I’m different now.
I’m part of that group of people who are rarely understood, unless you’ve also been there.
Please don’t come here. I pray you never will. It isn’t a group I ever expected or wanted to join. But here I am.
Life is different now. I’m not out of the woods yet – maybe I never will be. But here are some things I’ve learned through the changes of the last month (has it already almost been a month?)
1) I will never, ever ask another pregnant woman the typical questions we all expect to hear:
- Is it a boy or girl?
- When are you due?
- Have you picked out any names?
- How is the nursery coming along?
One out of every four pregnant women you meet will not get to bring her baby home, or, she might lose her precious little one soon after, like a stillbirth, or SIDS. Some women you see who are pregnant may know they are losing their babies, and yeah right if they’re going to be talking about it. It’s a respectful cautionary thing that I will just omit from conversation.
In the group of friends we sometimes spend time with, at one point a few months ago, there were five pregnant women in the room, including myself. Of this group, me and another friend never got to nine months. For the time we spent in the happiness of expectation, the rest of our time on Earth will be spent in mourning and remembrance of the ones we lost.
2) People don’t know what to say to you.
A little over a month ago, I wouldn’t have known what to say to me either. I’ve been shocked and saddened, though, that even after a few solid weeks of blogging about this, I still get insensitive and hurtful things said to me.
I don’t know if remarks intended to be uplifting, but are actually soul-crushing, will ever not be hurtful. But right now they are, and I’m still shocked when I hear or read them, despite all the words I have poured from my heart to point out helpful ways to talk to bereaved parents. Oh well. I can’t expect everyone (or anyone) to read this, or remember anything I write.
You have your own lives to think about. This is just the way it is and I hope, over time, to find a space in my heart that only fits compassion and support rather than being an open door to everything everyone has to say.
3) Kindness lurks in every corner, especially in unexpected places.
I’ve had to make a few phone calls, taking care of business, financial stuff, bla bla bla. When it’s relevant to the conversation with the stranger on the other end, every single time I’ve had to bring up that I’m no longer pregnant, I cry. Every single time, the person I’m speaking with has been infinitely kind, patient and understanding. And these are bank employees, Service Canada employees, my local pharmacy, etc.
Friends I haven’t spoken with in a while have popped up with incredible support and gestures of selflessness and kindness, like Anita, who set up a charity page in Henry’s name with Water Aid. Parents of friends have helped us with weekly tasks, and have left us food, flowers and messages of love. This tragic event seems to have opened people’s heart to us, and we’ve spent a lot of time in teary-eyed gratitude.
I have questioned myself for what I would have done if this happened to a friend of mine instead of me. The new Mel knows the answer, but I’m concerned about the old Mel – would I have shown as much compassion as we’ve been shown in the past month? I’m not going to worry about answering that.
I know that my life is going to get to a new normal, and I am taking my time with it.
4) My last lesson is a work in progress – which is to try to learn the difference between actually feeling ready to do something, and forcing myself to go outside my comfort zone to do something, like I would have normally done. I guess I have to give myself time to see what new Mel will do.
Thank you for reading this very self-centred post!