My mother got drunk last night on champagne. Which is not a frequent occurrence, and quite frankly doesn’t really take a lot of effort… she’s what you would call a one pot screamer. Most of the time when she gets a little tipsy, it is not a big deal – she gets a little loud, laughs a bit more than is warranted at her own silliness and is generally a very happy, cheap drunk.
Last night however we were at a birthday party for a friend of ours whom we have known for about 20 years with all her friends and family here, none of whom had I met before. I mean of the 40+ people moseying about, I knew three. My Mum, the usually happy little drunken camper at some point quite late in the night went for a wander with an extremely chatty, also somewhat tipsy lady named, Gel (or something like that). I thought it was very likely that Mum was going off tell her that smoking is a bad thing – it’s not like my Mum to go hang out with the only smoker in the room… but apparently, their exchange was nothing like that.
Gel came back to the table and said, sat down and said (and I quote), “Your Mum is amazing (very true), and she has been through so much, what with your Dad and all. And I know all about your story too. You’re so strong.”
My ‘story’? An instant feeling of fight or flight rushed through my body.
Apparently in amongst telling this complete stranger about how much she misses my Dad and having a cry on her shoulder, she also told this woman about my infertility problems. OMG. What the actual fuck? So now I’ve got this slightly drunk stranger, who also happens to be infertile, telling me that no one really understands what that is like. Yes, she’s correct – infertility is one of those horrid life experiences that other people don’t really ‘get’ unless they have some personal experiences with it themselves… but did I want to be talking to a complete stranger about my infertility at a party with about ten other people in the conversation – FUCK NO!
I changed the conversation as soon as I was able to and quietly fumed at my happily tipsy mother for the next half hour or so. Mum eventually went to bed and we remained outside chatting for some hours further. At some point Gel turned the conversation to miscarriage (Gel is a midwife… what a perverse career choice for an infertile woman?!) and she turned to me and said, “Miscarriage is another of those things that people who have never been through it totally don’t get it, but people should be allowed to grieve their miscarriages and not just shrug them off as if they were nothing… you (meaning me!) are so lucky to have been surrounded by your Mum and Dad and your sisters and husband when you had your miscarriage in New Zealand. At least you had all that love and support when you went through that.”
WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK DID YOU TELL THIS WOMAN, MOTHER?
So, now I am really pissed. Not only has she told this woman about THE worst experience of my life, but Gel has gotten all the facts completely wrong and I’m just appalled that I am having this conversation (which I haven’t even really had with many of my nearest and dearest, most loved and trusted friends!) with total strangers at a party?!?! I told, her that no, that was not actually correct. That I have had the misfortune to have five miscarriages in total, but by far the worst one was the the one my mother alluded to which did not happen in New Zealand, but rather I was pregnant while in New Zealand and came home to find the foetus had failed to develop and I had to have a D&C. And no, my Mum and Dad were not there, they were overseas. And no, my husband was not there either because his arsehole employers actually threatened to sack him if he took the day off, and accused him of making up the miscarriage ‘story’. And no, my sister (who was sitting right beside me as I was saying this, and had the good grace to look sheepish), was not there because she had a paediatric appointment for her own baby and was too busy with all that to be with me at the hospital. So I spent that entire day staring at the ceiling crying, BY MYSELF, and went through the D&C surgery, BY MYSELF, and after it was over, went home to be BY MYSELF, until my husband eventually got home from work that night.
The Gel woman was just drunk enough to not hear the terseness in my voice, and misunderstood my setting the record straight for some sort of willingness to engage in the conversation further and blathered on some more about how horrible miscarriage is and what ever else… I have no idea. I am just at this point absolutely flummoxed as to how the worst day of my life and the most deeply personal and horrid experience I have ever had to endure had turned into social chit chat between my mother and this appallingly indiscreet woman. Needless to say I left the table very shortly after, and had a great deal of trouble falling asleep – in spite of quite a bit of alcohol, some valium and other pharmaceuticals.