Sunday, June 24, 2012
this is why I can't watch Disney movies right now
This afternoon, we put on Finding Nemo for G to watch as he's fighting off this week's sickness. The poor kid's toes are still peeling from the remnants of hand, foot, mouth disease and now he's been running a fever for three days. G formed a rash on his neck just before the fever started, and he's showing signs of a sore throat, so I hope it's just a cold. If the fever hasn't gone away by middle of the week, I guess we'll have to take him in. Boy, he'll love that torture. Especially because they'll probably shove a strep test down his throat.
I stepped out of the room during the beginning of the movie. I couldn't stand watching Marlin lose both his wife (mate? partner? girl?) and all of his children except one. Because Nemo lost his mother and siblings, he'll always be an only child. Marlin suffers from post traumatic anxiety and can't let Nemo out of his sight without freaking out that his son will get hurt.
Sound familiar? I saw a lot of myself in Marlin. After my first miscarriage, I went through a period of a couple of months when I thought something might happen to G at any moment. I would wake up and think he had died in this sleep. I couldn't spend more than ten minutes at a park because I would have images of him falling and getting hurt flash through my mind. I would see him fall down the stairs or break a leg while trying to go down a slide.
It didn't help that he had already gotten hurt going down a slide (with me). It also didn't help that we had a trip to the emergency room less than 24 hours before we found out that baby #2 had died because G had busted his eyelid open on the coffee table. Being a toddler, he was a ticking time bomb for bruises, cuts, and trips to the ER. I couldn't take it.
Marlin in Finding Nemo can't bear to see his only son go off on his own. He can't let him play like the other kids because his son was born with a deformed fin and also because Marlin himself is always afraid Nemo will get hurt. Only once he sees how strong and resilient Nemo actually is does he finally begin to relax. Once Marlin realizes his son isn't going to randomly die on him, he can put his family's tragic deaths behind him and move on.
Almost exactly two months after we found out about my first miscarriage, we were in Alabama visiting my parents. We went to a park and G wanted to go down a slide. My heart was pounding but I let him do it by himself. Not only is it so much safer for him to go down the slide by himself to begin with - I found myself relaxing the more he did it without getting injured. Those knots inside of me loosened and began to let go.
We went to more and more parks after that, and I encouraged him to go down slides. The more slides he went down, loving every moment, the more I relaxed. A little over a month after this moment, I began to even stay on the ground while he explored by himself, only helping when he asked or walked down stairs without a rail. And it felt awesome.
Then, of course, miscarriage #2 happened.
I know it's only been a week since the actual miscarriage started, though we found out two and a half weeks ago. My hormones took a huge dip a couple of days ago, which took a toil on me emotionally, but otherwise I've managed to stay upbeat. My post postpartum anxiety that happened after baby #2 hasn't happened after baby #3. At least, not yet. I know more about what to look for and avoid, and I'm trying my best to stay hopeful.
However, I do wonder if my kiddo will stay an only child like Nemo. Will I have to tell him, when he's older, about all those babies I tried to have and lost? About the siblings that might have been? I know lots of only children who were perfectly happy growing up that way, so I try not to assume that he'll be lonely. But my child won't have a ton of cousins running around with him like I did. He'll always be the oldest by at least a couple of years, and I yearn to give him a life-long playmate to share his ups and downs.
Maybe those losses will be something I can share with my two kids when they ask about all of those extra ultrasound photos we kept or the picture of the lion with angel wings on the wall. Eventually, we'll have to say enough is enough and give up on trying to have a second baby. But not right now.