This is the post where I’m supposed to reflect on 2012 and look ahead to 2013. I will do neither. We’ve had an immensely strange event in our family during the past few weeks, and I’ve tussled with the idea of sharing that here. I read an essay a few days ago about how emotional and sentimental our society has become. Whereas we once would have heard the intimate stories of only close friends, we’re now assailed with dozens of these stories daily via social media — our heartstrings tugged so frequently that they fray.
I’m not proposing that we return to the old days of hiding our problems. We shouldn’t have to suffer alone. I’ve had people ask whether I regret writing about Genevieve. I do not.
In the early months, I found several blogs written by other women who had survived a stillbirth, women ahead of me on the road of grief, and those blogs helped keep me going. I didn’t personally know anyone with the same experience. I met people through a support group, but often those people would come to only a meeting or two before disappearing. The bloggers were steadfast. And their stories were just like mine — 30-year-old women with perfectly planned pregnancies, good medical care, and babies who died for no apparent reason.
I needed to tell my story for my own healing, to unburden myself of just a few drops of this ocean. After a while, I heard from people who had found solace here and friends looking for advice on helping others through loss. If I helped one person feel less alone, that was enough.
But as the essay says, if you tell everything to everyone, how can you establish intimacy? What is left to bind you to close friends? I know that I cannot expect every person I meet to continue to ooze sympathy for what now seems a nearly endless tale of woe. (Please let the woe end already!)
I easily draw lines in writing about other people. I don’t publish anything that would badly embarrass Greg and Eleanor, though Greg sometimes begs to differ. I mostly steer clear of politics, religion, and other topics that might threaten my relationships and job prospects. When it comes to my own personal story though, I’m still fidgeting with the line. I never expected to have so much to tell.