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389th Friday Blog Roundup

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the shooting in Dallas.  Verna McClain approached Kala Golden as she was carrying her three-day-old child to her car and shot her to death, snatching the newborn from his dying mother’s arms and driving away.

As the article states:

Ligon said McClain’s statement to investigators indicates that she shot the mother as part of a wider plan to kidnap any child and that Golden was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“There were statements as indicated in the arrest record that were made by Ms. McClain that led us to believe that, in fact, this was an intentional act on her part,” Ligon said. “Not that Ms. Golden was targeted specifically, but that this was part of a plan to kidnap a child.”

For a few days, they hadn’t released the reason for the intentional act.  But, of course, we all already knew that the choices were infertility, pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or neonatal death.  Because that is the reason always given; it fulfills one of the media’s regular roles for women who have experienced infertility or loss.  We are either selfish, desperate, or murderers.

The reason was released on Thursday: miscarriage.

The headline says that she “Has an Excuse You Won’t Believe.”  Except I will believe it because it’s pretty much always the reason given when we have one woman murder another woman and there is a baby involved.  Like, for instance, this one about another infertile woman who wants to steal your baby.

For once, I’d like to find an article that talks about how damaging our lack of ability as a society to discuss loss and empathize with people who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death can be.  One that points out that baby stealing is the extreme, but closer to home are millions upon millions of women and men who are unable to talk about their loss due to the not-so-subtle ways society tells them to shut up and suck it up.  I don’t know; one that doesn’t sensationalize loss but instead points out how common it really is.

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This week, I was sucked into several hours of “school” — by which I mean I and 26 stuffed animals all learned how to write and speak Chickatanian, the ChickieNob’s made-up language.  And just when I had hit my saturation point, thinking about the tofu fried rice I wanted to make downstairs for the love of G-d, I would be told that I now needed to go to room 1 (Chickatanian is taught in room 3) and learn all about apps, cars, and new computer products created at the Wolvog’s imaginary computer company (did you know that they have 50 factories and employ thousands of people?  Well, did you?).  Sometimes Josh would call during school and I’d whisper into the phone, “save me.”  But that’s the point: no one could save me.  It was like Misery, except with less Annie Wilkes and typewriters and more small children reminding me that they could always send me to see Mrs. Twiskers, the principal.

When I first heard the principal’s name, I assumed that they were saying Mr. Whiskers, our cat of earectomy fame.  But no, this was Mrs. Twiskers, and she was not invisible as I had originally assumed since… you know… there were only three people in the house.  The part of Mrs. Twiskers was being played by the knob on the bathroom door.  Though I was assured that she was a stern principal who would not deal with my nonsense.

Wanting to make tofu fried rice is not nonsense.

Save me.

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The real start of MFA Sunday School is this weekend.  A lot of people answered my request for topics, so I’m still sifting through that.  But I’ve written the first few lessons.  How to find time to write, character development, getting through writing obstacles and rejection.  So excited to be writing about writing again.  See you on Sunday morning with that.

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We’re at the midway point for The Analogy Project.  Have you written your analogy?

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 And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week as well as the week before.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

Something Out of Nothing has a beautiful post about her mother who died two years ago.  Every single paragraph is verbal love, the words carefully chosen and arranged to honour a life.  She writes of her grief over the loss: “Not for the memory of my mother, all that remains of her now and what I will carry with me the rest of my life–the birthday cakes and French braids, homemade dresses and school plays.  What I mourned, even in those first moments, was what will never be.  My mother never holding my child in her arms.”  It’s an amazing post.

A Half Baked Life has a post about The Listserve and the responsibility the owners need to bring to the project, especially as they tread on emotional territory.  The question becomes who is responsible if the listserve devolves into name calling or hate speech?  Bringing in an example of allowing her five-year-old to use her stand mixer, she concludes: “But maybe the analogy is more appropriate when conceived this way: the makers of the stand mixer, which is a tool, are not responsible for the quality of my cake, or for my five-year-old’s fingers.  I also think that the responsibility rests on the users.  After all, they’ve signed up for this experience.”  Food for thought.

