She sat across from me in my office. Clearly excited about another pregnancy, but also distracted by her one year old. She used that baby voice- the kind that is singsong, the rises and falls of her tone easily grabbing the attention of her toddler. My questions interrupted her playful talk.
“Any family history of thalassemia? sickle cell? congenital heart defects? Down Syndrome?”
She answered easily without taking her eyes of her son who was exploring the bookshelf, then the chair, then the picture frame. I was very attentive to their interactions, ones that would solicit coos and oohs from most people, but from her perspective I likely seemed immune.
All I could think was- my baby died. I will never develop that singsong voice with my baby. She’ll never explore a doctors office like he was. This child was three months older than what Mabel would have been and he was developmentally age appropriate. He did not wear leg braces to correct clubbed feet or have any marks from heart surgery or kidney dialysis. I realize that the pairing of this mother and her healthy child would never have been like that of me and my sick one, had she lived. I grieve not only the child she would have been, but also the child I know she wouldn’t have been. I was jealous of this mother and her seemingly easy parenting. It was hard not to think it was being flaunted in my face, though I do recognize she had no idea the pain it was causing me- and I didn’t expect her to. She was just doing what she should be doing, mothering.
Where have you seen pain in day to day interactions?