Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Game

Amy at Humble Musings recently wrote a post about the birth story game.  You know the one, where moms try to top each other in the re-calling of the agony of their births.  It was a good post but it got me thinking of how much I dislike that game.

It isn't because I never win, I am anything but competitive when it comes to games, which stands me in good stead for letting my toddlers win Candyland to just get it over with.  Trust me, I will never win at this game, I've never had a contraction and had a nap 20 minutes before my first planned c-section.  The nap alone automatically disqualifies me from the game.

No, I don't like it it because of some of those present when the game is played.  Cindy for example.  She has been waiting for 27 months now to hold her baby.  For reasons not fully explained the adoption process from China has slowed to an agonizing crawl and she can't even begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Meanwhile she is stuck at this shower listening to women go on and on when her 27 month wait puts 12 hours of labour to shame.  But she doesn't say that, she just munches her nachos and waits for the stories to end.

Then there is Beth.  No one know this, but she just had her second miscarriage after putting her body through the agony of IVF.  Twice.  She may be smiling and laughing outside but inwardly she wants to hurl the chip bowl across the room in grief and outrage at the sheer injustice of life.  The birth stories just mock the emptiness she feels.

Don't forget Kelly.  Everyone loves Kelly.  She's hosting the baby shower tonight because she is such a good friend.  She's hosted all kinds of showers through the years but has yet to have one thrown for her.  Kelly is still looking for Prince Charming but all she has ever gotten are a few toads.  She has learned to enjoy the life she has and does well for herself, but she would trade her condo, career and carefree lifestyle in a heartbeat for poopy diapers and a husband who often forgets to take out the trash.  She has heard so many birth stories she could tell her own and you'd never know it was made up.  But each re-telling reminds her again and again that she may never have her own.

I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with sharing our experiences.  It's just sometimes a good idea to make sure that everyone present really wants to hear it.  Games are only fun when everyone gets to play.


Dawn and Dale said...

AWESOME post!!!!!!!

WOW...I LOVE how you wrote this out! My heart HURTS sooooo much when I see someone at these "games" who just can't "play along". :(

Thanks for sharing!!

Still loving your blog!!!!


Tez said...

ah the brokenness we women hide from each other, the competition to be the ideal mom, wife, homemaker, often gets in the way of being attentive and caring to the situtation of our sisters.
great post.

Char and Avery said...

I agree, (I've been the one staring at the big bellies and aching inside) and honestly, there are even expectant 'first time' mothers there who are literally petrified of giving birth, and yet are obligated to sit through the telling.

Kudos to all of these women who are kind and loving to oblivious and blessed women. They are strong in spite of circumstances that bring us to our knees. Blessings,

Love you

Janet said...

I LOVED this post! It is ALL too true! We need to be careful who we spout off too and who we tell our stories too. I hate those "I can ONE UP YOU" games!!!!

a Tonggu Momma said...

Can I just say that I am standing up over here, applauding you?!!?!?!?!

Thank you so, so much.


You have now officially earned a position as one of my new BFFs. Sorry if you didn't realize that would happen, but there it is.

Deal with it.

KnittinChick said...

Yippee yi yeah!!!! Happy Geek is my newest hero. Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for walking in my shoes.

And trying to put on my impartial hat... I don't think that women otherwise like to talk about the fluids that come out of their nose, nasty flu bugs or traveling 'runs' at parties. That would seem gross, wouldn't it?

mommyknows said...

Very good points! I enjoyed the post.

Veronica @Toddled Dredge said...

I read Bruce Cameron's book How to Remodel a Man, and he mentioned attending a baby shower with a pregnant friend. When all the women started telling their horror stories and his friend started looking green, he earned all the competitors' resentment by saying things like, "But it wasn't really that bad, right? Because you had another baby, right? If pregnancy and childbirth were really that horrible, then every child would be an only child, right?"

prechrswife said...

Found your blog via TongguMomma, and I have to say I've been in all of those places. Very well-written...

Carla said...

Another from TongguMommma...and OH SO VERY TRUE. Bah.

JCK said...

This is a very important post, HG. It is incredibly empathetic and I can't tell you how much this would mean to so many women - each one, one of the stories you described. I remember well, when I was going through all the infertility treatments how difficult baby showers were. I didn't even want to go. Thank you for this.

Man you're hitting 'em out of the ballpark this week!

BlogHer ads look awesome.