Our eyes met in the crowd of people who had come out to celebrate yet another child dedication. It was purely accidental. I wasn’t even thinking about this woman, a woman I would prefer to call Mrs K. It just happened, but as our eyes clicked, I was forcefully reminded that just a few months back, she had suffered a miscarriage.
That was a pregnancy that came after a few years of waiting, and I wondered how she could exude such happiness over another woman’s joy. My heart broke for her, but there is a consistency to Mrs K’s celebration of happy events. She has always been like that, and it took someone using the example of a gliding graceful swan on water, while paddling like crazy beneath the surface, that I began to wonder about the unseen activities.
I may never see a public display of her TTC frustrations, and she doesn’t owe the world one, but I can certainly relate to the feeling of so much going on behind closed doors. What interests me most about her and other TTC moms I know is the ability to push their pain to the back and get on with the business of being, not just living. Of not allowing their TTC realities define their whole experience.
For Bioye, it was a bittersweet moment when she went to her baby sister’s house to take care of her after she gave birth to her first child. Her sister, Tosin, is her youngest sister, with two other siblings between them. Their mother had always done the honours, but a year before Tosin gave birth, their mother died, literally passing on the baton to her. So, it was expected that Bioye would assume any responsibility which would have been their mother’s.
She was still recovering from the fact that her mother never saw her become a mother and that, she, who had never herself given birth, was going to help take care of her sister who had. It just didn’t seem right. She strongly thought about refusing to go, but her baby sister was already crying over the phone and her husband encouraged her to go spend time with the new baby.
Bioye went and performed a motherly role. The sisters cried over the loss of their mom, they cried over the obvious fact that Bioye was yet to carry her own child. They laughed at the antics and love in the eyes of the new born. Even though she had planned to stay for only a month, she stayed for three months, proof of how deeply in love with the baby she fell. Even after leaving, she took on baby-sitting duties almost all the time, so much so that the baby boy had a whole lot of stuff at her home, as he spent a considerable amount of time there. For him, it was like having two sets of loving parents.
The bond formed in those days has lasted over a decade.
While the ten year old boy knows who his mother is, he calls his aunt ‘Mom’ also, the only difference is the inflection in his voice, which lets them know who he is referring to per time.
Bioye finally got her own baby, after fifteen years of waiting; twin girls. By this time, her sisters had finished childbirth, and her sister-in-law was considering it. It is just a case of better late than never. In all of this time, she took on the role of caring for all the pregnancies that came along for her siblings, playing the role of stand-in mother while still TTC. Some days were better than others but she never lost her joy.
Hats off to Bioye, and women like her, who find ways to put aside their own issues, pains and rejoice with other people. It takes a really large heart to do this and if a woman doesn’t feel inclined to do this, it doesn’t mean they are bad or self-absorbe. It just means they are being true to themselves.
And people don’t necessarily like people who are true to themselves. Oftentimes, we want people to follow the script we have written in our minds for them. It’s just too bad, because even we don’t follow the script we write for ourselves all the time.
People are afraid of bad news or unpleasant surprises, or how else would you explain a mother who chastised her heartbroken daughter for ruining a beautiful day by sharing the news of miscarriage with her on her brother’s wedding day, just because she couldn’t show up, as she was still at the hospital.
“How dare you tell me that on a day that’s supposed to be happy? You just ruined our celebration.” Derayo’s mother said angrily.
It is not only heart-breaking, it is just sad. So, who does she turn to, if she cannot have the comfort of her mother? If Derayo had not been hospitalised, she would have put her on her party face and stepped out, even with her heart breaking.
The first step to celebrating with others even while heartbroken is simply by quitting the pity party
Yes, you are down but not out. You’re alive, thus there is still hope, so you don’t need to let that pity party last too long.
Your being alive means you have enough power to move forward, to try again. You won’t get your life back on track if you keep dwelling on the past. The reality is, whether you choose to dwell on your problem or engage positively with people, life still goes on.
Do it for the ones you love:
Not every mom is like Derayo’s mom, who was more concerned about her happiness at her son’s wedding at the expense of her daughter’s heartbreak over her miscarriage. There are people who genuinely care about you, or that you truly care about.
So, even if they are not emotionally sensitive, we can be joyous for their sakes. You must learn to know when to wear the party hat and not be a Debbie Downer, for the sake of our hearts and the hearts of those we love.
You fall asleep, wake up and go through the day with negative, obsessive thoughts. Do you think it will change the situation? Will you feel better or happier? That is not likely to happen, so set new goals and plan how to achieve them.
Have new experiences, these will heal parts of your life.
And I know, it will not be an easy ride, but you are a strong mama. You can do it.
Likewise, no matter how hard it is, we need to rejoice with those who share good news and surround them with love and support, even when we are suffering heartbreak of our own.
We do that a lot in our community, and it’s so heart-warming. I tell you, every single time that happens, it just melts my heart; people are good.
We need to celebrate in the midst of our mourning. Because this is how we do life with real people…there is always going to be both good and bad news around.
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