smiling for the first time in months. i of course felt guilty smiling and enjoying something. but, for that time, it was an hour out of my day where i could get halfway into another world. it kept my attention long enough to prevent a breakdown. however, i did have a problem with her show. it was the way that she treated anything dealing with babies. i mean, she really does talk about babies a lot. she always asks her guests about their kids, she kisses the bellies of her pregnant audience members, she shows funny videos of babies...but, i tried to just tune that part out and continued watching. it was my escape...or at least as much of an escape as my mind would allow.
then, in may of 2009 i was having yet another sleepless night and i decided to write to ellen. mother's day was coming up, and i was feeling really horrible. i was pregnant with the Twins, and even though i was filled with hope, i felt like shit. just plain shit. Charlie was gone. i didn't know what i was. nobody would have any clue that i was a mother if they saw me walking down the street. i felt alone, ignored, betrayed, left out...do you want me to keep going with the description? i started to wonder...am i really even a mom? i know i was pregnant, i know i delivered a baby, but what am i? i was desperate for someone to make mother's day really special for me. i was dying inside. so, i wrote ellen the letter that i'm putting below. i didn't send it right away though. i couldn't decide whether or not i actually wanted to take the plunge and hit the send button. a few days later, ellen announced that for mother's day her entire audience was going to be pregnant people. i thought someone had just driven an knife through me. i don't know why it hurt so badly, but hearing that just made my heart sink, and i stopped watching her show right then and there. i couldn't take it anymore.
a couple months ago, i decided to give ellen another shot. i started recording it again (yeah right, like i'm going to sit through commercials). i've been watching her faithfully for a few months now, and i have to say that i'm happy to be back. i still get upset with the way she talks about babies and whatnot, but having LS makes it easier to cope with that anger and frustration. so, i wrote ellen again. this time, i actually sent the message. the first message i sent basically told the story i just told you (in a lot fewer words). i didn't have room to include my original letter, so i wrote her again a week or so later and put in my original letter. NO RESPONSE!!!!! man!!!!! not that i was really expecting one, but i was hoping. in my first letter, i asked her if she would fill her audience this mother's day with moms who have lost. yeah i know...totally unrealistic and depressing, but it would sure make one hell of a point. i gaurentee she wouldn't have to look very hard to fill up her seats with loss moms. think how amazing that would be. think how many stories would be in the room.
which brings me to my rant of the day...WHY THE F*** DO PEOPLE IGNORE INFANT LOSS? i swear, sometimes i get so mad about it that i feel like my head is going to explode. am i totally nuts? does anyone else feel like infant loss is a completely taboo topic that no one talks about? all these damn commercials, movies, tv stars, movie stars, magazines....EVERYWHERE you look, it's one happy baby story after another. i've watched the show NICU only a couple times, then i had to stop watching. all the babies i saw went home. am i living in a completely warped world or something? i swear, i really didn't know about infant loss until it slammed me in the face. i didn't even know it was a possibility anymore. i thought that with today's modern medicine, babies always lived. i'll ask the question again, and hopefully now that i have the sexy 7 followers, i hope someone will respond....am i the only idiot out there? i feel like i was SO stupid, SO ignorant. am i justified in my opinion that nobody talks about loss? what is going on here? sometimes i feel like i'm living in a completely different world than what i see in the media.
so that's why i have my pie-in-the-sky dream of ellen filling her audience with loss moms. i don't know about others, but it would mean the absolute world to me to be recognized as a mom on mother's day...not because i have one living son, but because i have four children altogether.
here's the original letter i wrote to ellen...
“Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and I wanted to ask you to recognize a very special group of mothers. We are mothers that are often overlooked or avoided. Overlooked because many do not consider us to be mothers, and avoided because it is too awkward and painful to confront us. We are the mothers whose babies have passed away. We find ourselves asking “What am I?”. What are the criteria for being a mother? We carried a life, many of us gave birth, and many of us were even able to hold our babies. Yet we are not changing diapers and pushing around strollers. We are not kept awake by 3 AM feedings, but we have our own struggles that we must face. What do we say when someone asks us if we have children? What do we do with the car seat and the crib that we purchased in anticipation of our baby’s arrival? How do we hope for another baby without feeling that we are betraying the memory of the one we lost? Every mother has a story, and we all deserve to be remembered – whether our child is with us or not.
I’m hoping you’ll pass along two messages for me. First, to the family and friends of a grieving mother – acknowledge us! We are longing to have our child’s existence and our motherhood validated. And to all of the grieving mothers out there –you are still a mom! Your arms are empty, but your heart is not. Your love does not die when your baby dies. Your love for your child grows every day, and this is what makes you a mom. So to all moms out there, and especially to grieving moms, I hope you have a very special Mother’s Day.”