April 1st

I have a confession to make.

I did something insensitive.  It was years and years ago, but this day now reminds me of it.  It was at a time when I was young and stupid and didn’t know better- but I feel so horrible about it now.  Though I have renounced any formal religion, the Catholic guilt can still get me, so I’m hoping confession will relieve me a bit.

Some background first.  I remember being on a family trip when I was a kid- a young teenager I think.  One day in the hotel room my siblings and I were just fooling around and we somehow figured out that most of us could push their stomach out in a way that looks pregnant.  My older sister could do it, my 9 and 10 year old younger brother and sister could do it.  It was funny seeing a sight on such a little person.  Oddly, I couldn’t.  Maybe I wasn’t coordinated enough or didn’t have the abs to do it, but I felt a little left out.

Fast forward to many years later.  I was in my early twenties and my sister had showed me a photo of her looking pregnant (with the whole push out your belly trick)- though it seemed hilarious because we knew she most certainly wasn’t.  So I tried it too, and this time I did it!  I was so impressed with myself.  The older me laughs a bit at this- having been asked many many times in my career “are you pregnant?” when I most certainly wasn’t.  Way to make me feel fat.  But in my skinny little 23 year old body, faking it was some sort of accomplishment.

I took a photo.  And posted it.  It wasn’t April fools (thankfully) but it was still a joke in my mind- seeing if anyone would comment.  I don’t think I got many responses.  I wondered about that- perhaps because it didn’t look as real as I thought, perhaps because I had no back story or perhaps because people were just being polite.

I am horrified that my younger self did this.  I was soooo far from the world of wanting to be pregnant, it seemed harmless.  My friends on social media were right there with me- I didn’t know anyone my age who pregnant, let alone trying or experiencing loss.  That, I am grateful for.  Though there could have been.  We all know that the loss and infertility world is often a silent one- we don’t always know who is grieving.

Today, April 1st, can be a significant one in the babyloss community.  Apparently it can be “a thing” to do an april fools pregnancy announcement on social media.  I am fortunate in that so far, I have not seen any… yet.  I hope that you all are in the same boat.  This day could be hard- or if there are no insensitive jokes, it could be a day like any other for most of us.

But today I also think of a friend, who will undoubtedly will be having a hard day.  She lost her son a year ago today- the cruelest of all jokes.  Thinking of her and Anders today and apologizing to the world for my young, insensitive self.

First comes love, then comes marriage…

When I found out I was pregnant, I planned to announce it on facebook after the first trimester and six months later announce the birth.  When I was trying to get pregnant, hearing all the details of others’ pregnancies on facebook made me a little sad and jealous. And I didn’t even have to try that long!  I could only imagine how some others felt who were trying longer.  So I vowed to myself to limit how much I posted.  When the baby was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, I held to that vow.  I didn’t want any pity regarding the diagnosis because, though it was an adjustment, I was still happy ifnot a little worried to be pregnant.  So we announced just the pregnancy at about 15 weeks- on our 1 year wedding anniversary- with a wedding photo/birth announcement I had planned ahead.  I’m a planner. I didn’t know when I’d be pregnant but I thought a cute wedding photo pregnancy announcement could be handy.

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Outside of facebook, I told many people about the Down Syndrome: anyone who I’m close to or if it came up, I was very open.  I wasn’t hiding anything,  I have a large extended network on facebook and they would find out soon enough.

 

I had a plan- I was going to announce the birth of our child who just happened to have Down Syndrome on facebook in a special way.  I would play with the announcement in my head and knew eventually I would work on something concrete as we got closer.  It made me happy to think about.  It would go something like this [I chose “he” as the pronoun just because- not because I know anything]:

 

Today [insert name] joined us in the world.  He is perfect in every way.  Six months ago we learned that he would have Down Syndrome and welcomed him and all he would be.  He has [Insert health issues], so keep him in your thoughts and join us in celebrating his long awaited birth!

 

It was such a nice idea.  So simple.  Back when things were uncomplicated.  When I was diagnosed with oligohydramnios and the prognosis became poor, my plan didn’t change right away.  But soon there was a lot of updating to do.  Every ultrasound, every meeting with experts, I was reviewing with family and friends over the phone.  I didn’t mind talking about it at all (it became my reality) but it was just so time consuming.  So I decided to make my blog public- it was terrifying and a relief at the same time.  I have never been a writer and felt very self-conscious about my writing.  And I worried that people might find it dark or me too negative.  But I have been so pleasantly surprised by the support and love I’ve felt going public.

 

I wonder now what and how I will announce things on social media.  I will celebrate my baby’s birth in some way on facebook just like I would have before all the complications.  My baby deserves that.  I just wonder what I’ll be announcing.  So much uncertainty. So much unknown.