Sunday, May 13, 2007

Who's reading today?

Often, my posts are influenced heavily by knowing that one of the "characters" in the post is one of the central people in my life and also one of the people reading it. If you've read my take on anonymity, you know that by and large I accept the constraints of having my readers know me in the world. I maintain semi-anonymity as a way of trying to keep my readers in two groups: the group of people who know me and are reading because I invited them to by actually giving them my url or by identifying myself on their blog (if they blog); and the group of people people who are reading and know me only as I present myself on the web. (Which is another way of saying that I hope that if anyone who knows me stumbles on this blog they will either identify themselves or stop reading.)

Usually it's the real-life friends who make me conscious of what I write. But today it's a circle of bloggers whom I've joined from a place on the edge--women who have lost babies. I found them via Niobe, whom I first met when she commented on my story about Z.'s stay in the NICU, saying that she read it expecting to find Z. had died. She thought she had been reading too many babyloss blogs, but you know? That's what Z.'s first week felt like to me--like a death, like grief in its purest, train-wreck form. Of course, Z. didn't die, but there is a way in which Z.'s survival is the thing that has pulled me through her death that didn't happen.

Which I know is messed up--why do you think I'm in therapy?

So. Today is Mother's Day. And I know that this day must feel like a punch in the gut to many of my readers. I was thinking to sidestep the issue entirely by doing an anti-war post, and maybe I still will, later on, but I don't want to do one just to avoid looking at how hard this day must be for someone whose motherhood was cut short. (Although Mother's Day was first conceived as an anti-war event precisely because mothers of soldiers had the authority of grief on their side.) The women I have met via Niobe's blog speak so eloquently of their grief and their isolation from people who don't share their experience of loss, even as they support each other beautifully online. I don't want to add to that isolation. It could have been me, so easily.

What I would love would be for everyone to head over to Julia's and read her post on being a mother to both of her children. And if you know someone who has lost a child, or children (most of us do, if we haven't strategically forgotten), please be gentle with them today.