Sunday, December 12, 2010

Faking it

Dear Stevie,
Sorry it's been so long since I've written to you. It's been a crazy busy week, and next week is going to be just as nuts. I am exhausted, physically and emotionally.

Since early Novemberish, I've been working on coordinating our annual 'Adopt a Family' event at work. This is my fourth year running the program, and every year it gets bigger and bigger (this year, over 3,000 families, children, and seniors were 'adopted' by over 500 sponsor groups!) In years past, I absolutely loved doing Adopt a Family. Just loved it. How awesome to be responsible for making so many people's wishes come true, right?! I loved reading all the wish lists as they came in, and the process of matching people in need with generous sponsors. I loved seeing all the beautifully wrapped presents being delivered, and receiving thank you cards from all the grateful recipients. It was all very magical.

This year, not so much. This year, it's all been really, really hard. For the last month and a half, I've had to read wish list after wish list for teenage girls with babies on the way, and for single moms with (literally) 11 kids. There was one mom who was 27 years old with a 15-year-old daughter (if I'm doing the math correctly, that means she was 12 when she had her first baby!) I'm sure I'm coming across as really bitchy and bitter, but it's just so hard to understand why all these mothers get to keep their babies and I didn't. It's also hard to feel as good about providing them with 'stuff' when they already have the one thing I wish for most: their children, alive. Making sure everyone gets cool toys or whatever just doesn't seem nearly as important as it did before.


Then, to make things even harder, it was right around this week, last year, that I found out I was pregnant with you (December 8th, to be exact). I totally associate Adopt a Family with the excitement and shock of seeing those two little lines. I wasn't even supposed to be at work for this year's event, as I'd have still been on maternity leave.

My heart has just not been in it this year, but I think I've done a pretty good job of keeping that to myself. If I've learned anything about myself, it's that I'm a very good faker. I can pretty easily compartmentalize and be the happy, cheerful, bubbly girl that I have to be, even while my heart is breaking on the inside. Is that what it means to be strong?

This weekend, during the big gift drop-off events, no one would have ever guessed how sad I was or what I had been through in the last year. I smiled as a group dropped off a baby swing, car seat, and the exact same crib I still have set-up for you in your nursery for their 'adopted' family. I laughed as I took pictures of Santa (who volunteers at the event) with a baby girl right around the age you should be right now. I nodded along as all my co-workers talked about everything they were getting their children for Christmas.

I'm proud of myself for being able to hide my true feelings so well. For my ability to push everything so far down inside of myself.

But there are times I worry these walls I've put up around myself will never come down. I worry I've become so good at faking it, I'm destined to simply fake my way through the rest of my life.

I want to be genuinely happy again. I want to be excited about Christmas. I want to not be so bitter and jealous. I want another life.

To say 'I miss you' would be an understatement.

Love,
Mom

22 comments:

Bethany said...

Oh Kristen... the tears are flowing over here. I wish I could bottle up some love and send it your way... if you like, I could send you some tears in a bottle? (Ok, that was supposed to be more funny than it seems) My heart aches for you... for all of us. I wish there wasn't a Baby Loss Communtity, I wish that we all could have our babies alive and healthy. If it matters at all... I think you are amazingly strong. I would never have had the courage to get through my days, if you weren't as strong as you seem to be. I have a friend who reminds me often that we all 'fake it til we make it', I guess that is a 'wonderful trait' that we learn when we feel so much sorrow. And now I think I'm just rambling... much love to you Kristin, just know that SO many people care about you.

Jessica said...

You brought me to tears. I can be a really good faker too. Too good in fact. Sometimes I upset myself because I think people think I'm this strong person and often I don't feel very strong. I want to genuinely enjoy things too and not have to think back and go "was I enjoying this or faking enjoying it" the fact that I can't tell sometimes is scary. That must have been so hard...(((hugs))) and much love to you!

Missy said...

Most definitely know where you are coming from and ditto on the pregnant teen thing. The ones I work with are in jail so that makes it seem all the more unfair. It makes absolutely no sense. I think the world forces us to put on the fake front because they couldn't handle seeing the true sadness in our hearts. I do think it is pure strength and the love for your daughter that has allowed you to continue to work with people in this capacity. The difference is you now understand the real meaning behind it all. Much love to you and Stevie!

Tiffany said...

kristin, you must be in my head. i wrote the exact line 'to say i miss you would be an understatement' to Juju this morning when i wrote him his letter. i have been faking it non-stop, and it is exhausting and draining. i just want my boy back. i don't want to do this without him, but i have no choice. sending you so much love during this exceptionally difficult month. ((hugs))

Kelly said...

