At a loss (for words)
The other day I found myself in the most awkward of conversations. I was speaking with a woman who I'd only met one other time. She'd asked me about my son the time before and we were discussing him again on this most recent occasion.
At one point the conversation veered from the norm: do you have children, what age(s), names, etc. She looked at me and asked me if I was happy. It's a really, really good question--possibly the best question--but not one casual acquaintances generally ask one another.
Although it seemed odd for her to have asked, I replied with the truth: I was ecstatic, I couldn't be happier. I love being a mother and having a family more than anything in the world.
She'd asked me so much about me, so it was mu turn, I felt, to ask about her. I asked if she had any children. She hesitated. She said yes, and then she said no. It was, for a moment, so quiet that I could hear God sighing.
It turns out that two years ago she'd been pregnant, and had born a stillborn child. I was devastated to hear this news. It was one of my biggest fears when I was pregnant. These things do happen, yes, they do--and to the best of people. Sadness is an equal opportunity employer.
I felt so badly for her but all I could muster was how sorry I was. Then, thinking this was not enough, I immediately blurted out that I'd had a miscarriage--as if somehow, I could possibly feel what she must have gone through. I'd said it because I wanted to show her that bad things happen, but then, as with having my beautiful, healthy son, that good things can happen too.
She didn't seem convinced, although now that several years had passed she said she might try again. It was obvious that she was so, so afraid. I can completely understand that. There was a point at which I thought I might not be able to have a child.
None of this mattered, though, because when she asked how far along I'd been and I responded that it was two months those two months seemed like nothing. Which is not true. I'm never fully going to get over that loss--I don't know that anyone does, regardless of when she loses her baby.
I felt worse and worse about the entire conversation, and then it was over, like nothing had happened. What can one say in a conversation like this one? Is there anything? I don't know that anything I could've said would have made it better, made her feel better.
Have you ever been in a situation like this one? What did you do? I'm sure many of you have more grace than I did.
Picture of profound sadness by e3000.