Sometimes its exhausting being walking gloom.
This week I was away at a professional conference, a first since Ezra died. As it approached I became apprehensive about being away from home, even if it was just for 2 nights and 3 days; I've become so reliant on having the safe space of my house and the comfort of my husband to retreat to after a long day. Although it was exhausting, the conference was exciting and so I muddled through.
What I hadn't thought to anticipate is how frequently I'd be asked 'do you have children?' by various colleagues I met at the conference. Up until I was pregnant with Ezra, I'd always answer that question with a hopeful, 'not yet'. Then while pregnant it was 'just this one on the way'.
The reality is that I am the worst liar in the world. The only way I know how to answer that question now is 'yes but he died'. And if they press for more, simply 'he was stillborn' or 'he died just before he was born'. Usually that ends that line of conversation. In fact it sometimes ends the conversation entirely.
Most people don't know what to do with that information. Some are appropriate, at least spitting out 'I'm sorry' or 'I can't imagine'. But once spoken, the fact of his life and death hangs between us, no one quite knows what to say next. I hate being the one to drag a rainy black cloud over everybody. But I can't deny my son's existence.
One particular group of 3 women from the same office were all wearing the same kind of necklace, with their children's names engraved on round silver disks on chains around their necks. One said, 'ooh you have the same necklace as us. How old is your child?' I said, 'he was stillborn in August' and their faces dropped like dominos...1, 2, 3. They all said they were sorry. They all said they had a friend who had also had a stillbirth. They changed the topic.
The interaction reminded me of junior high. Eager to fit in with whatever was the latest fad, it was like having the popular girls say 'ooh you have doc martens like us' and having to admit they weren't the real thing. Still on the outside looking in, just like junior high.
Sometimes its tiring being a mama only in my head and in my heart. I wish the rest of the world could see it too.
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