Friday, September 10, 2010

Coming out

I told a new friend about me and DH's loss last night.  She was of course amazingly sympathetic and supportive, but I still felt a little weird telling her.

I don't know why, but I am always hesitant to mention Baby M to new people.  DH and I had only told two people -- friends of ours who are married to each other -- that we were even pregnant.  We hadn't even told our parents yet by the time we lost Baby M.  We struggled for a week or two, debating whether we should even tell our families.  They didn't even know we were trying for a baby (although I later found out my step-mother suspected I was pregnant all along... how she knows these things is beyond me!).  I knew that my parents, at least, would be thrilled to know they were about to become grandparents.  We weren't sure how DH's parents would react, and frankly, I was afraid of getting a less-than-supportive reaction in my already fragile mental state.  We did ultimately decide to tell them, and I am so glad we did.  Its like we were finally coming out with our terrible secret.  It was a relief for me to know that other people, people who would love Baby M as much as us, now knew about our baby and what we were going through.  In a weird way, it was also comforting to experience their sadness;  it was nice to know that DH and I are not the only ones mourning the loss of what would have been.

Since "coming out" to our parents, we have also told several other friends about Baby M.  Thankfully, everyone we have told has been supportive, and most have been amazingly compassionate and sincerely interested in hearing about Baby M and our experience.  For that, I am so, so thankful.  It has been so therapeutic for me to be able to discuss what happened.

But still, I never know how much I should tell people.  I know dead babies can be an uncomfortable topic for anyone, perhaps even more so for people who haven't experienced a loss.  Plus, I have spent countless hours reading, researching, and discussing what happened to us.  I am intimately familiar with the physical and psychological process of losing a pregnancy, and I am comfortable discussing our experience in graphic detail.   But I'm never sure how much of this information "other people" (i.e. people who have not experienced a loss) want to really hear about our experience.  I usually just say that I was pregnant, but we lost the baby, and then wait for the other person to ask questions before volunteering any other information.

So far, this approach seems to be working.  However, I find myself struggling with wanting to share every detail but also trying to hold back, for fear of saying too much and scaring the other person away.  I hope that eventually I will be able to find a good balance.

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