Now that I am starting to look more obviously "with child," I've been faced with the question I have been dreading since the day I found out I was pregnant with little E: "is this your first?"
I usually deal with this question in one of two ways.
1) I simply smile and nod. This is my response when the question is coming from someone I do not know at all, and will likely never see again. Take, for example, the 17-year old girl ringing up my toothpaste, goldfish crackers, and toilet paper at Target. I mean, what's the point of explaining the whole sad story to some girl I have no connection to whatsoever? All that's going to do is make things really awkward and quite possibly ruin her day. I always feel a little bit like I'm lying in these situations, but I don't really feel guilty about it. It's kind of like when a stranger says, "how are you doing?" and you say, "fine, thanks," even though you're having a really crappy day.
2) I say "no, we actually lost our first baby late in the second trimester." This is how I answer the question when its coming from someone I do have at least some sort of relationship with. Coworkers, friends of friends, those sorts of people (and sometimes, depending on how chatty they are and how much I think they are going to pry for details, people like hair stylists make it into this category as well). Of course, when I tell people that I lost a baby, it always turns into a longer conversation. People want to know why, how, when. They usually react with shock and pity, but 99% of the time, they end up being really, really nice and understanding. More often than not, they go onto to tell me about their daughter/cousin/sister/great aunt who had a stillbirth and then later had a healthy baby (or two or three or four). I actually enjoy telling people about you, my first little girl. I like having the opportunity to say your name and tell your story.
So when straight-up asked the question, I have no problem figuring out what to say (or what not to say). My problem comes when people just assume 'E' is my first without even asking.
Because I'm young (and am obviously never seen out and about with living children in tow!), most everyone that doesn't know me very well assumes this is my first pregnancy, my first child. For example, it came up in a meeting with a bunch of work people that I don't interact with on a very regular basis (they work from a different office), that I was pregnant. Everyone started saying "oh my gosh! Congrats! You must be so excited! How are you feeling?" When I said, "oh, I've been feeling pretty sick," one of the ladies was like, "don't worry, it will get better once you're in the second trimester." How do I respond? What I want to say is, "I know, I've been pregnant before!" But at the same time, I almost feel bad ruining their fun and excitement by bringing up my history (especially in the middle of a meeting). It's just so awkward. It's easy to respond when people ask me, but I never know how to bring it up when they don't.
And then the worst is when people do know all about you and pretty much choose to pretend you never happened; like I was never pregnant. It's like because my baby didn't end up coming home with me, I was never six months pregnant, like I'm not qualified to share my experiences, like it didn't count.
This whole thing is just so complicated. Do you know how badly I wish my answer to the "is this your first" question could be "nope, I have a beautiful 15-month old little girl at home"? Man, I would give anything to be able to say that.
No matter how I respond on the outside, the way I feel inside never changes: you are my first. Always and forever.
I miss you so much,
3 hours ago