Friday, August 26, 2005

"Hey, didn't you have a baby?"

Possibly the worst thing about dealing with the fallout of J.'s death is running into people who knew I was pregnant, but didn't know the rest of the story. They get excited to see me and happily ask how the baby is -- and then we have to tell them that he died. It makes them feel awful, it makes me feel awful -- it's just generally awful all around.

I thought I was pretty much through it, that there was no one left who might ask me such a question. I hadn't heard it in a long time. And then, this week, it happened twice. The first time was an old boss of mine from The Crappy College That Shall Not Be Named -- we kept in touch for a while, so he knew I'd moved on, and he's now working for the same university. I guess he tried to call me in June and got the message my manager left on my voicemail saying I was on leave. She was careful not to say "maternity leave," but people just assume that's what it is.

Today, I got an email from a woman in another department -- I'm working on a project for her department, so she knew I was planning to be out. I'd sent her a message yesterday relating to the project -- for some reason I thought my manager had talked to her, but I guess not, because she innocently wrote "When did you have your baby? How is he?"

I hate having to tell people because even though I can talk about it now without crying, it makes them feel so guilty for having asked. But really, why should they? They had no way of knowing. What happened to me is so uncommon that it's not like people consider it before they ask such a question. I wonder if they should? I don't know. It seems like to do so would take so much of the joy out of pregnancy, and is there really a reason to? Yes, not everyone gets a baby at the end, and we shouldn't forget that, but I don't know if assuming the worst helps either.

Anyway, I am rambling. It's actually not such a bad day today. TMI here, but I'm finally getting my first postpartum period, after 13 weeks. I guess that means I really did ovulate when I thought I did, so that's decent news. In two weeks I see the doctor and we'll figure out where to go from there.


At Friday, August 26, 2005 2:52:00 PM, Blogger Catherine said...

The beauty of living in Podunk, USA is that EVERYONE knows your business. I didn't have to tell a soul. Normally that would royally piss me off...but this time I rather appreciate it. :o)

At Friday, August 26, 2005 9:28:00 PM, Blogger Julie said...

God I hated that question. "So how's the baby!!!" I think that is where the panic attacks started. Being terrified of going out in public and running into someone that didn't know.
And this is the thing, every time you have to tell someone that your baby died, you get that horrible uncomfortable silence. And then WE feel horrible and uncomfortable about making them uncomfortable. I hate it. It's not fair. When you think about it, they are not the ones that have to live without their baby, so why should we worry about making them uncomfortable for a few minutes???
Hopefully you won't have to hear that question too much longer.

At Saturday, August 27, 2005 12:27:00 PM, Blogger Bronwyn said...

I just found your blog after following a link on Catherine's and your birth story brought me to tears. It sounds like you have a great support system in your husband and your family, though, which is half the battle (not that we never actually win it, but we can aspire to a permanent cease-fire). I hope you don't have to endure many more uncomfortable reactions to your news. There's enough you have to deal with without worrying about making other people feel bad!


At Sunday, August 28, 2005 11:28:00 AM, Blogger lauralu said...

in the beginning, my husband broke the news to everyone, and it mostly spread from there, so i was relieved of that horror until more than two months after i lost my son, and as horrible as it was, it's now kind of funny. it will get better.

At Monday, August 29, 2005 8:48:00 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

I just found your journal… and am living through a similar experience… My daughter died of meconium aspiration in June… after an emergency c-section. I had some other complications that are leading me to wait 6 months to try again, but I’m anxious to try…So you’ll be a few months ahead of me, but hopefully both end up with happy healthy babies next year.


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