How’s the Baby?!

On Monday I had my 2nd run in with someone-who-did-not-know.  They are few, but they exist.  This time it was a casual friend who substitute teaches at my school occasionally.  I hadn’t seen her since I was 8 or 9 months pregnant.  She had left a baby gift on my porch a week or two before we lost Luke.  It was wine and diapers.  I had not known what to do as far as thanking her but also telling her the news, so I hadn’t done anything.  I was just waiting to run into her.

I was sitting in the teacher’s lounge eating lunch and she walked in.  My brain went “uh oh” but I put on a smile and joked with her about what she was doing there.  We made brief chit chat.  Then she excitedly asked, “How’s the baby?!”  There was a long, awkward pause and I said though immediate tears, “I lost him”.  She gasped and looked shocked, then began to cry too.  It is nice to be reminded that what happened IS shocking.  It is not what anyone else expected either.  It is my reality now, but it is not normal.  I didn’t get to see most people’s initial reaction to our news, since it was mostly given by others or via a group email from me.  It’s nice to see the shock on someone besides myself.  I find that validating somehow.  It also stabs my heart with a little glimpse of what my life could be like if my path had not taken such a sudden turn.  I so wish that I could respond with joyful, funny stories about Luke and what he was up to.  I wish I was running into people in the grocery store who were so excited to get a first peek at him in his little carrier on top of the cart.  I loved envisioning that.

It opened a discussion.  The teacher across the table also began to cry and told me of her loss of a baby at 4 months between her two children.  We all had a good dialogue.  After school, the sub teacher came by and hugged me for several minutes and cried with me again.  She asked to see Luke’s pictures.  I appreciated it so much.  It continues to highlight for me how differently people respond to things like this.  A girl who I would consider a much closer friend was also sitting across the lunch table during all of this, but said nothing.  I was one of the first people she told about her separation from her husband and we have shared many very personal conversations, but she hasn’t come to see Luke’s pictures and doesn’t talk to me about him.  Yet, this woman I rarely see cried with me and went out of her way to acknowledge my baby.  It’s weird how those you think will give you the reactions you want sometimes don’t and others you don’t expect anything from give so much comfort.  I still don’t really understand this, but I guess it has something to do with people’s comfort level with death and grief?

So far, 15 people from work have asked to see Luke’s pictures.  I am thankful for each one.  I love being able to show off my cute baby and to have his existence acknowledged.  Most people have cried when they see him.  I often cry with them, but not always.  It’s a weird thing to pause from work and have such an emotional moment. Sometimes I just can’t switch gears like that or I’m dry of tears from already crying so much.  I’m working up the courage to possibly put a link to his pictures on facebook.  Is this crazy?  I expect that doing so will again bring comfort from some I don’t expect it from and will disappoint me with others who won’t have the time or the courage to look at him.  I think I may be slightly obsessing with wanting people to see and acknowledge my baby.  I just want to get to show him off at least once to everyone.  I want to prove his existence.  Sometimes I feel like life has just reverted back to what it was before I got pregnant and that I made the whole thing up.  At least I know God sees him and not only does God acknowledge him, but Luke is in His amazing presence, feeling safe and content.

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3 thoughts on “How’s the Baby?!

  1. I had the same thing happen when I went back to work so many of my customer had not heard and it was hard to tell people. But the shock on people’s faces and the out pour of love. People that I don’t have more than a few minute interaction with cried when I told them. It’s a nice feeling to know people care. I am glad this lady reacted the way she did. As far as your friend, there are always people that just don’t know what to say or react. I love when people ask to see Elle because at least I can show her off in some way even though its never how I imagined it.

  2. Those moments are so hard. I’m glad that someone jumped in and wanted to talk about it.

    The Facebook picture thing is tricky. We never have, but for no particular reason. We kind of hoarded them to ourselves. I’m going to make a half-witted guess as to the outcome, and it’s probably the same outcome with or without pictures. Some just block your feed, and some draw nearer to you. Kind of the same experience you’re already having, just in a different way. Can’t go wrong either way.

    It amazes me all the time how large this community of parents who’ve lost children is, and we consistently find ways to run into one another. The day before we found out about Zoe, our saleslady at the furniture store turned out to be one of us. It was sad but comforting.

    Whatever right is, you’ll do it 🙂

  3. I remember dreading my first trip to the bank after we lost Maddox. During my pregnancy, I had developed a relationship with a couple of the tellers. Toward the end of my pregnancy, they would excitedly ask me “Are you still pregnant?” when I walked in the door, sharing in the joy of my anticipation of welcoming my first child. The first time I needed to go to the bank after losing Maddox, I made Andrew go with me because I knew it would be hard. Sure enough, they asked me. Even though I knew it was coming, I couldn’t speak. Andrew had to tell them for me. It broke down right there in the lobby, and one of the tellers came around and just hugged me. Later on, she write us a sympathy note and mailed it to our home. It was so thoughtful of her.

    I’m thankful that those moments no longer happen for me. Everyone who knew me when I was pregnant knows that Maddox died. But I still and will forever tell the new people in my life about him. My husband and I are young and the followup question to “Are you married?” is almost always “Do you have any kids?” Some days it’s harder to answer that question than others, but we do share about him, and that helps remind me that he was real. He was here with us. The life he had matters. And I can’t wait to get to heaven to see him again someday.

    Some people can handle it. Some people can’t. I even once had someone say to me, “I can’t talk about it. It makes me too sad.” I thought, “Really? YOU can’t talk about it? He was MY son. You’re not the one who lost him.” But you know, you just kind of have to accept that those kinds of people will come along. When they do, just try to be gracious and realize that they don’t know what they’re saying or how their actions or words (or lack of them) affect you. You can pull through this with the love and support of the people who love you and those who have been where you are now. Most importantly, God will never leave your side.

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