It’s been exactly one month since the day our daughter was born, the same day she died. Coincidentally, if things had worked out differently, today, I’d be 28 weeks pregnant, the first day that she would have had relatively good (if difficult) odds, had we made it that long. Thinking about how many days have passed between now and then, how long it already seems, the idea that we ever could have made it this much longer seems naive.
We were talking the other night about how we’d prefer for people to interact with us now. For Dan, this feels like an extremely private thing, something he doesn’t want to talk about with anyone but family. It’s easier for him when people act like nothing has happened.
For me, this is the most upsetting possible reaction. I don’t know exactly why, because it is uncomfortable to talk about. Unpleasant. I cry, my voice breaks, it’s hard to do and I’m sure it’s difficult to hear. But at the same time, I feel like Something Happened. Something huge. We had a child. It ended in terrible tragedy, but we had a child, and that matters. I want to shout it from the rooftops. Pretending like it didn’t happen makes me feel like she didn’t really exist, and that’s worse than tearing up when I talk about her. I never got to know her on the outside, but I still have plenty to say about her, and about what happened.
And this experience has changed me, in a huge indescribable way. I may not seem different, but I feel different. Hugely different. The kind of different that everyone needs to know about; I want to tell everyone I meet, wear a T-shirt, hold up a sign. This feels like important information that you need to know about me just to say hello. Name, age, place of residence, occupation, and oh, my baby died and it was awful but she was wonderful. The idea that I can be talking to someone and they wouldn’t know that about me seems like a lie of omission.
Sometimes I wonder if, when I talk about her, it makes everyone listening uncomfortable. I’ll admit that mostly I don’t care. I didn’t get to bring her home; I shouldn’t have to pretend she didn’t happen, too.