Dear Pregnant Mother,
This letter is awkward. Let’s acknowledge that, because I can promise you, the awkwardness never really goes away.
We may be friends; we may be acquaintances. I may have just run into you in the grocery store, and somehow we started talking. You may have seen my tattoo or my necklace. You may have met my daughter, and asked me if she was my first. However it happened, now you know. You know that my first child died at the end of my term pregnancy, and now you are afraid.
You are afraid you don’t know what to say to me. You maybe haven’t dealt with death before. You are afraid of offending me, by saying the wrong words, or by having a pregnant body.
Dear heart, please know that it’s okay. Sometimes life is messy, but don’t ever feel ashamed. Your body is beautiful. You carry the gift of new life.
The shock wears off, and we keep talking. You ask for details, or maybe you don’t. You start thinking. And now you are afraid for your child. Nobody ever told you stillbirth was a possibility. You both want and don’t want to ask me questions. You’re afraid of what I’ll say. And more than anything, you wonder, embarrassed, if stillbirth is contagious.
I promise you, it’s all normal. I think I would have felt the same, in your place. I promise you, even if it hurts, I understand. Pregnancy is already so scary. Take care of yourself.
Dear mother, life is complicated, and often messy. Sometimes there is pain we can’t avoid. Please know I understand you mean well, even when you’re awkward. Please know I’m not offended when you change the subject, or even when you avoid me. I may be hurt, but I promise I won’t tell you. Because more than anything, I want you and your child to be all right.
Dear mother who is pregnant for perhaps the first time: please know that I worry about you. Whether we are friends or acquaintances or just a moment in time, I may ask you questions. It may seem strange. You may resent me talking about the importance of kick counts or the dangers of relying on home dopplers.
Please know I’m constantly fighting a battle between how much is important to tell you without also leaving you terrified. Please know I do these things because I care about you; because they are things I will always wish someone had done for me. These things would have saved my son’s life.
And above all, I want nothing more than for you to come home, healthy, with a living child.
Resources Blog: Best Practices for Safest Pregnancy
Miranda’s Blog: Why I Track Fetal Movement Religiously with my Second Pregnancy
Miranda’s Blog: Dear Pregnant Woman in My Office
Miranda’s Blog: Waiting Rooms