It's no secret that I've avoided other people since Lydia died. I remind myself constantly that people have good intentions, that they mean well. Rationally, I know this, and I understand people don't know what to say, although I'm unsure of why they can't just leave it at: "I'm so sorry," without giving me their personal opinions about heaven or God or telling me about how their sister had several miscarriages, but it's okay because then she had three healthy children.
I will people to just stop talking on a regular basis.
It's getting worse, as this Bowie bump grows.
Yesterday, after walking into a meeting with one coworker who told me all about his new baby at home (I literally said nothing in reply... because what am I going to say? "Oh really? That's nice. My daughter should be 8 months old but instead she's dead, and I wonder about 15 times a day if this baby is dead too."? Nothing seemed like the best option.)
Less than three minutes later, a colleague who apparently never heard the news said to me, "Heather, weren't you just pregnant a year ago?" She said it with a laugh.
"Yes," I responded. "My daughter died."
That's a real conversation stopper, which sometimes, is just fine by me.
People seem to think women's pregnancies are fair game for conversation. That every pregnant woman must want to gush about gender and due dates and tiny little onesies and hear everyone else's stories of labor and breastfeeding.
I avoid eye contact a lot, hoping if I don't look friendly, they will leave me alone. But inevitably, as I'm washing my hands in the public bathroom, women will ask, "When are you due?"
"Hopefully she'll be here in October," has become my automatic response, and I get a lot of weird looks, considering they were expecting just a date. You're not getting a date, lady.
The truth is, I don't want to talk about this pregnancy, unless you're willing to acknowledge the complexities of it. I don't like making small talk about babies, because that is another reminder of all that I'm missing with Lydie and all that I'm terrified we'll never have with Bowie.
And I want to finish washing my hands and rush out of the bathroom before you ask me how many children I have.
My baby bump makes people think I want to sit around and talk about babies. I don't. I really, really, really don't. I don't want to hear about how your daughter is pregnant with her third child or your four-month-old started rolling over or how you know someone who is also high-risk because she had preclampsia last time, but thank God the baby was fine.
I especially don't want to talk to other pregnant women, to compare pregnancies, to bitch about how tired and sore we are. You think you've been pregnant forever? I have been pregnant the majority of the last three years, and I have one living child to show for it. Don't complain to me about being pregnant.
A couple weeks ago, I was getting my blood drawn for my glucose test, and the lab tech was going on and on, complaining about how expensive pregnancy is. For real, lady? I said, "Well, I have lots of appointments because I'm high-risk," and I wanted her to ask me why I am high-risk. I wanted to shock her, tell her my daughter died suddenly when I was 34 weeks pregnant, make her shut the hell up complaining about the cost of pregnancy. But instead she just continued about how her husband said they should just have the baby at home so they didn't have hospital bills. I finally interrupted, "Did she live?" Huh? she asked. "Did your daughter live?" I repeated. Well, yeah, she said. Well, mine died, I told her. And again, conversation stopper. Thankfully.
Even a sonographer yesterday, who asked how I am holding up, told me she knows how I feel... because she was 39 weeks pregnant when her cousin's baby was stillborn. And she had very high anxiety the rest of her pregnancy.
Yeah, she actually compared our experiences.
I'm also flabbergasted by how many people who do know our story tell me they know everything will be okay this time. They just know it. They are certain Bowie will be arrive alive. These are people who know essentially nothing about stillbirth or cord accidents or Lydia's death. And when they talk like that, instead of feeling reassured, I feel angry. YOU DON'T KNOW. Considering I don't want my doctors to make me promises - I do not want them from the general public either.
Then there's all the comments about how I'm "almost there!" You know who was almost here? Lydie. And at 30 weeks pregnant with Bowie, I'm still almost four weeks away from the point we lost Lydie. Almost there doesn't comfort me. Instead it makes me paranoid, anxious, scared. Lydie was almost here.
I sound angry. And I guess that I am. When I'm having these conversations - multiple times a day - I do a lot of nodding, a lot of keeping my mouth shut. I wait to bitch to my husband or my closest BLM friends. But each of these conversations, every one, increases my anxiety. Makes me miss Lydia more. Makes me worry about Bowie more. Reminds me of how unlucky we've been.
I am much more comforted by the few people that acknowledge this
pregnancy must be terrifying and I must miss Lydia tremendously and they are keeping our family in their
thoughts and prayers and hope for good news for us. Thank you to those people.