I knew it would be a given to be asked this question as soon as we knew we had been blessed with another little miracle. We both braced ourselves and rehearsed to each other and in our heads what we would say to those who asked if this little bump in question was our first baby. It may sound silly to over think how to answer such a simple question but for us there’s so much more at stake than replying with a simple yes or no. Do you answer honestly and risk opening yourself up to your most vulnerable self to what could possibly be a complete stranger or protect your heart to avoid this and deny the existence of your little angel. I guess there is no right or wrong but its a question I have spent many many hours worrying about. I dread being around other pregnant mummy’s or sitting in antenatal / triage waiting rooms for exactly this reason as I don’t want to be the girl that fills the pregnant mummy to be with the fear that yes baby’s can die at any stage and there are no safe zones so I simply sit staring at the wall, out the window or playing about on my phone so as not get any eye contact with the excited family’s all around us incase they want to engage in conversation. Its something I feel really guilty of as when I was pregnant with Francesca I couldn’t wait for people to start chatting to me about my pregnancy, I could have spoke about her to anyone and everyone who would listen and I know this little one deserves the same but this time my heart just cant take it. It feels very lonely sometimes.
Others want to give you advise around how to answer and some have said to me just tell them yes it is and that saves any awkwardness but the truth is its completely up to you how you feel in that moment. As my bump grows I have been asked this question numerous times and sometimes I can handle myself fine and others I feel like just crumbling at the persons feet as the pain of having to say out loud that no he is our second baby and his big sister passed away in February. It makes life all too real for me and hurts beyond belief. But its the truth and our baby girl was here and she did exist and will always be our eldest child and I just could never deny her in that way no matter how awkward it makes the other person feel or how embarrassed I feel by the tears filling my eyes as I recount the worse days of my live to them.
There have been many awkward encounters along the way these last few months by answering this question of “is this your first baby..?”, such as :
: me: no this is our second, his big sister passed away in February – Them: queue awkward silence. . followed by an “oh”..followed by silence and avoiding all eye contact with me over the last few months, wishing they’d never asked. (note: they still avoid me to this day even though their child was also born in Feb)
:me: no, his big sister passed away in February – Them : “oh, um , ok …yea that happened to my friend”…followed by a swift exit…..
Then on the other hand I have some really nice moments such as:
:Me: no, his big sister passed away in February Them : “oh I’m so sorry to hear that, what was her name?…
:me: no, his big sister passed away in February –Them: “aw that’s just awful, I cant imagine how hard this has been for you and I admire you for being able to talk about it..”
(Francesca at her 5 month scan)
Its funny how unpredictable situations can be now in terms of how i’ll react and how the person asking will react so its like an instinctive reaction now where I tense up and wait patiently to see if i’ll come away from that moment with a heavier heart feeling like maybe I shouldn’t have shared my precious angels story with them or a bit of relief that I have and they somehow seemed grateful that I chose to do just that. We recently had our 5 month anomaly scan which was a really draining experience for us both as we had convinced ourselves that something would go wrong and I don’t think we let air into our lungs the entire time waiting on hearing his little heartbeat ..scans are just like that now and seem to be getting harder each time so on hearing he is looking healthy was the best thing ever to us so we decided to treat him to a little outfit to mark this day. Now anyone in our position will know how hard it is to pick up little baby things after a loss but we pushed ourselves and decided to do something that “normal” parents to be do and off we went to a little boutique that we had been admiring for ages. In we went and were greeted by the friendliest staff who wanted to help and asked if we knew what we were having and directed us the baby boy section which is very strange for us as we spent so many months going directly to the baby girl section buying our little princess items. The girl was so lovely and wanted to know all about our little prince but It was then my heart sank as reality hit and I knew the question was coming… and there it was ..”is this your first?”…it had been such an emotional day already and I seen Steven instantly clam up so I explained our story and we waited for the awkward silence….but it never came…instead we were met with such lovely comments and then the girl opened up to us about her own loss of her little baby and how she understood how difficult little things like shopping for items was and instantly we both felt at ease and a little less alone in that moment knowing that others have been through the same struggles we have and survived.
(Her little brother at his 5 month scan)
My emotions have taken a battering this year and sometimes I feel I am coping OK and others I feel like I could break at any moment . I know others out there will be struggling with this question too same as “how many children do you have?” and I just wanted to say that there is no right or wrong, answer how your heart allows you to in the moment and never ever feel guilty for the other persons response to your pain. You are not in the wrong for making others feel uncomfortable simply by answering the question truthfully same way if you chose to simply say “yes it is your first” , that doesn’t mean you love your little angel any less, just that your hearts needs a little protecting too. Just trust your mummy instincts and do what feels right for you at that time.
As always for Francesca Alexis Johnston, born 8/2/18
Forever loved and forever missed XXX