Empty Arms Bereavement

Navigating the Everyday

By Lindsey Rothschild

Going in for a coffee at a local cafe, I was relieved to see that the counter person was a stranger. Then the woman entered who had served me breakfast on a different day, a day when I was pregnant, ravenous and picky about food. I had ordered a huge breakfast and talked to her about being pregnant. Today, I saw her and sunk down in a high-backed armchair. Would she ask how the pregnancy is going? Would she look at me perplexed and ask me, “weren’t you pregnant?” or would she figure she didn’t remember the timing quite right and ask me “what did you have?” I couldn’t bear any of that. Then I went to our CSA to pickup our farm share. I hid my body from the owner of the farm who always has her baby slung to her hip. Wouldn’t she wonder where my belly went? Then I dodged all the mom’s w/ babes picking up their shares. They used to make me happy. “Soon, I’ll be like them,” I used to think. Then I thought I recognized a man from the Support Group, so I smiled and said, hi. I’m not really sure if it was him or not. I need to get my haircut but can’t face my hairdresser… guess I’ll find a new one.

My neighbor across the street from my new home came over to introduce herself. She was friendly, beautiful and pregnant. I was panicky and cagey. Had another neighbor told her about our loss? Would she acknowledge it? She didn’t. How do I not acknowledge it? When meeting someone new, it seems like a critical piece of information as to who I am… why I’m sad and distant and have a tendency to stare off into space. But, she’s pregnant with rosy cheeks and optimism; it seemed too cruel to stand in front of her as living proof that pregnancies don’t always end with a a baby. So, I smiled, a close-mouthed, polite smile and said it was nice to meet her. That’s all.

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