Friday, May 09, 2008

not everyone feels like we do

If you're a preeclampsia survivor, you likely have hyper-sensitive hearing now when it comes to that word..........preeclampsia. If you hear it, ears perk up and you instinctively react and start listening. You want to know what's being said, whether it's on the news, in a movie or TV show, or in a live conversation that you overhear......which is what happened to me this week.

I was at my son's school, volunteering for a luncheon being given for teachers (Teacher Appreciation Week). We're relatively new at the school, and I don't yet know a lot of the other parents who are active in PTA, etc. We had some down time after we got it set up and were just waiting for teachers to come by and fill their plates. A couple of the other moms were chatting and they apparently already knew each other, so I was just standing nearby and half-way listening to the conversation since it didn't include me. Until I heard that word. She said something like "and then she's going to the doctor twice a week because of the preeclampsia".

I'm truly a pretty shy person, if you meet me in real life. Not very good at meeting and talking to people I don't know; I almost have to force myself to break out and be social, etc because it's not very comfortable to do so. And I wasn't a part of this conversation at all......but after she said this, and I was standing right beside her, she paused a minute and nothing was said. So the power of that word drew me in, and I said "ooh, you said the magic word to me, preeclampsia, because I had that with both of my babies".


Wait for her to say something like "oh, really? What was the situation? Were they preemies?" etc etc etc etc.

Nope, nothing. Just an awkward pause, then she resumes her conversation with the other lady, almost as if I'd not even spoken. The other lady says "when's she due again?" and the first lady says "the 19th". So this tells me that she's about 38 weeks, which is a good thing of course, and quite different from my situations. But something about the way they were discussing this gave me the impression that they didn't think that the PE was all that serious or a very big deal. They immediately went off into giggling over an "argument" about on which day the baby would actually arrive.

I was just mildly irritated at the time, but now that I've had time to think it over, I feel more sad than mad. The words "kindred spirit" come to mind, because as weird as it may sound, that's how I almost instantly feel when I run across another PE survivor, or even hear someone talking about one. The connection of a shared experience, shared understanding of something that a big majority of the world doesn't even know exists. And yet when I reached out to this woman, shared something of myself, it was basically ignored and treated as if it was no big deal instead of as an instant connection and bond.

I just thought that everyone who'd been touched by PE would feel like I do, but apparently not. The community of people who understand is small enough already; it's sad to think that even among the PE survivors and their families, some don't seem to have been touched in quite the same way. Kind of a lonely feeling.


Jen said...

Ditto Jen. Hugs lady. I'm so glad we have each other as "kindred spirits."

Jen :)

niobe said...

I completely understand what you mean, but, personally, I have a lot of trouble seeing most pre-e survivors as kindred spirits. In fact, I usually try to avoid them.

About a year and a half ago, I lost my twins to preeclampsia. Since then, I've felt this horrible, irrational jealousy of those women (the vast majority) who had pre-e, but whose babies survived.

The Martin Family said...

Hi, my name is Mallory and I have two babies, a 30 weeker who is now 2 and a 31 weeker who is turning 1 on next Tuesday. I had pre-e with both of them and I just found your blog. I feel like you were echoing my feelings with this blog. My time in the NICU and the hospital was the most horrifying time of my life. Sometimes I still want to talk about it even though everyone else is sick of talking about it!

stacey said...

Hi, my sister just had her baby 3 weeks ago but she is still in hospital because of hellp. I totally get this post. From now on if I hear this word, I will definately make myself heard!!! Its one of the ways to make people more aware.