A couple of days after Michael’s due date, the boys and I decided to go up to the playground for a little bit. There was nobody there at first, and it was nice to have time to ourselves. Then a mother and her two boys pulled up in their car. Her boys were about the same age as Matthew and Ryan from what I could tell. The mother came over eventually to us. Her boys were playing with the sprinkler as our boys were as well. We were busy chatting about our lives, where we had been with our previous “jobs” and our boys now. I was just enjoying relating with someone. And then she asked me a question that caught me off-guard. “Are you going to try for a girl?”
Silence. I think my heart skipped a beat. I was a deer in head lights. At first I didn’t know what to say. It took me a few seconds to gather my thoughts and then I calmly said, “Do you really want to know?”
I never really cared for those kinds of questions being asked to me over the years. Like when I was pregnant with Ryan, my second, people would say, “Do you want a girl?” I would say that it did not matter. We were just hoping for healthy. And whatever God gave us was great. I think I was also raised not to desire a certain gender, and not to ask those kinds of questions. So whenever I get asked that, I just don’t understand it. But, to each his own and we are all different. So carry on.
I proceeded to tell her that we lost a baby girl about a year ago while I was pregnant. And then we lost another this year. A boy. I guess if you are going to ask those kinds of questions, be prepared. Some may not share about their losses. But I feel that I would not be “owning” my two children, Emily and Michael, that we lost. They were real. I didn’t share many details of everything while talking with this mother. It was not the time or place. Plus I had just met her. I then just told her that it has been really hard for us, but we are doing okay.
She said that she was sorry which was nice. And I said thank you. Then there was some more silence, and then she walked over to one of her boys. I felt alone. Like maybe I shouldn’t have said anything. This same feeling that I feel often when I go to gatherings where people know that we lost two babies, but say nothing. This is a part of my life, a huge part, and always will be. This is why I don’t talk a lot to other mothers at the playground when we go. Most that I see have little babies or are pregnant. I don’t want to feel like I do not relate. That I don’t fit in. I do not want to feel alone.
A few minutes went by, then she came back over. And we small talked about other things. A little bit later she asked how our older boy was handling it all having lost two babies. And if he even knew about everything. I said, “Thanks for asking. Matthew is doing okay. He knows what has happened. So does Ryan. Matthew understands more because of his age. It’s a part of their lives now.” And that was about it. We both left the playground within forty-five minutes of this conversation and went on with our separate lives.
I guess it taught me to “be prepared” for questions to be asked in the coming months and even years. It has given me something to think about for sure. I thought afterwards I wish I wouldn’t have said, “Do you really want to know?” But part of me thinks maybe saying that will cause people to think twice about questions like that. I don’t really know what the answer is right now. And maybe I do not need one at this moment in time. Maybe it will just come to me, and it will just feel right. Like I am honoring Emily and Michael, while also, letting others know that baby loss is real in our world. As much as it seems that it is not talked about a whole lot.