Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I (use to) love babies

I (use to) love babies. I mean really love them. I was never one of those people who would oooo and ahhh over them like your annoying aunt who pinches cheeks and exclaims "isn't she just the most PRECIOUS thing!!!" (Which I actually find embarassing and irritating and kind of demeaning to the baby. Can you tell I'm not a gusher?) But, I was interested in babies and children in a way I wasn't interested in a lot of other things.

This interest goes back many many years. At age 12 I was signing books out at the library about pregnancy and early child rearing. I was interested in how babies develop in the womb, the changes a woman's body undergoes during pregnancy and facinated by the birth process. I wanted to learn about how parents begin to respond to invidividual baby cues, when babies can be expected to reach certain milestones, and how important early bonding with a parental figure is. I learned all about stretch marks, lochia, and breastfeeding years before I even hit high school.

In grade 8 I was so excited to take infant and child CPR lessons as part of my babysitting course. I fell in love with the children I babysat, took very good care of them and developed a really good relationship. I miss those kids to this day and wonder if they ever think of me. I took a course in high school on infant and child development. In university I started reading the paper and was always interested in news articles that concerned babies and young children. Whether it was reports about new research into autism, the 'back to sleep' campaign or the best diet for children, I read it. My absolute favourite course in university (and my highest mark) was in Embrology...the study of the developing embryo into a fetus.

As you can imagine, it was no accident that I became an NICU nurse. I did not go to nursing school to become a nurse...I went to nursing school to become an NICU nurse. Pediatrics would have been my second choice.

And's all gone.

I no longer really care to read the articles in the paper about childhood obesity or what the hottest toys will be this holiday season. I no longer want to hear all about your 5 year old's ballet classes, or your 1o year old's struggle with homework. I especially do not want to hear about your granddaughter's pregnancy and how she is suffering with nausea into her 5th month. I whiz past the baby clothes at the mall. I don't make funny faces to entertain the little girl on the subway anymore. I only glance at the pregnancy and early childhood development books in the bookstore and at the library. They used to be so interesting and contain so much that I wanted to, I just want to avoid it all.

I can fake it for work...and when I'm in the moment, I do enjoy the kids. They are funny and cute, and most are very smart...but somehow (and this sounds awful) it makes it easier that they are sick. I'm not sure I could take being around healthy normal children all day long.

It's sad. A huge part of my personality and interest was babies and children. It's what I built my career on. Now I just generally just wish to avoid them as much as possible. Not because they no longer interest me...but because they remind me of what I have lost, and what I'm afraid I will never have.

Have any of your interests changed in the wake of your loss? Does this surprise you?


  1. My Mom was a nurse and I spent hours as a child looking through her old textbooks and all the pictures of babies and children. My favorite course in university was child development. If Embrology had been offered, I definitely would have taken that one too.

    My interests have changed. When my sister was pregnant the first time, I knew everything that was going on. I knew exactly how far along she was, I checked the development updates all the time and I started knitting for her baby. She is 13 or 14 weeks pregnant now (I'm not really keeping track) and I feel terrible, but I don't really want to know anything about her pregnancy. I talk to her about how sick she feels, but I never check development updates on her baby, I try not to look at her belly, and I will never ask to feel the baby kick or even if she has felt the baby kick yet. It is all too painful. Although I don't want anything bad to happen to her and her baby, I don't want to be involved in the pregnancy...which is particularly hard since she lives down the street from me.

    I used to talk to my coworkers about their kids alot more too. I have one who has a niece that is the same age as my nephew and I used to ask about her all the time. I haven't asked about her now since May.

    I used to volunteer for the church nursery too, just as I did every Sunday when I was a teenager. I did it about 2 months ago and it was so difficult that I probably won't do it again until I have a baby in the nursery, if I ever do.

    I often wonder if people notice the difference.

  2. Nursing is becoming more and more technical and requires more sophisticated understanding of disease processes, treatments, and pharmacology. Nurses also want to be treated as professionals rather than semi-skilled workers. To these ends, the current trend favors four year degrees rather than the shorter programs. Many nurses opt to get a two year degree either at a diploma school or community college, then return to complete a BSN while they gain work experience. Some hospitals pay BSN graduates slightly more (mostly as an incentive to obtain a BSN), but the job assignments are identical.

  3. I can definitely relate to this post in some ways. Over the past couple years having struggled with infertility and then losing Lily I now avoid babies and people talking about pregnancy. The other day someone who used to work at the hospital brought in their baby and I didn't even look at her I just left the area and tried to say busy with work. As you said, it's just too painful a reminder of what I have lost and what I will never get back.

  4. I felt this way for almost two years - about 4-5 months after Teddy's sister was born I started being able to talk about baby & parenting stuff without wanting to pull my hair out.

    And I can completely see how it could be easier to be around sick children than healthy ones right now. I don't think that's terrible at all, just very human.

  5. This is like reading my own thoughts and experiences.

    I used to love reading the magazine "Mothering." I started reading it before we were even ttc with our first baby. I had friends in college get pregnant, and that began my fascination with pregnancy and birth. I took a doula training years ago but decided not to pursue it because I was in grad school at the time. I used to love reading and learning about pregnancy and birth, but not anymore.

    Just the other day I was the libraby where I used to check out the "Mothering" magazine. I thought about it, and wondered if I could read it again. I was pretty sure I couldn't, but I went to look at it. I picked it up, flipped through some pages of smiling pregnant women and beautiful babies and put it down. I just couldn't do it. Yet another loss, on top of loss.

  6. for a long time I had trouble being around parents of healthy kids, babies, pregnant women and anyone I knew who had no tragedy in their life I was aware of.
    It gets easier, it did for me anyway. I hope it does for you as well.

  7. I can relate to this post a lot, too. I used to be almost obsessed with all things baby and child related. I used to love to look through the baby section at the store and I have been getting the Pottery Barn Kids catalog for years now, even with no living children of my own. It goes straight to the trash now. Like you said, it is just a reminder of all that we have lost.