Hello…?

Hello blogworld, it’s me, Meghan.

Oh how I’ve missed you.

I have many reasons for my quietude. At first fatigue and an actual real live take home baby kept me from writing. Just as I was settling into the rhythm of motherhood (to a living child), I returned to work at my non profit job- Hope After Loss. I had started the job in April, learning the ropes of the position- coordinating pregnancy and infant loss peer support groups, facilitating burial/cremation financial assistance to those who cannot afford to lay their baby to rest and outreach and education initiatives. By May, we began planning for our annual walk that happens in October. It is our biggest fundraiser, as well as a chance for the community to come together to remember our babies during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. In June I went out on maternity leave (earlier than expected) and come August I hit the ground running, doing my regular duties as well as planning this walk. Soon it was all encompassing. I was trying to do in five months (minus six weeks), what the organization usually takes a year to do. Plus I was doing it for the first time on very little budget. I’m only hired for 10-20 hours per week, but ended up putting in 40 hours some weeks (in addition to my 20 hours or so a week as a midwife). I shed tears over the walk, worrying that it wouldn’t be a success- that I would fail in putting on an event that my baby loss community cares so very much about, that I would fail in raising the money the Hope After Loss needs to continue to do it’s work.

And last weekend, on a beautifully crisp Sunday afternoon, hundreds of people from across the state gathered as we put on our Footprints on Our Hearts walk, complete with activities beforehand (such as music, a kids art project and a remembrance table) and gathering for bubbles and food afterwards.

The totals aren’t in yet, but we raised a respectable amount of money and the day seemed to go smoothly, with well-received speakers and a remembrance program to boot. I have plenty of self-criticisms and ideas for improvement next year, but overall I think the walk was a success!

So the walk has kept me from you. I didn’t even have the time or energy to tell you about it beforehand. But now that it is done, I can catch my breath and return to blogging a bit. It may be sporadic, because there is still just so much to do, but I plan to give myself the time.

Hi there. It’s good to be back.

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A white lie

I lied….sort of.

Chris did the Best Buddies ride up in Cape Cod- a 100 mile bike ride to fundraise for the organization that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities- people like Mabel or who Mabel would have been. And so Chris rode in memory of Mabel. Turns out it’s good training for him, as he’s doing a half iron man next weekend (who is this guy??).

Our plans were a bit interrupted. We originally planned to spend the night before at my parents house, which is 20 minutes from the race start, but Muppet decided to eat one of Chris’s inhalers the day before and had to spend a night at the vet for monitoring. So Chris got up at the crack of dawn (before dawn actually- at 330am) to make it up to Boston to check in and ride at 7am. I stayed behind to retrieve the silly, but stable puppy and drove to meet him at the finish line on Cape Cod. We spent that night at my parents’ house instead of the one before. As we walked the puppy outside that evening, we ran into a neighborhood couple. My parents live in a community of town houses along the water, with a nice walking path right outside their doorstep. Neighborhood people often walk along there and this couple was very friendly. The man introduced himself and was quite chatty, in a way that made me wish my dad was with us because I’m sure they would have gotten along quite well (my parents were in Florida at a family funeral- one I would have attended had I not been grounded by my midwives due to my late gestation and history of preterm birth).

After the appropriate petting and cooing at the puppy, he amiably commented on my protruding belly. “Congratulations, I see!”

“Thank you,” I smiled softly (can one smile softly? I think so). I’m still working on accepting congratulations gracefully.

“Is it your first?”

“No, my second.”

“Oh boy, you’ll have some sibling rivalry, then, huh?”

“Mmm hmm.” I lied.

“We have two daughters five years apart. They warned us the older one might regress. I thought, no way- not at five. But they were right!”

I smiled politely at his story trying not to betray my reeling mind and pounding heart. I was still thinking about the subtle accession I had made with my simple “Mmm hmm.” He thought my first child was alive and I didn’t correct him. It wasn’t an outright lie- but it felt like one. I couldn’t do it though, not with this man, who I would likely never see again. I don’t think I’ll ever deny Mabel’s existence, but for the first time I denied her death. This protruding belly is an announcement to the world, something that people happily comment freely on, a public billboard inviting strangers to ask usually harmless, friendly questions.

I know this is a common conundrum among us. I’ve read so many of your posts in how you respond and yet I’m still caught off guard at my own response this time.

So tell me again, how do you respond to strangers?