About a year ago, when my daughter was just five months old, I joined a local mom’s group. Every month, 12-16 members of this group get together (without the kiddos!) to play Bunco. If you’ve never played, or never even heard of it, you can read the rules here and I highly recommend giving it a try. For us moms, it’s really just a convenient excuse to get away for the evening and indulge in some laughter and tasty snacks. But you don’t need to know the rules to read my story. Just know it’s a brainless game and easy-peasy!
Except, it wasn’t easy when I played last week. It wasn’t easy at all. One of the problems with being part of a mom’s group is that there is always someone expecting another bundle of joy and there is always a newborn in someone’s arms. And one of the problems with losing a baby is that it hurts (I mean, it really, really HURTS!) to be around them and yet there is no escape. They are everywhere. Guaranteed, if you are trying to conceive or have just lost a baby, you will cross the path of three new babies and five pregnant women just on your trip to the neighborhood convenience store.
But I had prepared myself for this, because I knew one of my fellow Bunco players would be there and she is seven months along. I was prepared to see her big belly and to hear all about the woes of being in her third trimester. (Ugh, gag me — embrace those woes, woman! Embrace them!!) But what I was not prepared for is for another friend, Lady N, to announce she, too, is expecting. Her daughter is two weeks older than mine and she is now 14 weeks into her pregnancy, just three weeks ahead of where I would have been. Should have been.
When she told me the news, my first thought was, “Are you kidding me, God? Are you KIDDING me?!?!” Instead, I smiled and said to her with all the pleasantry I could muster, “Oh, when are you due?”
But what I wanted to say is this: “Congrats. Did you know I was pregnant too but my baby died?”
What I wanted to scream is this: “I had a baby too! I’m just like all the rest of you…I’m a mother of two! But my baby is dead! Dead, dammit!”
I wanted to scream in that minute because I was filled with rage over the unfairness of it all, and because I wanted to shock everyone so they could see how much I was hurting, but mostly because I wanted everyone to know that they are not welcome to tell me about their pregnancies, to show me their ultrasound photos, to complain about backaches and morning sickness. I don’t want to hear it! So please shut up in my presence.
But of course I didn’t say that. I couldn’t. Instead, my tears fell silently and I swore I was fine to those who asked, and I cried the whole way home and I cried myself to sleep that night, and I kept asking God, “Why? Why? Why?” And my only consolation prize was that I paid $10 and brought home $70 that night. But it wasn’t enough. I’d rather have a baby.