People have inquisitive minds. They see a bump or a baby and pressume that you are a glowing parent. That you are excited. That you are not grieving.
“Is this your first?”
This question used to bother me during pregnancy after loss. “Is this your first?” used to scare me. Because I refused to answer with a ‘no’. Answering with a ‘no’ would mean not acknowledging my beautiful daughter, Evalyn. But in doing so, I would be drawn into conversations with strangers where I would find myself listing words that, quite frankly, pertrified me during pregnancy after loss. . . . . . “stillborn” . . “38 weeks” . . . “lost baby” . . .
These conversations brought out so much fear in me that, during the last couple of months of my pregnancy, I refused to leave the house for too long at a time in case someone’s eye caught mine and they weren’t able to resist asking me about my pregnancy. I couldn’t conform to the ‘blissful pregnant woman’ society expected of me and I wasn’t prepared for another breakdown in a supermarket queue.
“Is she your first?”
This is a question I also get asked often on the side of pregnancy after loss. People see me with my little girl and pressume that there is no sadness behind my smile. But now? Now I don’t hide away. Now I face the question head on. Now, I answer differently not only for myself and Evalyn, but for Iola. Because one day when she is older, she will understand my words and I need her to know that I am as proud of Evalyn as I am of her and her brother.
“I actually have three children,” I tell people. “But my middle child is no longer with us. And she was beautiful and she always will be a massive part of our family. Her name? . . . Her name is Evalyn.”