I was out for a run with Muppet and came across a lemonade stand- some neighborhood kids raising money for cancer. I was running by at just the right time, with several families approaching the stand. When the kids asked if I wanted lemonade, I regretfully said I didn’t have any money, but I’ll try to come back when I was done with my run. Just as I was about to take off, I saw you there. My smile brightened with recognition- a fellow professional in my field and a someone who chose my practice for care. You have a son a few years older than Felix and I was reminded seeing you there that you live in my town! Since I”m not attending births and you work in a different practice, I haven’t seen you in a while- in the past I crossed paths with other OB professionals on the labor floor, a place I don’t often visit these days. Seeing you with your son, gave me pause. We should be friends, I thought.
I stopped and chatted with you, saying hi to your husband and letting your son pet Muppet. I learned your son had some developmental delays, something I hadn’t known before. I straight up blurted out- “I need local mommy friends,” a truth so prevalent lately. I find it a little hard to make mommy friends easily… something I’ll elaborate in another post…but since you’re in my professional community, I’m pretty sure you know my story. You know I’ve lost a baby.
You given me your number and tell me how you have a good group of local moms who get together every now and then. You warn me that the moment you say you’re in the OB field, everyone likes to tell you their birth story. I laugh in total understanding. You roll your eyes and we talk briefly about yours- how you tried so very very hard for a vaginal birth but it just wasn’t in the cards despite everyone’s best efforts. I could see how frustrated you could get hearing other’s stories especially when you felt frustrated with your own. It’s like hearing how someone has a beautiful birth when yours was traumatic. It hurts a little.
And then I blurted out something I wish I hadn’t. “Well did you hear about Felix’s birth story? How I didn’t make it to the hospital?” You smiled and laughed a little, telling me how you read it in the paper.
I realized shortly after I said it, that I did exactly what you had just said was hard. I told you my birth story. I’m sorry.
I wanted to tell you, that I often blurt out Felix’s story because I can’t so very easily with Mabel’s because no one likes a story that ends with a baby dying. Blurting out his story makes me feel a bit like a normal person. I wanted to tell you that Felix’s birth story is a tribute to Mabel, because there is no way he would have come so fast had he not been my second child. I wanted to tell you that when I learned your son had some delays, I felt a small kinship with you because Mabel would have had delays too and I imagine parenting a child with special needs is especially hard, but it’s just what you do, isn’t it? I wanted to tell you I shared Felix’s story with you because I assumed you knew about Mabel.
In that brief exchange we had, I am reminded that I am not perfect and sometimes says things I wish I hadn’t. It was a good reminder that others do the same and to give them a little leeway.
Have you ever said something you regretted? Do you hold yourself to a high standard of always saying the right thing?