...I get a little bit tired of making excuses for people. I know that the death of a baby is something most people find difficult to talk about, that often people say the wrong thing without meaning to, that perhaps I'm a little over sensitive. I know that most people are well intentioned, and I often give them the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes I just want slap some people very hard.
A while ago when I was still pregnant with Ernest a neighbour and mother of a child in Sid's class at school asked me if I was expecting my third child. (I had Angus and Sid with me at the time) I said simply that no, this was my sixth child. She then went on to make all sorts of exclamations about having six children, and I scurried away without explaining further.
Since then, I have tried to avoid this woman. She seems perfectly nice,very attractive, very confident woman. I just didn't want to have *that* conversation with her.
Today we wound up walking to school together, and making polite conversation.She asked how Ernest was and commented on how I seemed to have been pregnant forever.
Then she asked how old all of my children were, and I thought I may as well get this out of the way,listing my children and their ages,until I came to Florence, and I said she would be 15 months, but she died.
She looked puzzled, glanced at Ernest, processed what I'd just said and asked me,
"So did you actually give birth?"
I'm sorry but WTF???
I just replied, yes, she was six hours old when she died.
That was it then, conversation over.
I'm resisting the urge right now to knock on her front door and show her a photo of my 9lbs 3oz daughter who was born, a real person, my child.There was blood and amniotic fluid and meconium, and a warm wet baby I held in my arms. A baby I held while she took her last breaths, my child who is buried in the ground, and who was real, of course I gave birth!
Maybe I'm being unfair, maybe I am. Really though, would it have hurt her to just say "I'm sorry for your loss" ?
And while we are on the subject, the co worker who told Woody that we needed to get a dog to teach our children about death, needs to think a bit more before opening his mouth.
It's never going to get any easier is it?