But You’re Okay Now, Right?

Ah, that question. Such a simple question, asked in so many ways from inquiring glances to backtracking or treading lightly around certain conversations to ignoring the subject all together to asking straight out.

There’s really only one right answer to it. Yes, of course I am.

Sometimes, that’s the truth. Other times, people can convince themselves that it’s the truth. She didn’t get upset. She smiled. She commented or “liked” on Facebook.

The reality is ambiguous. One day, I’m nodding with genuine sympathy at an acquaintance’s complaints about being overdue and wishing the baby would come soon, the next I’m bitterly thinking better than the f*cking reality of preterm birth. Not easily reduced to a tweet, a sound-bite, or an inspirational quote. At once understandable and also sometimes unlikeable and frustrating and uncomfortable and even unfair.

It perplexes me, the cultural demand for openness, the popularity of memoirs or the expectation of ‘authenticity’ in so many contexts, but while the People magazine article clawing open a celebrity sells or the confessional blog post goes viral, seeing that same exposure live so often produces the almost reflexive but you’re okay now, right?

Of course.

And no.

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8 thoughts on “But You’re Okay Now, Right?

  1. Though the Beats were not born as prematurely as your daughter, I’ve had similar feelings. Because I would happily trade their reality in order to erase that period in NICU. Like infertility, something many don’t want to fathom is even a possibility.

    You writing about this has been helping me process some of the crap that happened. So thank you for bravely putting all you’ve been through out there.

  2. Some people have a real inability to ‘sit comfortably’ with ambiguous feelings. A girl on my chat board just lost her twin babies (still birth) at 21 weeks, conceived after a long AC journey. She is very angry right now and posted a big post to vent. Some young girl tried to tell her that she just needs to be positive and visualise what she wants and she will get it. It was the most inappropriate response. The grieving mother just needed to be angry, it’s a terrible injustice. Why do some people feel the need to try and rationalise everything and make it ok?

  3. Oh yes to this 1000 times over. There is such a bizarre divide in the quest for gossipy information going hand in hand with the rejection of hearing someone else’s difficult news.

    • But that’s the thing, right…reading it in People magazine, you don’t have to see the person and actually interact with them. you never will have to do that. Its titillating and dramatic when its someone you don’t know. It can almost seem like its fiction—like a movie or story. When it gets too close, you realize you have to respond to it, and most of us do not feel comfortable with other people’s feelings.

  4. I feel like social media is so tricky for this reason… other people’s posts can so quickly bring you to a feeling of ARRRGGGGHHHH reflecting back on your own experience. I have a really hard time with people complaining about pregnancy, because I think, “and yet you get to have that experience.” However, in the spirit of all this openness, they can choose to post those things, I just have to figure out how to not let it stab me in a million places. Way easier said than done. Makes me sometimes hate the whole social media beast. The whole idea of being “Okay now” based on clicks on a computer is so strange–like you said, often the real response is completely not socially acceptable and so a like masks so many other conflicted emotions. It keeps you “connected” (ha ha) while not having to share the fact that you were screaming “What the F is wrong with you, person pregnant with a healthy full term baby!!!” I think sometimes it all comes down to the fact that our society wants everyone to be okay (or at least seem that way) all the time, and that putting grief out there, REAL feelings out there, makes so many people uncomfortable. I don’t think that “okay” in some areas will ever be the case, and I think that should be acceptable. Social media allows for way too much glossing over of reality.

    Love this post!

  5. It’s good to be “OK now” if that’s a real possibility…..but what about the situations where things are not OK, will never be OK? It’s really hard to talk about those situations when we feel the need to always just “Be OK” or on the road to “being OK.” Being Not OK needs to be normalized. Hugs.

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