I guess if I’m being honest, I kinda knew. I just did. There was no forewarning inside my head to steel myself. There was a knowing when she entered the room, I just knew. But like a turtle I pulled into my shell. Foolishly, I didn’t take the time to inwardly strengthen myself. Instead, I argued with myself.
You would know. Someone would have told you. Right?? I mean, they all know how hard this year has been, surely no one would allow you to be blindsided with this.
I looked again.
I looked away.
I tuned into the subject at hand. The “chatline” had recently had a good story. A preacher got swindled out of thousands of dollars.
The snow was still coming down outside, other subjects were discussed. I checked the score of the ongoing football game. And eventually mealtime came, then cleanup. And cleanup means ladies in the kitchen, men still discussing manly things, in another room. My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and I chatted easily.
I hope someday to forget this specific moment. The moment I asked her about her upcoming work. The moment she casually mentioned how her morning sickness has really, REALLY caused her problems. The ball of lead in my stomach returned with a vengeance, my lungs forgot how to breathe. The wet dish towel in my hand became intertwined through my fingers.
“Morning sickness?” I stupidly ask, looking toward my mother-in-law, wishing this conversation away.
“Well, yes. I’m pregnant.” My face probably gave me away. It’s never my eyes that are windows to my soul, no, it’s my entire face. A billboard advertising my feelings and emotions. “You didn’t know?” She shrugged. “I’m due in July.”
On December 20th, it was a year since we had Liam, I wrote a long post about it. I started 3 blogs. I wrestled between anger and sadness. I am jaded and hurting, constantly asking why I had to say goodbye, yet others take the lives of their unborn (or born) out of selfish and cruel motives.
I fought and cried, wishing there would be a massive snowstorm that would prevent this trip to Wisconsin. (But magically disappear the moment Lamar relented and cancelled the trip of course.)
I had read a blog last week. How the author learned she didn’t need to say things like “I miss my child, but – ”
No. Instead she learned to replace the word but with the word and. So I tried my own experiment. Well not an experiment, just decided to do this:
Liam was my son also. So just as I talked about Alex and Callan, and heard stories of their children, I too mentioned Liam. I mentioned going to see his grave, and missing him. I talked about labor and the difficulty of losing a baby.
I still needed to endure 5 more days after Monday. I confided to a few friends the difficulty this news was. I excused myself a time or two, needing to just regroup and find my poker face. (I don’t actually know if I have one, but I tell myself I do.)
It was a good week. It was a hard week. I learned a few more Dutch words. I ate far too much food. I got mad and begged to leave early. I read a lot, 2 big books and 1 medium one. Plus a couple Young Companion publications. I didn’t sleep much, did not drink enough coffee, took my Plexus, sold some Plexus… it was a full week.
At some point, I looked around the circle of Martin wives. (One was missing) There will be more Martin babies. 3 brothers are still single. Two wives are currently pregnant, and planned (or unplanned) pregnancies are rarely discussed, especially with the mother-in-law present. (Haha) I realize this will happen again, more babies. And none from us. I remembered fondly the baby days of my boys, and I wish to turn back the clock. Even the constant outfit destroying messes from the one, the team-no-sleep-needed from the other. The formula, the diapers, the laundry, all of it. I would do it again.
This first was painful. This surprise, casual bombshell was heartless and rude. But it will probably happen again. And my reaction will be nothing short of
Congratulations! served with a smile.