"but it's just so hard to understand why all these mothers get to keep their babies and I didn't. It's also hard to feel as good about providing them with 'stuff' when they already have the one thing I wish for most: their children, alive."

I couldn't agree with this statement more. You're doing such a great thing for so many people but I think it's only natural, given the heartache that you're enduring, to feel this way.

Sending hugs to you.

rebecca said...

I have felt that same way at work, seeing many people who do not deserve to have the children they have and who neglect or abuse them. I have an extremely difficult time with those cases, I just can't feel compassionate towards them when as you said they have the one thing I want and they don't even care. Good for you for faking it, I can't even do that much these days. I am one that wears my heart on my sleeve most of the time and wish I could be a bit better at faking it!

delaney's mom said...

i understand how hard it can be to push those sad thoughts to the back of your mind. nothing about losing a child is easy, but at least you are doing something so great for those children in need that are still alive. thank you for your efforts.

Lori said...

I've thought that so many years as a teacher....how UNFAIR it was that so many people had these beautiful and amazing children and don't even realize what a blessing they are and *I* have to basically raise them, all the while desperately begging God to give me one of my own to raise.

So...when He did...but only for a few hours, yeah--teaching pretty much became a career of the past. I don't know that I'll ever feel I can go back. Or want to.

Like you...on so many days, I want a different life.

Proud of you for such a major accomplishment in your program...especially through such a difficult time anyway.
xoxo

Antoinette said...

<3 & </3............your job is so hard and i am so proud of what you were able to do, but my heart hurts for you cause i cant imagine doing that all. im not good at hiding my feelings....its not FAIR at all who gets the babies n who doesnt.....gifts for christmas are meaningless when the ONE TRUE gift was taken away....missing stevie with you today =*(

this isnt a bitter post, who ever thinks so clearly never had their baby die.

Melissa said...

Too miss you would be an understatement...isn't that true?

Franchesca said...

"Is this what it means to be strong?" I could't have said it better myself. I was always puzzled when people would comment on how 'strong' they thought I was, as if there was a way out.

And the thought of faking it through the rest of your life. It's rough. This whole time of the year just sucks big time, especially the first time. I am sad that you can't enjoy it, but am so proud of you for all you're doing in spite of your grief.

many many (((((hugs)))))

Dannii said...

oh kristin it just breaks my heart to read what you write... life can be cruel and i am sorry everyday that you and andy were not able to keep your beautiful daughter. we are sending you lots of love, especially over this christmas break. i cant believe Stevie has been gone for 7 months already... im sorry and i love you.
i know now is not the time to be thinking about taking a holiday, and im sorry i didnt think of that when i sent you that message on facebook, i hope i didnt upset you guys, i just thought it would be nice to see NY together :) anyway this message is to say i love you and am ALWAYS thinking of you. Youre amazing baby doll xx

CourtneyAnna said...

Fake it 'til you make it. I tell myself that every morning. Stay strong. These families appreciate you. It always gets better. I have a little saying, "Don't tell me everything is just fine. It really sucks right now, and that's ok."

Rhiannon said...

"I want another life." Yea, me too....everyday. It's to unfair. Much love and hugs to you.

Glass Case of Emotion said...

I could relate a lot to this post. I actually needed to leave my last job over something similar. But I didn't want to lose my job, I wanted my baby.

Thinking of you through the difficult holiday time...

Andrea said...

Just today, I was thinking about the bitterness that I felt/feel and how I wished I never knew those feelings. As for faking it, I could have been an actress, as faking it till you make it had become my mantra.

Thinking of you always and sending peace and comfort your way. The holidays are so incredibly difficult.

Much Love
xxx

allenaim photography and design said...

...kind of random...

I would like to send you a letter...please send me an address where I could send something for you...

allenaimphotography@yahoo.com

I don't know your loss, but I feel deeply for you...I know those words don't do anything justice, but I truly hurt for you...but know nothing of your pain...

croleyc69 said...

Thinking of you and what a great post.

Caroline

pennynjon said...

((Hugs)) I feel like I am "faking it" a lot too. I know exactly what you mean....I wish more than anything we could have our daughters with us this Christmas.

Suzy said...

I am almost three years out and I am still faking it. Still making my way through the days feeling like breaking down into messy screamy tears. But I stuff it way down and get on with life. Perhaps that is all we can do?
To be honest, whole days do pass without me wanting to break down. Perhaps 30 years from now, I will feel like I can finally stop faking it and live happiness for real.

ps I am hating Christmas this year too.

Lilly's Mom (Desiree) said...

been thinking about and praying for you <3 hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

amy said...

Miss your posts...looking forward to the next one whenever you feel like writing again!

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