Trigger warning: child loss
I just wanted a decent latte. I wanted to leave the house for a little while. I just wanted a “break.” So when I saw you walk in with your stroller and I hung my head, I know you saw my disparaged face. I saw you struggling to get your stroller and newborn through the door – I didn’t offer to help or hold the door open and I secretly wished you would have forgotten something and would need to leave.
I saw the look of panic on your face when your baby started to cry – I panicked too. I saw your face as you watched me wince and look away when you took your baby out of the carrier. I’m sure my response added some anxiety as I continued to look away and avoid you all together. We are both moms, we should be in this together – at the very least I could have offered you a smile. I remember the newborn phase and how hard it is.
Today was my first day out of the house without a doctor’s appointment, therapy appointment, or drive-thru run. Today was an exercise prescribed by my therapist to try and have some normalcy back in my life again. Today I took a shower and put on pants and a bra – all in the same day.
Today, it has been three weeks since I lost my son… He was born perfect at 30 weeks and 5 days. Perfectly silent with no heartbeat and no reason why he shouldn’t be here today.
Today I saw you and your crying baby and it was like a horrific slap in the face by the universe that on my first attempt to “do real life” again, I was met with your perfectly healthy, crying baby. I cringed and looked away because it hurt. Not because I am a terrible person who hates babies. Quite the opposite. I am grieving my baby. I am grieving his cry I never heard. I am grieving those moments of struggling with the stroller. I do not wish this upon you, this is a club no one should have to join. But I wish my outcome was different.
My son never took a breath, but he was a wise teacher and I have been fortunate to learn great lessons from him. The lesson that struck me here was that we don’t know what people are going through and you really don’t know anyone’s story. It would have been easy to brush me off as a total B.
In reality, what may have appeared to be a woman who hates children was a woman who just hates that her child is no longer alive. I have known a pain I never thought possible, and that pain can make you see, feel, and believe all kinds of things. But I also now know a compassion I didn’t know possible either.
Maybe I didn’t have it for the new mommy getting a latte because my pain was too fresh, but that day my son taught me a lesson. If I could see that new mommy now, I would tell her she’s doing a great job. And maybe if she knew my story, she’d tell me I’m doing a great job too.