We were at a wedding last night (congrats, Jen & Mitch, we wish you the best!) when it happened.
It's a question you probably know before I type it if you've grieved a baby. It's one we expect to deflect as naturally as a boxer weaves away from an oncoming punch. Because we are bracing for it often. And yet, when it unexpectedly makes it's connection, it's just as painful.
There was a mother of a former student catering the event. She recognized me, made small talk, and then said, "So, any more kids?"
"No," I answered as I grabbed my salad. No, for simplicity's sake and how long do you really have to listen since you are carving and serving more pork and do I want to cry since I actually put eye makeup on today and no.
On the walk back to our table, though, my heart screamed, "YES!" Yes, more kids, another sweet baby girl, one I met and lost in the span of a third of a week, one who I carried and named and loved and wanted and I miss with every fiber of my being that is physically aching now that I said no!
I read a lot about perinatal grief before I lost V. I still do. No matter how much you read, talk, or know about what other mothers say will sting, sometimes it surprises you. I remembering hearing about this from other families and thinking, "Then next time just say yes," as my husband suggested last night after I told him how bad I felt for denying V. If you aren't a baby loss family, maybe you are thinking that right now.
It's not that simple. In a split second of what is well meaning and polite conversation you have to weigh how well you know this person, how long you have to talk, if you will ever see them again, if you are strong enough to be explain if you say yes, if you are strong enough to handle the impact the rest of the day if you say no, if you can handle how their eyes will look at you and their face will change if you do tell the truth, and if you are wearing eye makeup.
If you are a baby loss family, are you nodding? Or have you found a solution to this somehow?