I have become the pregnant woman that I used to avoid at all costs. You might find me at Tar.get. Or your favorite restaurant. Just walking down the street.
I am unmistakably pregnant. I've been told that I glow. I rub my belly - both because it itches and because my baby is moving like a wild thing. I don't even realize that I am doing it half the time.
This morning, I was in line at Star.buck's. The lady in front of me turned around and I saw it. I saw the unmistakeable sadness tug at her eyes. Before you think that I could be just imagining it, she asked me how far along I was. She asked how I was feeling, morning sick? Back aches? All of the above? She was friendly, genuinely interested in my pregnancy, but that look was still there, a tightening of the mouth, a slight grimness to the smile.
From her questions, it was clear that she knew a lot about pregnancy. I didn't want to ask, because I was almost sure that I knew the answer, but then there was no guessing.
"I was due in September."
The was caught in her throat and lashed into my heart. "Oh, I am sorry."
"I lost the baby in April."
"I'm so, so sorry." Why is it that after all of our losses, that is still the best that I can come up with? Why is it that I have nothing more profound to offer this grieving mother?
"This isn't my first pregnancy. I lost several babies before this one. I know how much it hurts," was what I decided to say.
"Oh, that's awful. It took us three years to get pregnant. We did IVF. And then I lost it." I can see that she hates her body, for what it failed to protect, for losing what she held so dear.
I wanted to comfort, to offer solace. But despite our common background, the belly between us felt like a deep chasm.
Suddenly, it was her turn to order. Life interrupted. We both got caught up in getting our drinks, moving on with our day. I tried to catch her attention again before she left, wanting to give her some of the resources that I found so helpful, but she was gone.
Before I was pregnant, I felt that it was so easy to reach out. Now, it's different. Even when I comment on blogs now, I feel self-conscious. I don't comment sometimes, even when I want to, because I fear that I might come across differently than I did before, that I might hurt instead of help. It is certainly no easier in the real world to know the right or wrong things to say. "I'm sorry" doesn't seem like enough, even though I know it is better than nothing. I just feel as if I should be able to do better.
As I was crossing the parking lot, I saw her driving away. I couldn't see clearly enough to know for sure, but I almost am positive that she was crying.
And a second later, so was I.