Today Mabel is two months old and I am surrounded by reminders of her.
On Friday Night Lights- the character, Landry, was lamenting about a girl while in the high school band room, saying to a friend he was sitting there trying not to think about the girl. Then that very girl came on the loudspeaker making an announcement. He said sadly, “she’s everywhere.”
Welcome to my world, Landry.
This is like the worst breakup ever- reminders everywhere.
I was at the chiropractor and sat in the waiting room listening to the secretary talk to a patient about each other’s kids, who were on school break. They joked about how hard it is to have them at home. I am getting used to this- I sat quietly thinking how I’d like to be able to joke like that. But then after the patient left, the secretary asked if I had a boy or a girl (she had seen me when I was pregnant). My chiropractor knows very well what had happened and I assumed she had told her staff. So when the secretary asked, I had her repeat her question- not because I didn’t hear right, but because I was unsure what she was really asking. I wanted to answer the question truthfully. She asked again if I had had a boy or a girl. I answered a girl. My heart thumped, my chest got tight and my face flushed as I waited for more questions. She asked what I named her and I said Mabel. She smiled sincerely, saying Mabel was her grandmother’s name. That was all. No follow up questions after that. I had such a physical reaction to the mention that I had a baby. I kind of wanted the chance to say that she died. There was so much build up as I waited for the question and so speaking of her death would have been a release. There is a part of me that also enjoyed the interaction- the normalcy of it. I wanted her to ask what color my baby’s hair was or how much she weighed. Things that other moms get. Once I say that my baby died, the questions go away.
This secretary was so nice and friendly, had my baby lived I would have gladly talked more to her. But these days when interacting with acquaintances, I keep my answers short. I wish I could just have a sign that said “My baby died. I’m not unfriendly, I’m just grieving. Please forgive me and be kind to me.”
The reminders continued. At boot camp there were so many more pregnant women than usual. On the car radio I listened to a man talking about his experience at the Boston Marathon bombing last year- a subject I thought was safe. But then he mentions his wife who was 7 months pregnant at the time. I ate lunch at a restaurant with a friend. The place was relatively empty when I came in, so I could choose my own table. I purposely picked one off to the side and sat in the chair with my back to the rest of the restaurant. The restaurant gets busy at lunch and I didn’t know who would walk through the door. On the way out I noticed that a mother with young kids, including an infant, had sat right behind us. I luckily didn’t have to stare at her all through lunch (or even know she was there), but seeing her as I walked out was again a reminder of my new life without Mabel. A life where I have to carefully choose my seat in a restaurant just in case a pregnant woman or a baby comes in.
Last night I was eating out with a friend. After 10 minutes of sitting, I asked if we could swap seats. We did and when she sat down she could see that I had been sitting, facing a pregnant woman. The woman didn’t make me tearful or anything, I just didn’t want to watch. Once I saw her, I couldn’t not look at her. When my friend realized what I had been staring out, she said “Wow! You really can’t escape it.” So true. I really can’t escape it. She’s everywhere.