I'm a teacher who works an alternative school where I have the honor of teaching horny teens about sex - how to not have sex and how to have safe sex if you're going to have it. A new child - one who had gone to school where my husband teaches - entered our program.
This boy asked me, "So, you have a baby in your belly."
"Yes, I do," I replied, currently pregnant with our fourth child.
This child is thirteen and has only been in the country for two years. I didn't see where the conversation was going until it went there.
And I felt like I smashed my face into a brick wall.
Thankfully, I'm open to talking about baby loss, so I was able to handle this conversation. I felt my co-worker behind me, holding her breath, not knowing for sure if I could handle talking about losing our son.
"Yes," I replied. "We had a baby die."
With those words, the room became quiet.
"Our baby was sick and we didn't know it; no one knew it. And he didn't make it."
A discussion broke out.
Out of the nine kids in the room, three spoke about knowing someone whose baby died.
"My mom had a baby die in her tummy before me."
"My sister had a baby die in her tummy, too, but I was too little to remember."
I gave the kids my quick-run down about how this happens sometimes; that it's sad; how it always hurts - about as in-depth as it could be with that group of children. Honestly, I was happy how it went.
But it had nothing to do with the kids I teach; it was my kids I began thinking about.
I've always known that our baby wasn't "real" in the eyes of some. To many, he's never mentioned. To others, he doesn't count as a child; people discuss the number kids I have without adding him to the count.
It feels like slowly ripping off a Band-Aid... it hurts and keeps hurting - a slow hurt that never feels any better. Of course, a Band-Aid comes off eventually. The dead baby Band-Aid is more like duct tape covering your entire body with millions of layers.
It never ends.
But in all of my thoughts of who knows of his existence and who doesn't, I felt good knowing that our little family bubble knew he existed. But I was suddenly hit with a view of the future. When I talk, I say Joel died. When my living kids grow up, it won't be "my brother, Joel, died." It'll be another kid who says "my mom had a baby die in her belly." No matter what I do or say, my kids will never know Joel.
Hell, I didn't KNOW him but I knew of him what I could.
My eldest son, who was only 18 months at the time, has no memory of Mommy being pregnant. My not-even 2 year old, who was born after Joel, obviously has no idea. This baby in my belly now will be the same. They won't know Joel. They won't have a connection. They will simply know it's something that hurts us.
I'm not sure why this bothers me.
It's unfair to expect my other kids to have some bond with a child that only my husband and I truly have a bond to. I know this and I'm not angry; I don't fault my kids. But it's just another reminder that my son, my Joel, is nothing more than a passing story in the eyes of most. A story of sad awkwardness to be passed up in discussion as quickly as possible.
My baby died in my belly.
And on that day, so did a part of me.7 Comments