I’ve now had the misfortune of being on both sides of this coin. When I was pregnant, all I wanted to do was talk about my pregnancy and my future son. I could babble on and on with the excitement, and trust me… I did. I get it. I really, really do. When I actually HAD my baby, this desire exploded by about a million. I had a thousand pictures of that kid by the time he was a month old and I was all too happy to share his pictures all over social media and with anyone who would look. I was, and still am, one heck of a proud mama.
While I know that many women deal with infertility or pregnancy loss, it certainly didn’t stop me from sharing about my son or my experience as a new mom. I don’t think it should have, either. I was happy and smitten and I wanted the world to know. I certainly never shared with the intentions of hurting anyone or rubbing it in their faces. And I know without a shadow of a doubt that none of my pregnant or new mom friends are doing that now. They are sharing their joy and excitement, as well they should be. It’s hard to contain! I don’t want anyone to hesitate to share their happiness with me because of my loss. Be happy! Be joyful! I want you to be!
The week I was going through everything was actually the exact same week a friend of mine was in labor and delivering her new baby girl. I was genuinely excited and anxious to hear the news, checking my phone nonstop to hear whether the baby was born yet. I was thrilled to see photos and share words of wisdom with the new mom. I was really and truly happy for her, even while I was suffering a loss of my own.
I can still share in everyone else’s joy and happiness. I still want to see your photos, hear your stories. I’ll still ask you a million questions and I will mean all the well wishes I’m sending your way. My smile for you will be real and I will sigh happily with each picture you share.
Does this mean it doesn’t hurt? Of course not. Of course it hurts. I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel those pangs of sadness and loss when I see someone else with their new baby or bump. I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel envious when I wonder why we were cursed with an ectopic pregnancy while others happily experience no problems. When I see your squishy new babies, or read another pregnancy announcement, I feel nostalgic and heartsick for when my own little guy was a new baby. I wonder with worry if I will experience that newness of life, that excitement, that bursting of love, ever again.
So, yes. Sometimes I feel sad. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that. But I am also truly happy for those who are getting to experience the wonders (and horrors!) of a new baby or pregnancy. I would never expect anyone to stop sharing their joy. I know I will do the same again if we have another.
And I hope you’ll be happy for me… but if you have to cry, I’ll understand that, too.
Edited to add: a friend pointed out that people might say “but you already have one kid and some people have none.” And yes, I understand where they are coming from because I used to think the same thing. My response was this: loss sucks whether you have none, one, or ten. That desire or longing for a child doesn’t go away just because you have one if you want more. And I had to say to my son while crying, “I’m sorry about your brother or sister.” He didn’t understand yet, but now I have to consider the possibility of him growing up alone. So yes, I certainly understand the perspective of those who have none, but a loss is a loss just the same. This is not meant to be insensitive or uncaring in any way. Your feelings are valid as are mine because they are just that… feelings. Something of which we have little to no control over.