I was walking through the school today, headed to turn in some forms, when I ran into one of my professors from last semester. She was the first professor to know I was pregnant, who took the time to ask me how I was feeling, how baby was growing, and what she could do to help just about every time we had class. Her face lit up as she asked me whether I could feel baby kicking yet. My face must’ve clearly expressed my grief because she hugged me and apologized for asking. I really appreciate that she apologized because it opened up the door for me to share Omie’s story and to make clear that I never, ever want anybody to apologize for asking about him. Please, please, ask me about Omie. Ask me his name, ask me about his birth, his passing, how much he weighed and what he looked like. Even if I can only share his story through tears right now, I want him to be acknowledged. My son was not just a pregnancy loss – he was my firstborn child, even though he was only with us for a matter of hours. I will not let him be forgotten or swept under the rug like some inconvenient secret that nobody wants to bring up.
More often than not people just quickly change the subject to something like the weather. But nothing is worse than that silence. When I tell someone I have a son but he didn’t get to come home it makes such an enormous difference to my day if the person says, “I’m so sorry, what was his name?” It makes me feel like my narrative of parenthood is valid and that Teddy was a person, who mattered then and still matters now.– Elle Wright, in a BBC article about life after the loss of her son Teddy
My professor responded in perhaps the best way I could imagine, after I told her not to apologize – she asked me his name. She listened patiently as I told her Omie’s story, she shared my joy when I talked about how amazing it was to give birth, she shared my hope as I explained the TAC procedure and our plans for the future, and she shared her own vulnerability as she told me about her current IVF journey and her own issues becoming a mom. Those moments spent talking to her about my greatest joy and my greatest loss, in the middle of the law school hallway, brought me more peace and healing than anything else has in these past 12 days.
This isn’t to say that I only want to talk about Omie, or that you need to ask me about my sons or about my grief at every interaction. I am still me, I still do things other than blog and grieve, and I enjoy talking about graduation and wedding plans and my new career. But please, never ever be afraid to ask about my kids. And when you do, regardless of whether I cry or smile, know that you have done me the greatest kindness by acknowledging and remembering my Omie and my Nugget.