Oh my goodness. Seriously.
One of the many things we were told by the grievance counselor was to think about how we answer the basic questions from strangers, like "Is this your first child?" (Yes. Sebastian was the first twin anyway), to "What did you have?" (This is trickier, again depending on who asks, I'll either say I had a boy and a girl or just a boy.) "Did you want a boy?" to even more generally how much we engage and tell strangers about what happened.
Because I want to acknowledge Molly (I feel this is healthier anyway - I need to talk about Molly and what happened), I tend to tell people if they delve into my new motherhood status in conversation.
But mostly, in passing, no one would know the difference. "Yes it's my first. Yes, I always wanted a little boy." And leave it at that.
Ironically, my first outing alone, while getting my hair trimmed, threw me into one of these conversations, and caught me totally off-guard. (I was busy studying the bags under my eyes in the mirror, to be fair.)
It was a new hairdresser - small, young and VERY AMERICAN. Loud, "HELLO HOW ARE YOU SUPER THANKS FOR ASKING!"
Just about tipped me over with her voice - that's how tired I am anyway.
Mid-trim: "So are you enjoying being a Mom?"
Peas: Yes, definitely. Although the sleep deprivation is quite epic.
Hairdresser: Yeah, it must be INSANE. I mean, you know you're totally, like, RIPPED OUT of your normal environment right? RIGHT?
Hairdresser: So what did you have?
[Ugh. I'll just tell her 'boy.' I don't feel like getting into this. Although it hurts to just say 'boy', it's better sometimes to just let it be, Peas.]
Peas: I have a little boy.
Hairdresser: ....Like, imagine having TWINS. OH my GOD, my friend's friend just had twins, I mean how do you even COPE?
[Oh sweet Christ. Really? No. Yes. No. I have to.]
Peas:...actually, I had twins.
I'm almost whispering, and the hairdryer almost drowns me out.
Hairdresser: Oh you DID? Well what is the other one?
Peas: She's a girl, but she sadly died just before birth.
[Awkward. Jesus it's so awkward. I don;t actually like making strangers feel this awkward. In fact, I will go out of my way not to make people feel awkward - I don't do awkward very well at all. And now it's just really really really fucking awkward.]
Peas:...yeah but it's fine...you know, it's all good.
[WHAT? No it's not.]
Hairdresser: Oh right, OK. I mean that's really sad, sorry.
Peas: Yeah...anyway. I guess it is easier to cope with one, huh?
Hairdresser: Yeah, I mean, in some ways it must be a blessing.
In some ways it must be a blessing.
No. I would take a thousand hours of banked sleep deprivation, chrazy chaoticness, intense feeding, everything that twins threw at me if it meant my daughter could still be alive and in my arms. I would take anything if it meant she was alive.
It's not her fault, she has no idea. But it did make me want to stand up, scream, tell her THINK about what she was saying, and leave.
Strangers, I understand, do not know what to say when they hear that one of my babies died.
Friends and family don't know either. I wouldn't know what to say to me if the tables were turned!
Death is a hard thing to talk about, and people are scared of upsetting that person. I totally get that, one thousand percent. I've told everyone I know that too. "It's OK if you don't know what to say, because I wouldn't know either."
But a blessing? That she never came home with us? Don't say that. Just don't say that.