Sunday, November 6, 2011

I went to her baby shower a few weeks ago and it was nothing other than awkward - at 9 months pregnant, she was still going on and on about how this pregnancy and this child will ruin her and her entire life. The way she has been going for the last 7.5 months, since she's known about it.

I know that many people have a tough time through their pregnancies, but as soon as their children are born, they fall in love and become mothers. Mothers who nurture and love. I was hopeful that this would happen, and was excited to hear that she'd given birth to her son this week.

I work at the hospital, so was their first friend visitor. I was invited into the room, where my friend was in bed, her husband was slumped over on a chair in the corner, and their son was in his bassinet, with no blanket wrapped around him, crying so hard that his entire body was flushed with blood. 

I was shocked, and quickly asked whether I could pick him up and cuddle for a while. They tried to wrap him up burrito-style, and I bent down to pick him up gently, whispering to him and rocking him slightly. He stopped crying. He stopped shivering. 

My friend's first words to me were: "Moral of the story: don't have sex with boys. And don't ever, ever do this." (she doesn't know we are TTC). She has always used humour as a shield for when people try to get close to her, but I just felt like saying, shut the fuck up and show your son that he's wanted and welcome". But, of course I didn't. I smiled awkwardly and turned my attention to the boy.

I know that they are shit scared and young and probably in shock at the fact that they are now in charge of a nine-pound human that can't take care of himself. I get that, but it's tough to see. When the boy started making sucking attempts when he was in my arms, I mentioned that it looked like he was getting hungry, so I would pass him back.

I was met with a "no". I stopped rocking. "You can play with him". So I started trying to comfort the baby as best as I could, without providing him with food. Finally, it got so bad and he was crying so much that he couldn't breathe that well, so I forced him into her arms and said, "He should probably try to eat". And then, I was met with "it doesn't work anyway". 

Tears came as I closed the door to go back to my office. I've never had a friend that hasn't passionately wanted a child and this was so hard to see. I had hoped so much that with the little guy actually here, they'd get their shit together. I'm hoping they still have a chance, and that this baby won't suffer.

Devon took me for dinner that night and was surprised that I hadn't said anything to my friend. She didn't understand why I didn't tell her that the kid needed a blanket and needed some food. My friend had given birth less than 24 hours ago, and I didn't want to make her feel as though she wasn't doing a good enough job (which she probably wasn't, but I'm not going to tell her that). They were at the hospital, with capable nurses, and I didn't feel like it was my place to say anything. Though it fucking killed me...

Luckily, they were asked to stay in the hospital at least two more nights that they'd expected to be there. I hope they were flagged by staff and given the support they need. Devon suggested I offer to help them as soon as they are home, but again, I don't think it's my place to insinuate that they are not able to do it alone.

I'm just terrified for that baby. I'm so upset about this.

She is a pretty good friend. Not a best friend. What would you say/do, if anything?


  1. This just breaks my heart. The poor little guy. I wish I could offer some advice. I'm the person that would say something or tell someone...the nurses maybe about my concerns. I hope they can get it together for the sake of that baby.

  2. I would also say something to her. I would make her feel good and help her with cuddling and holding and at least talking to the baby when they feed him through breast or bottle. Otherwise I would suggest she take some anti depressants because it sounds from the beginning she needs some therapy. Do they both work? Will the baby be in childcare where he is likely to get better care? Also, might want to carefully observe to make sure children services doesn't need to be called. Baby is probably jaundice and that is why they are keeping him and her. Really sad. Why didn't they give the baby up for adoption? How young is young? And where are their families?

  3. This is so bizarre. Why did they decide to keep the child if they so clearly do not want him?

    I don't know if I could stand by and not say anything. It seems like a really awkward position to be in. I hope the hospital staff recognizes the issue and intervenes to help get the couple therapy and any other support they need.

    Poor little guy.

  4. I would definitely say something as well... if she's openly expressed not wanting the child why wouldn't she have given him up for adoption? the whole situation is unfortunate... but; silence is approval.

  5. It's definitely a fine line to walk, but I agree, saying something is better than not and wishing you would have. It is so, so hard to see something like that and all the while, be in the TTC craze and wanting a baby of your own so badly and seeing people who are so clearly unattached to their child. I'm sorry that you are in this in between place of wanting to keep your thoughts to yourself and simultaneously wanting to beat the snot out of them both :( I'm not sure how it works in Canada, but if social work isn't already involved, hopefully they will be soon? This story just broke my heart, a sad and seemingly unloved (how is that even possible????)newborn. Oy. Thank G0d you were there to show him some love and kindness.

  6. absolutely heartbreaking. i welled up reading this. that poor child.

    i like the advice of at least cluing in the nurses. someone has to do something, right? but then maybe the extra long stay is because the staff is already clued in?

    i think i would have to go extreme on this one. i would either get very involved or i would cut off all times. i don't think i'm emotionally equipped to stand by and watch this child be neglected.

  7. what a heartbreaking situation. i think devon's advice is good - im sure you can couch your offer to help in a way that doesn't come across as judgmental of their "parenting", just as a friend who wants to be there to support. and i like some of the pp'ers advice to maybe talk to a nurse while they are still in the hospital. such a hard situation, there are no rules for what do in times like this.

  8. i've been thinking about this ever since i read the post last night. this morning while driving to work i heard a story about a woman who strangled her newborn in a salvation army bathroom. i'm not saying your friend will resort to such extremes, but it does seem like maybe someone needs to convince this couple that it's okay to let this baby go for fostering/adoption. i can't see the situation ending well in any other scenario.

  9. Wow that's awful. There are so many people who would love to take care of that baby. This just doesn't sound good at all. Yes, I would say something. I can't imagine this child doing well, especially if the mother ends up with PPD. So, so sad.

  10. She doesn't appear to be in the state of mind where she'd be receptive to your concerns, but I think it might be good to try. See if the nurses can have a mental health worker come in and chat with her before she leaves.

  11. This was heartbreaking. I hope she got better and the baby is doing well.