Two extremes

I just returned from a nearly three week vacation to the East Coast, so I’m both behind on posting and yet have so much I want to share with you all, about Ander’s memorial service, about how I’m working on my negative attitude by channeling my mother, about where we’re going next. But I figured I’d start today with two extremes regarding pregnancy announcements. This is a lesson on what to do, and what not to do, when announcing your pregnancy to a babyloss couple.

Situation #1: K’s family has a house on a lake in NY, where she used to spend summers (now her folks live here year round). Through swim lessons and the shared summer experience, she and two other girls became best friends. L and B and we are all still close, and went to each others’ weddings, and visit, etc. B had a baby boy this past February; Ander was supposed to be born in April. We got to meet baby Benjamin when we were visiting this past week. He’s cute, he’s chubby, I was jealous, but B has always been SO gracious. She and hubby and baby walked in the Denver March of Dimes for us, and both B and her mom were and are just lovely about always remembering Ander and saying how much they wished he and Benjamin would have grown up together over the summers, and sent us a lovely letter about how she had wished our two boys were meeting and playing on blankets in the grass instead of what was.

While B and hubby and Benjamin were visiting with us last week, L and hubby came over too… to announce, with all the reasonable excitement of a typical couple, that L is 11 weeks pregnant. Of course, following this announcement, the talk then segued into pregnancy, and morning sickness, and tender boobs, etc. B was sympathizing, and I kept chiming in, but it felt off. Who wants to emulate the pregnancy of a woman whose baby died? I couldn’t help but think L was thinking “I hope my pregnancy is nothing like Caitlin’s.”

THAT was super hard. We had a chance of continuing the friendships: three best friends giving birth to baby boys in the same year. Of course, L doesn’t know the sex of her baby yet. But still. We spent a lot of hours after they left wishing for the “if onlys.” K reminded me we could still have another baby that was the same age as L’s, but we both know it’s not the same.  L has always been considerate of our loss, so it surprised me that she didn’t see how announcing her pregnancy, while we were sitting there already struggling with Benjamin playing in front of us and all the “if only’s,” maybe wouldn’t be the kindest thing to do. I guess she won’t know just how hard it is until she’s a mother herself?

On the other extreme, one of our friends, the one who I’ve previously mentioned as the person who just gets how to react when someone loses a baby, sent us an email. After some preamble to catch up (she is one of our DC friends whom we miss terribly), the next paragraph was this:

“I also wanted to email you because I have other news, too.  I know you think of Ander every day and I know that you’re planning on starting TTC again soon, but I also imagine that each new pregnancy and birth you hear of is probably salt in such a raw wound, and I want to try to be sensitive to that.  I also know that you two are incredible women, strong mothers, and amazing friends who love your friends and are happy for them-even when it makes you sad/angry/somanyemotions.  With all that being said, I wanted to let you know that I’m pregnant and due in January.  I wanted to tell you myself since you are my dear friends, but also to give you a heads up that I’ll be posting about on FB in the next couple of days.  I know that you’re happy for me, and I also know that you’re probably having some other strong emotions, and I totally respect that.  I love you both and value your friendships and I also can appreciate it if you need a little distance.”

Sometimes, people just get it, you know? Because that is how I feel. I AM happy for her; she and her husband are just wonderful people who are already raising a wonderful daughter. But yes, I’m jealous, in the “she has two and I have none” kind of way. But I’m now much more inclined to want to be supportive of her, because of how gentle she is and has always been with our feelings. She is not a babyloss mom, yet knew that if I first saw her FB post about her pregnancy, it would sting. Now, I can prepare myself, and for that, I’m grateful.

So. Two good friends are now pregnant (one, for the second time). About one, I’m bitter; about the other, I’m happy. It all had to do with the way the news was delivered. I’m still jealous, of course; I don’t know if I can ever really do anything about that. But as we get closer to October (when we start TTC again), I get incrementally more hopeful that we, too, will be able to celebrate. Maybe this time next year?

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3 Responses to Two extremes

  1. pleromama says:

    Oh, how beautifully sensitive and intuitive of your friend. Just reading her announcement made me tear up at how loving and considerate she is. I’m frequently amazed at who just gets it and who doesn’t; it hasn’t quite jived with who I would expect in our circle.

  2. meghanoc says:

    You nailed it. There are some far better ways to announce than others. You friend who gets it is amazing. By putting putting it out there- how it will probably be difficult for you- gives you permission to admit that it is! I had this experience after Mabel’s Down SYndrome diagnosis. My sister and cousin each told me they were expecting within two weeks of each other. My sister knew I feared I would lose my baby, and simply acknowledged that her news might be hard to hear. My cousin did no such thing. It set the stage for how I related to both them throughout the whole thing. WHat a difference a few disclaimer words can make!

    I understand that it’s your other friend’s first baby and I’m sure she had dreams of announcing it to her close friends. She probably watched you guys be pregnant together and is likely just happy to join the ranks. BUT a little sensitivity can go a long way. Yes, she deserves to have all the things that come with pregnancy, like telling her friends how she wants. But we dont all get what we want or deserve, If that were true Ander would be here. Sometimes we give things up. There are so many normal pregnancy thing people like us give up. How crummy that she told you at such an emotionally challenging moment. I’m sad that she couldnt recognize that.

  3. I totally get what you’re saying. You’re so lucky to have such a intuitive friend – I’m fortunate to have such a friend, too, she just knows the right thing to say. Sadly some people just don’t get the sensitivity of such things and get caught up in their own happiness. Some people get it and some don’t, like others have observed. You want to be happy for your friends, but a little bit of thought in to how such news is delivered really does go a long way xxx

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