This time last year, I was gushing with the secret that I was pregnant with my second child. Dan and I weren’t trying to get pregnant; we just did, and had it in our minds that because we got pregnant unexpectedly that this little bean growing inside me was certainly someone special.
My second pregnancy was vastly different from my first one. With Dax, I felt like Superwoman all the time (well, Superwoman who needed periodic naps throughout the day). However, the second time around, I was pretty miserable for the majority of it — constant stomach issues, nausea, hunger, and anxiety.
So when I went to the bathroom at a friend’s birthday party in late October and saw the blood indicating the beginning of “labor” (should that be in quotes? I don’t know. I certainly labored but it just feels strange to me.) part of me wasn’t all that shocked, if I’m honest. But all of me was heartbroken and sad. A few weeks afterward, when my heart was still raw, I remember praying to God and asking Him to just explain to me why.
The explanation never came, but He did give me a name — the name of the baby I’d never hold.
“That’s a really interesting tattoo you have,” said my son Dax’s preschool teacher as I was bending down to pick him up today.
“What made you decide to get it there?”
“Oh, yeah,” I laughed as I awkwardly flashed my armpit. (The tattoo in question is on located on the inside of my right bicep.) “This is my family tattoo — see, these two birds are for Dan and me and this bird is Dax, and this white one is for a baby we lost — so I got it on what I call my ‘mom bicep’.”
“Oh, okay,” she replied with understanding. “Did you have your miscarriage before or after Dax?”
“It was after. Like, almost exactly a year ago,” I said distracted as I reached for and just barely missed my son bolting out the door.
“Oh, yeah, I had one right before I had my son,” she offered.
After that exchange there was a blur around me involving my so-ready-to-leave toddler and all of his things, but as Dax was outside climbing into his car seat, his teacher came up behind me.
“Lindsay! I hope you aren’t upset with me about asking about your miscarriage,” she said sweetly with real concern sparkling in her eyes.
“Oh no! Not at all! If I wasn’t comfortable talking about it I wouldn’t have mentioned it in the first place.”
“Okay, just wanted to make sure,” she replied with a smile. “Have a great weekend!”
And just like that, we transformed from a teacher speaking with her student’s mother to two women gently sharing with each other their particular pieces of this broken life who can honestly say in that moment, “I know how you feel. It’s okay. I get it. I get you. It’s okay.”
And that is everything.
7 thoughts on “empathy.”
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thank you for sharing. can’t say I know that kind of pain but I know a slightly different kind so I get some of it. <<>>
Beautifully written piece that really captures the value and importance of letting go or roles sometimes so we can be there for each other simply as fellow human beings. Thanks for sharing:-) H xxx
Someone at work did the same to me. I’d had a miscarriage at 17 weeks so everyone knew. She told me when I came back to work she had lost her first baby years ago. In a strange way it bonded us. She understood. All the sadness. She’d been there too. I hope i can provide someone with that comfort one day too.
It always awes me when I see that sharing can bond, encourage, and lift up broken people. I want to be more of a “sharer.” Thanks for sharing such a personal part of your life. Have a great 31 Days of Writing journey. PS – Hope you’ve recovered from the fire ants.
It’s amazing how strangers or acquaintances go from outside The circle to inside with one acknowledgment: I’ve felt that pain.
That’s all there is.
That’s all there needs to be.