A woman I know, a very kind, wonderful woman, recently married late in life and was eager to start a family. This lady was very thoughtful in how she approached me after Cecilia’s birth. She was heartbroken for me, for Husband.
Last week, the docs told this good woman she is going through menopause. Her children will not be born of her body. Her age (and her husband’s age) mean she faces a long road to adopting.
I have been through loss, but not the kind of loss she is facing. I know what it is to have nature break your heart, but I do not know what it is to have your hope taken from you. Even at the bottom of our grief, we had “the next time” to look forward to. We knew another child would never replace Cecilia, but at least we could expect there would be another child.
When you start to seek support for pregnancy loss, you inevitably find yourself among people for whom loss and infertility are, unfortunately, a way of life. I took their stories and their frustrations to heart, hoping to learn something and become a better friend, a better person. I wish I could thank all of them today, because I think I may have done right by this nice lady.
I DID NOT do any of the following:
I didn’t say “oh, it’s ok- you can just adopt!”
I didn’t tell her the miracle story of some friend-of-a-roomate’s-relative who conceived against all odds.
I didn’t tell her it was “God’s will” and she should just trust in that.
I didn’t tell her I knew how she felt.
I DID do these things:
I gave her a huge hug.
I told her I was sorry.
I acknowledged her loss, and that she’d need to grieve.
I offered my office as a refuge if she needed to escape the cube farm for a good cry.
I gave her another huge hug.
And then I went home that night and hugged Husband. And we took a moment to realize that even after all that happened with our first pregnancy, we are truly fortunate. Our memories of Cecilia will always be bittersweet and she will always be in our hearts. But she will not be the end of our family- she will not be our only child. Hope and Cecilia’s sibling are growing inside of me.
Happy Mothers Day to all the women who are mothers in their hearts even when nature has other ideas for their bodies. May the world treat you with the same respect and kindness we afford all mothers on this day- and perhaps with a little more for your journey.