Yesterday I had a dear friend tell me she was pregnant. I actually knew she was pregnant due to someone leaking their news through social media but I didn't want to say anything until she shared her news with me. She is due less than 2 weeks later than Ava's due date. She is also having a little girl. She had been waiting for the right time to tell me and had wanted to tell me in person and though she had always planned on telling me much sooner (time, distance and sick kids kept it from happening) last night ended up being the right time.
I was really grateful that she told me in person, at my house with just her and I. She knew it would be hard for me and was so beautiful in the way she told me. I can't imagine being pregnant and wanting to share it but not being able to because you don't want to cause more pain to the other person who has recently lost their baby, and then to tell them it's the same gender and due so close.
I didn't cry - because I had found out through social media it wasn't a huge shock, but it still cut through me and stung, and that's me being very honest and we were able to speak about that. She listened while I told her Ava's story from the very beginning and we looked through Ava's things and photographs. It felt good to be able to share our pregnancy stories. I liked sharing my birth story and look forward to hearing her birth story when the time comes. I enjoyed hearing about her and her husbands plans for their first baby, all the while feeling shattered that this little girl won't have her little friend Ava to grow up with and have play dates.
I think the best thing was having my friend acknowledge how hard this must be for me, because however awkward it must be for her, it's not painful like it is for me.
I think the fact that I have 2 living children has helped in some ways as before I had children and when I had my first miscarriage I was so scared on never experiencing motherhood and just becoming a statistic in infertility. After my first miscarriage seeing pregnant women in the shops (and let's face it, it feels like EVERY SINGLE person is pregnant when your not) was really hard, moments of feeling like I was going to burst into tears came often. People asking if I had any children cut right through me.
It still hurts, it does feel like everyone is suddenly pregnant while I am not anymore, with so many pregnancy announcements in quick succession from people I know, but it doesn't mean I'm not happy for them, thrilled that they are carrying healthy children.
But I am also human and jealousy is real, and anyone who says a babyloss mother shouldn't feel jealousy is kidding themselves. It is a natural reaction. How could you not be?
I've heard it said (thankfully not to myself) you should be grateful and thankful for the children you have - of course, but what that person should be asked "what child would you be willing to give up".
So the next time you or someone you know is pregnant, tell the person, give them some space and let them react the way that they need too. Don't let them find out by someone else or when the baby is actually born. Be honest about the gender and due dates. Invite them to your baby shower - let them decide if it's doable for them or not at this point in time. Let them talk about their baby and pregnancy just like you want to talk about yours. Let them cry, let them take themselves to another room if they need too. Just let them respond how they need too at that point in time.
This is just how I felt yesterday, had it happened on a different day I could have felt much differently. I might even feel differently about it all next week.
I thank my friend for not telling me in the first few weeks of my initial grief where I know I would not have been able to process the news how I would have wanted too. She chose a good time. She was upfront and didn't try to get away from the subject. Don't just assume that the conversation about babies has to stop when a babyloss mummy steps into the room or conversation, they will only feel more alienated and isolated. They went through pregnancy and birth too and it would be nice to share it when the times right.