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?