I’d fallen asleep around 6:30pm--curled up in bed and miserable. I hadn’t even brushed my teeth. I’d fallen into a funk around 4 and the tipping point was Danny returning from the grocery store with a type of ice cream I didn’t want. (I specifically asked for salted caramel butter pecan; he brought back caramel cookie crunch, which is not the same at all.) I briefly woke up around 11 to Danny getting into bed beside me. Then my dog Remus curling up on my feet and groaning. But I drifted back to sleep easily.
That is, until 12:36am, when I woke up with a start. I woke up like I often wake up from afternoon naps: groggy, uncomfortable, feeling like I am full of foreign air that cannot possibly be healthy for me. I felt sick and achy. But mostly, I felt a sadness like a hot iron on me, pressing down on me from all angles. With 10 minutes, I was crying, but I wasn’t sure what about.
Until I found a scapegoat: the gender reveal. The stupid gender reveal party.
Before I was even pregnant, I got it into my head that I wanted to have a gender reveal party, come hell or high water. I think they are adorable and fun and the more parties the better, right?
When I scheduled my gender-determining (and other important stuff determining, I guess) ultrasound, I immediately started planning a gender reveal party. I sent out invitations. I made lists. I searched for decorations on Amazon. I was pumped.
But by Saturday (two weeks before the party) no one has RSVP’d except for my mom and dad and a coworker.
Lying in bed at 12:30am, I cried harder thinking about it. My mind flashed to my high school graduation people, where a staggering 5 people showed up out of about 50 invitations and one of the people to not show up was my sort of boyfriend; I’d cried for hours afterwards and it had a major impact on my self-esteem and party-throwing willingness.
Lying in the dark, I looked forward and saw myself standing alone, having baked a cake and cupcakes and put up decorations and waddled around my house like an idiot for all of three people to show up.
“No,” I whispered to myself in the dark. I wouldn’t do it to myself. Better to feel like a crappy loser now than to feel that way on the actual day, right? I'm not even sure if this was what I was even originally crying about, but now it's definitely what I was crying about.
I got up, put on my robe and my slippers, opened up my computer, and posted on Facebook: “If you got an invite to my gender reveal, it is cancelled.”
I went back to bed and lied awake, still crying, for four hours, imagining all the ways I would respond to questions on that status. I felt angry, sad, and lonely. I felt like a loser. Mostly, I felt tired, but I couldn’t physically stop crying. I cried and cried and cried. I used 10 tissues, lying in bed, my dog anxiously curling up beside me in a show of comfort (or maybe being cold, I don’t know).
Finally, I drifted off to sleep and woke up at 6:30 to my work out alarm. I stared out the window and listened to the neighbor’s very sad rooster crow. Remus pawed at my leg. I looked at my phone. Nothing. I started crying again.
I got up, let Remus outside, and sat down at my computer to send messages to everyone I’d invited. I tried not to sound snippy in them--my anger had died down in my sleep, even if the overwhelming sadness hadn’t.
I also received a message from my friend, Rebekah. It was then that I realized that my angry, sleep-dazed Facebook status in the middle of the night might sound as if, I don’t know, something had happened to the fetus. I assured her everything was OK and posted something to clarify.
“Just in case I worried anyone, the baby is fine. But no one sent an rsvp for the gender reveal party and I decided it wasn't worth the effort.” Translation: The baby is fine, but y'all can suck it.
By 10am, I was on my way to Eugene with my mom, a half-hearted attempt to shake myself out of my slump (it worked, thankfully) and was being inundated with messages. As it turned out, people had planned to come... but my sister-in-law Amy was right: “It’s 2015 and no one RSVPs anymore.”
I’d overreacted. In the sad, early hours in of the morning (admittedly, my worst hours, where I am most prone to getting depressed and lonely), I’d felt like a loser and didn’t want to feel like I’d felt way back in high school, when no one showed up to support me. I’d felt like a loser then and I didn’t want to anymore. I’m 26, older, wiser, stronger, pregnant. I wanted people to be happy for me, but I’d been worried about reliving one of the worst experiences of my life.
I was hasty to cancel the gender reveal, but I like to think I taught myself--and a few other people--an important lesson.
Mainly, for me, I know that I can make poor decisions when I’m in an emotional funk. I have felt exceedingly good for the past few weeks emotionally (if a bit cranky and a lot stressed), but the sudden downturn on Saturday and Sunday morning was devastating: I hadn’t felt that bad, about myself, about my life, in a long time. Not a good time to make decisions.
But I also like to think that I showed people how important it is to support their friends and actually RSVP. I’m a prompt RSVP-er. The minute I receive an invitation, I RSVP in whatever form I can: via text, via card, via Facebook, whatever. I know how important RSVPs are for parties and events. It is hard as hell to know what to expect without a proper headcount. (This was torture for my wedding.) People hate RSVPing and yes, there are lots of good reasons for not. We’re all busy. We all have stuff going on. It takes 10 seconds to RSVP
All I’m saying is: respond to RSVPs. It’s the least you can do to make someone feel good.
And I promise not to make anymore decisions during 1AM crying jags.