“Is this your first one?”
“Oh, how exciting!”
“…..Yes, it sure is.”
I’m pregnant. At the visible stage now, with just 7 weeks left to go until the baby will be here. For the last few months, every time a casual conversation gets sparked with a stranger, inevitably, this question arises: “Is this your first one?” and every time, I politely smile and say… “yes, yes it is.”
Years ago, pregnant for the first time, I had a quiet, peaceful pregnancy, normal in every way. Blissfully trusting of the dr.’s that I had placed in charge of my body and the birth of my child, at 42 weeks pregnant, two weeks over due, a 9 lb. baby boy finally emerged into this world. He died ten minutes after he was born.
The details that surround this story are difficult to hear. They are graphic, they are sad, and they are immensely angering. They are saturated in the hard truth and reality that life doesn’t always succeed, even in this miraculous age of modern technology that we live in. Babies still die, and people don’t want to talk about it.
Life has moved forward for me, and here I am years later, pregnant again, nearing the time when this baby will make his grand entrance into the world. I am excited. I am happy. I am in love. I have long accepted the past and I am eager to move forward with this new life… but lest not forget.
people have pain, and we should not be so quick to avoid its uncomfortable truths. It is understood that the stranger behind the desk at “Babies R Us” does not need to hear my traumatic first birth story when she asks “is this your first one?” So of course, I will answer with, “yes, yes it is.”
But what strikes me most in this scenario, is that she does not stop to think for even one second that perhaps this is not my first one, and that my first one did not necessarily result in a healthy new baby…even though one in four pregnancies results in a loss… The thought of a pregnant woman having a baby previously die, just doesn’t occur in the mind of most people. And why would it?
We have become conditioned to avoid our pain and the pain of one another. We do anything to avoid it… To such the extent that we do not even allow such thoughts to enter into our heads when speaking to one another. We are hopeful always, that everyone has lived a well-adjusted life with only fuzzy memories attached, and when we are sudden to realize that this may not be the case, we squirm.
We try to keep things glossy and pretty, happy and fluffy, and at the first hint of expressing a “negative” emotion, we run from it, awkwardly and uncomfortably. We meet behind closed doors, with professionals to talk through our “issues.” Nearly half of the people in this country are currently taking some type of antidepressant…. All the meanwhile, gliding through life with a gentle delicacy, void of anything potentially difficult to face.
It has somehow become taboo, or forbidden to admit, out loud to one another that we hurt, or have ever been hurt.. that we struggle with life or have had traumatic experiences… That we are human.
I am not suggesting that we should all start opening up our demon closets to expose each other of all our misery and sorrow at every chance we get. What I am suggesting is; if we were to become a bit more aware of each other’s human qualities, then maybe we wouldn’t need to feel like we had to hide from our own pain so much… That instead of denying ourselves the ability to speak freely, avoiding the other half of the emotional spectrum, we could encourage each other, and VALIDATE each other, to heal each other.
That day that my first-born died, and the healing process that followed was the most transformative, powerfully life altering event in my life, and to deny that it ever happen simply to avoid making someone else feel uncomfortable, hurts every time I am asked, “Is this your first one?” and I answer with, “yes, yes it is.”
~Thank you to my lovely husband for hearing my every word, for asking me EVERYDAY how I feel, for accepting my challenges and working to conquer them with me instead of letting me attempt them alone.