Glow in the Woods contains a gorgeous post by Mrs. Spit about grief being a form of magic.  Always a great writer, Mrs. Spit weaves the time of day — the gloaming — into a play on words over the simple phrase: “see, magic.”  It’s one of those posts that are so carefully constructed that they defy description: you just need to experience it.

Lastly, A Woman My Age has a post about the woman she thought she’d become vs. the woman she became.  This thought sent chills down both arms; it is so so so brilliant: “So now when I feel a wash of sadness for not ever being one of “those” women wearing size 4 Lululemons with a baby in a sling and a toddler in tow driving a Volvo through a cute part of town, I remind myself  that I have never been the other woman.  I have just wasted a lot of time wishing I was.”  Now go read the whole post.

The roundup to the Roundup: A tragic murder gets explained via miscarriage.  I have become a student again.  MFA Sunday School kicks off this weekend.  Don’t forget the Analogy Project.  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between April 13th and April 20th) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.

15 comments

1 Justine { 04.20.12 at 10:06 am }

Oh, that story makes me sick to my stomach. For so many reasons. For once, it would be such a refreshing change to read about an infertile who is not a deranged baby-stealer. Someone needs to figure out how to get jjiraffe’s ALI posts into the NYTimes. Or NPR. Or somewhere else as mainstream as this ridiculousness.

And … you are a much more patient person than I am. I haven’t been “schooled” yet (not in that way), but I have been sucked into elaborate “store” tableaux. My son owns an imaginary trucking company, you see. We had business cards made for him, as a joke, but he takes it VERY seriously.

Thanks for the shout-out! Love the other finds this week, too.

2 Pale { 04.20.12 at 10:46 am }

Diary of a mom has a great post that you should read from the bottom up … the 8 line/31 word poem & line drawing illustration are the over the top goodness that led me to post this here, most of all (that Oo OOoo I HAVE to tell someone kicker). It’s a post about … how over-sharing, a thing we are sometimes ashamed of/shamed for … as bloggers and IRL and/or both … is the vital, brave, maybe defiant thing that leads to precious, healing connection. Also about how … embracing the dark, the unbearable … can be the action that frees you from the thing you are utterly certain will be the end of you.

3 Cristy { 04.20.12 at 11:18 am }

It angers me that society always paints those living with IF and/or survivors of miscarriage as these crazy, heartless women. Yet we think nothing about abusive parents and even we even go so fair to protect the rights of these people to retain their children when clearly their motives are questionable. Based on the media’s description, someone like me shouldn’t be allowed to own cutlery.

I had a good laugh regarding your “save me” comment. But I equally love the fact you are making business cards for the Wolvog. Forget baseball cards, business cards are going to be the new thing to collect on the playground!

4 Deathstar { 04.20.12 at 11:26 am }

Thanks for the mention, Mel, made my day really. Seriously. It was just a blah day.
Actually, I had not heard of the shooting til now. It’s Treehouse TV around here until we go out to walk the dog. I clicked over and went, omg, she’s black. Please no. White baby. Oh, boy. Then that rag website on which the “excuse” that was discussed. Insanity vs. stupidity discussion, then a dummy’s guide to genetics lesson. I wonder how long it will take the media turning this into another racial shit storm. And of course, how infertility, miscarriage can make a woman criminally insane. This is why I don’t watch American news.

5 missohkay { 04.20.12 at 1:11 pm }

Two posts for second helpings this week: Michelle wrote “Commitment” about the steps she took to let go of her pregnancy losses and how it led to the adoption of her daughter http://stillseriously.blogspot.com/2012/04/comitment.html

And the always-funny Clay Baboons wrote “N is for Negative Pregnancy Tests” about her addiction to peeing on things http://www.claybaboons.com/2012/04/n-is-for-negative-pregnancy-tests.html

6 Brave IVF Girl { 04.20.12 at 1:19 pm }

I’m nominating my own post because it continues to entertain me. :)

Written for the analogy project, my post outlines what in-game achievements would exist if IF were a video game.

http://bravingivf.blogspot.com/2012/04/if-is-like-video-game.html

7 a { 04.20.12 at 2:32 pm }

Grrrr. Someone already posted mine again. And I don’t have a back up this week.

