Tonight Elie and I went out with my cousin to a local bar where they had live music. I have lived in this town for years and though I knew this place existed, I’d ever been there. It was the kind of place where locals hang out in their jeans. People danced to the live music and drank their beers and chatted with friends. I wore a pretty typical outfit, for me.
Those are my sequined pants and my turquoise boots with the sparkly purple laces. Some people looked at me funny… maybe it was the red leather jacket or rainbow scarf…. I don’t know… I wonder if I’m getting more outrageous with my clothes without even realizing it. I certainly was not invisible.
I was talking to my cousin about a lot of stuff- stuff I feel passionate about, stuff that I’ve learned since my loss, areas where I’ve grown… And as I heard myself talking, I interjected myself and said ” I should really blog about these things.”
Every morning, I go to work. I take a bus from NJ to Manhattans Port Authority and then I walk about 6 blocks to my office. Those 6 blocks are like ‘brain time’. It’s the moments where I often find myself thinking about where I am in my life and how I feel about it. It’s ironic because when I was in FIT I did the same walk and I remember thinking as I walked how cool and confident I felt with funky clothes and rainbow hair, and how I just loved when people looked at me and I naturally assumed they thought I was awesome.
I remember when I was dating Elie and doing that walk. I remember feeling a peace and calm. I work in the fashion district and often found myself comparing my appearance to those I passed on the street. I still sometimes pushed myself to wear more eye catching clothes, but it didn’t feel important. I was madly in love. I felt beautiful. I felt like dressing up for others was a waste of my time and energy and money. Elie couldnt care less about that stuff. It obviously occurred to me that I might WANT to think about taking it up a notch, but it was far from a priority.
I remember walking that walk while pregnant with Molly. I really dressed bad. I bought a couple of pairs of maternity jeans that were too long and a bunch of really shapeless tops. I wore sneakers every day. And a ponytail. I really was SO over the moon in love with the idea of this baby’s arrival, I didn’t care. I looked at myself in the mirror and thought I looked glowing and beautiful. And fat. I was piling on the pounds. When Molly was born at 36.5 weeks weighing 5lb 11oz, I was 55 pounds heavier than I had been. I’m barely 5’2. 55 lbs is like, almost half my normal body weight. But I didn’t care. I had my baby and she was so stinkin’ cute.
And then I went back to work three months later. And I was still fat. Maybe not obese, but fat enough that my pre-pregnancy clothes no longer fit. So I was wearing my smaller maternity clothes. Which were still hanging on me. Shapeless. With sneakers. And a ponytail. By now, I felt worn. I still was waking yo with her in the middle of the night. I was tired in the mornings and hauling my tush out of bed, barely glancing at myself in the mirror and heading out the door. And I felt invisible. I’d walk that walk and think, ‘ya know, tova, you look like crap… why is it so hard for you to think about dressing up? or at least wearing decent shoes?” I was embarrased by myself and my appearance, but I didn’t want to spend money on clothes at that size, and I knew I really wanted to have another baby. Why put all the effort into getting back in shape just to get pregnant again?
When Molly was about 6 months I went shopping at target and nothing fit. The things that did fit just looked so unflattering. I returned to my mother in law to pick up Molly. I remember she asked “Did you get anything?” and I replied “yeah, depressed.” And so, for that entire year, I stayed ‘invisible’- dressing myself in poorly fitting bland clothing that, on the walk to work had me feeling completely muchless.
Then, after a year, I was pregnant again. It was summer. Then, we learned it was twins. Great. Stuck in the blistering sun with a huge tummy…. I mean, what on earth was I going to wear through this pregnancy?? I went to Target and they had these jersey Maxi dresses in a host of colors. They were like sacks that fell from shoulder to floor and hung there from two little strings. ‘Perfect!’ I thought. easy to wear, will grow with my tummy! They were completely shapeless and dumpy. I bout 8 of them. My summer wardrobe. Week 13- Behold:
It just went down and down past my ankles and swept the floor. Wearing them made me feel even heavier than I was. The walk to work was torture. I didn’t feel vibrant and pretty and pregnant- I felt drained and ugly and insecure.
And then I lost the babies.
And that’s when my walk to work became something else. That’s when it because about how I felt about the world. Myself. That walk became my reality check.
I would leave the house in the morning OK. I would get in the bus and for about half the ride I was OK. Then the tears would start to come. Sometime I was able to hold them back until I was off the bus but somedays, I simply couldn’t . I wore sunglasses daily. I walked through those streets and cried. Sometimes, a small weep. Other times, just full blown tear fest. And I didn’t care how it looked to other people. I just cried. then I got to work, pulled myself together, and tried to make it though the day. Then I’d leave work at the end of the day, head back to to the bus and cry the whole way there. I honestly don’t remember what I wore those days. All I owned were maternity clothes, but I lost the twin weight very quickly. I suppose that’s because my diet had become fruity pebbles, macaroni and cheese and wine. Classy. But I think more to the point, It didn’t matter what I was wearing. it didn’t matter that I was invisible or insecure or whatever… because I was just drowning in grief. Everywhere I looked. Everything I saw. Every noise I heard…. all of it was clouded by the fog and haze and brain numbing sound inside my head; “You are a mother of two dead babies. You are a mother of two dead babies. You were pregnant. Now you are not pregnant. Your babies are dead. They’re dead. Dead babies. That looked identical. Two of them. Two babies. They’re dead.”
And then I was pregnant again.
****It’s 2am. I’m tired. I’m going to post this now and continue when I can….***