Costco and Target and why they are the worst
I no longer isolate myself as much as I used to. I am far from how social I once was, but I don’t hide like I did just months ago. I have braved Costco by myself, which actually, has been one of my bigger accomplishments as far as returning to whatever normal is now. Costco is overwhelming for many people I imagine, trauma or not. Its such a chaotic, overstimulating place. Also you can never just ‘go’ to Costco. You arrive, avoid getting hit by three cars from the parking lot to the door while trying to find your membership card that, at least I, never seem to be organized enough to pull out while in the car or at least replace it in a convenient location in my wallet. You grab your cart which usually there is at least two elderly couples trying to do the same and moving at their adorably slow place, thereby making you do the awkward try-to-grab-a-cart-fast, miss the opportunity and end up waiting anyways. Then people seem to use that first entrance area of the building to put their card back in their wallet and come to a complete stop in doing do, and causing a traffic jam that they are blissfully unaware of. And then you can’t forget about the great deal on a two pack of mittens waiting by the door that must be examined by at least every other patron, thereby slowing down the flow of people and carts through the door even more. Then you’re finally inside and that whole thing is usually a mess of navigation, swerving around people, carts, kids, motorized wheelchairs and sales pitches about the new Traeger, Vitamix or chimichanga. Its a mess. I can’t do my in and out in 10 minutes routine that I have gotten so good at doing since Sylvia has died. But I did it, alone, and I survived. I also have gone to Target alone. Which again, was a huge accomplishment. Not only was it the place we registered for our baby shower, but it is also the place that is 95% occupied with mothers, young children, babies and pregnant women at any moment. I can’t walk 5 feet in that store without being reminded of what my life isn’t. Go to Costco or Target and for one entire trip just count how many pregnant women or kids you see. Its startling once it becomes something that feels like a slap in the face or a punch to the gut every single time.
While I always know that Sylvia is dead, my brain mostly still can’t believe it emotionally. I don’t know if that makes sense though. It still seems like it was a big dream that replays constantly in my head. Though I can go out in public a little easier now than I could a couple months ago it doesn’t come with out a lot of pain. Often I am fighting tears, my brain is somewhere else entirely or I am trying to get in and out of somewhere as soon as possible. I suppose a lot of it still comes down to not being able to control every thing that comes into my space. Its emotional to see pregnant women or even kids in general which breaks my heart. I want to be able to see a little dark curly haired girl and smile instead of crumble. I want to be able to enjoy the beauty of seeing a pregnant woman, glowing, rubbing her belly, doing something as simple as getting groceries. I want to be able to celebrate the simple idea of others being pregnant rather than being scared for them. What I am saddened by is that the innocence, blissful happiness and serenity has been taken from me. I think about the thousands of people I saw casually in the grocery store, running errands, at work, on vacation, at a restaurant, at dinner, at the gym, wherever I went when I was pregnant, and they all looked at me thinking I would have a baby soon, with no idea, or even second thought about it probably for the rest of their life, that my baby would die. If any of those people were to think about me now, they would assume I am with my growing, healthy, beautiful baby. I look at pregnant women now differently. I go to Target and see woman after woman seemingly floating on a cloud of pregnancy filled with rainbows and butterflies. I look at them and think that they might be holding their still, silent, precious little baby some day and say hello and good bye to them in the same day. I don’t see pregnant woman as having a guaranteed future with the baby that is growing inside them anymore. I see them as a time bomb. Ignorance isn’t the right word, but I can’t think of a better one, and I am jealous of their unawareness at how quickly their joy can be stolen. I even knew about stillbirths. I have known people who’s babies have died. And I was still in that state of ignorance. Even the most pessimistic people, even the people that think they can at least partially plan for the worst, can not imagine it actually happening. The brain simply can not go there. Nothing could have prepared me for our reality now. We have had a handful of friends that have shared news of a pregnancy with us since Sylvia has died. I know was it hard for them to share their exciting news with us in our time of trauma and it was very hard for us as well. We are so excited for them, so scared for them, so heart broken and so envious. In most ways, I will do nothing different with future pregnancies, but in a lot of other ways, it will be completely different. I know I will be excited, but I don’t think I will be sold on the idea that our baby will live probably until the day I die. My children could be 50 years old and I will be an old woman and I will still probably expect them to die before me.
I have braved Costco. And I have braved Target. I’ve braved work, social functions, unexpected encounters, awkward interactions, emotional conversations and debilitating flash backs. But I will never be able to brave pregnancy without acknowledging how real it is that things can go horribly wrong in the blink of an eye.