“And you! I heard you had a baby!” she said to me as I paused to look something up in her chart. I had already given her the half-hearted congratulations that I use to begin each of the New OB visits.
“Thank you,” I said, softly, giving a small smile. I waited for the follow up question… Something to trigger me to say the words, “my baby died.”
But nothing followed.
I was left with so much unsaid in my head. I finished the visit somewhat distracted, waiting for some sort of question that would spill my secret, but one never surfaced. She left that visit thinking we shared something in common- a baby at home- but I must be shy or private and so didn’t welcome questions about her.
This interaction stuck in my ribs all day long, into the next even.
I should have told her.
She wasn’t a stranger- I had delivered her first baby and I would likely see her again in pregnancy. But she wasn’t close enough to know the real story. She’ll probably find out and then maybe she’ll feel bad that she said something (she shouldn’t) or think I don’t want to talk about my daughter (I do). I have so far always answered questions truthfully when asked, even when it’s awkward. But I don’t volunteer the info. It feels attention grabby or pity pulling. Especially with patients, it disrupts the visit.
What do you do? Do you ever volunteer the info? How does it go?