10 points to your house if you get the above reference (and 20 points if you get that and the second reference I just made).
Even though we have a beautiful, healthy baby boy in our home now, pregnancy loss is still prevalent in everyday interactions. People still ask questions that are pretty socially acceptable even if they still leave me feeling awkward.
My most recent interaction was a cashier at a drug store:
“Aww! What’s his name?”
“He has beautiful eyes. How old is he?”
“Is he your first?”
“Yes” (As in yes, he’s my first 8 month old)
At least the conversation ended there. In the grocery recently, I had two women tell me I needed to hurry up and give him a sibling. Even if I do talk about my daughters, people still insist I need to keep trying for more kids.
I’d like to think that it’s because my son is so adorable that they just want to see more like him in the world. But really I’m left dumbfounded as to how to respond.
And yet I know I’m not the only one who has these kinds of interactions on a daily basis. While situations may be different, the awkward feelings edged with grief, regret, or shame still feel the same. And while I will continue to emphasize how necessary it is to stop asking these questions, in the meantime, I’ve learned a process to get through it.
Be Kind, But Don’t Rewind
- Be Kind. Always assume the motivations and intentions of the speaker are good, even if the words come across uneducated or lacking compassion. Even though there is so much more information on how to interact with one who is grieving, a lot of people still haven’t accessed that information yet. Keeping this in mind helps me to be kind with my response. And I will either calmly explain my reality or patiently move the conversation to a different topic or end it altogether.
- Don’t Rewind. Leave the conversation right where it is. Don’t let the person’s comments or judgments carry into your day. This is so much easier said than done, I know. People’s words hold so much weight, especially when we are already feeling so much. But letting go isn’t giving in to the other person, but instead, it’s prioritizing your own health. It’s not selfish to continue doing what is best for yourself and your own journey. The Bible is full of people who faced the judgment of those around them, yet continued to prioritize the path God set out for them.
Of course, for me, it all comes back to God. The voices in this world are loud and opinionated. But the reality is that none of us have it all figured out. We don’t understand everything that happens, and we don’t have the answers to everything. But God sees the bigger picture. God has plans that are greater than anything we ever imagined. And when I’m feeling discouraged or words and questions sting, it is God’s truth that I don’t mind playing over and over again.