I don’t know what’s going on with the lady who tried to steal the baby. I would definitely lean toward crazy, but due to miscarriage? I…am skeptical. But, I will reserve judgement until the trial (or the plea bargain). Regardless, it is a horrible tragedy.

You are much more tolerant of school than I am. Usually, I get about 10 minutes in before a much needed bathroom break leads me to wander away and forget to come back. (And the need is mental, not physical). The one time I couldn’t escape, I made my daughter think of a word for each letter. Then she told me school was over when I proposed that math would be next. I had overtaxed her mental abilities for the afternoon, I suppose. She has a limited tolerance for educational things. Rearrangement and scolding of the stuffed animals can go on forever, though. It’s rough in that classroom. That Mama Bear is always biting or hitting one of the other animals.

8 loribeth { 04.20.12 at 3:21 pm }

I can remember playing school with the three girls who lived across the street (their dad was the principal of our school). The oldest sister was always the teacher, we always had art class (because she was very good at art), she always gave As to her youngest sister for encouragement, & no matter how hard she tried, her middle sister would never get higher than a C. ; ) We were all talking about this the last time we all got together & the memory made us howl with laughter. : )

Re: the murder case: I heard about it. And cringed. The thing that really galls me is we all know that women like this represent only the tiniest, most minuscule fraction of infertile women altogether… and yet, because these cases are so well publicized/sensationalized, the public at large thinks this is much more common than it actually is, that infertile/grieving woman = desperate lunatic, and we’re out to steal their babies. No wonder we feel so horribly isolated & misunderstood. :(

9 Ellen K. { 04.20.12 at 4:06 pm }

I watched a crime documentary on baby kidnapping a few years ago, which said that the criminal profile of infant abductors is generally NOT an infertile woman or someone whose baby has actually died in utero or after birth; often she is lying about that along with nearly everything else. It’s part of the storyline she creates, and the motivation is to keep a romantic relationship or fill some other void in her life. Infant abduction is highly strategized, sociopathic behavior; the infant might be chosen at random, but everything else has been planned for months. I remember writing about this in a blog comment some years ago; I wish I could remember where, but this link is useful (video plus article):

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/carlina-white-highlights-profile-baby-abductors/story?id=12731684#.T5G_5I7OVC8

Remarkably, on discharge day after my IVF twins were born, the discharge nurse cautioned me about possible baby kidnapping, because I had twin girls who did not look alike and as a twin mom I could be more easily distracted.

10 Daryl { 04.20.12 at 8:19 pm }

Thanks, Mel! I hadn’t heard this story either, but it makes me ill. Sensationalism sells, and this story is definitely a sensation–of the most wretched kind.

11 St. Elsewhere { 04.21.12 at 10:43 am }

I am very sorry for the baby who has faced such a loss, and for the mum who died for no fault of hers. And well, I think everyone else has adequately pointed out the flawed coverage of the whole affair.

One nice post, this week was from I Believe in Miracles:

(Post Title: Eating Humble Pie)

The post is about how quickly we tumble from the pedestal we stand on with regards to judging others as parents and deciding for sure what our kids will never do. And then our kids do exactly that and we eat crow. :-)

12 St. Elsewhere { 04.21.12 at 10:45 am }

And as I realize now (internal ouch), I have never said Thank You for anytime I have been mentioned here by you or by anyone else.

Louder internal ouch.

13 Kristin { 04.21.12 at 2:51 pm }

Hi Mel, I wanted to contribute to the round-up with a post from Elizabeth at Bebe Suisse:

http://bebesuisse.blogspot.com/2012/04/other-thing-i-wish-id-fought-back-about.html

Elizabeth raises a lot of questions about the birth control and the long-term affects on our reproductive systems. It is something that I have thought about for years. As per usual for Elizabeth, the post is thoughtful, provoking and beautifully written.

Also, happy ICLW!

14 Emily @ablanket2keep { 04.21.12 at 8:14 pm }

Wow someone nominated me! That is crazy!

15 loribeth { 04.26.12 at 10:06 am }

Ginger and Lime and her dh are taking a break after IUI & BFN #3 and contemplating next steps, while asking themselves the question “Have we tried hard enough?” I kept returning to this post all week, because it’s a situation many of us face at some point on our ttc journey.

http://gingerandlime.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/breather/

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