So I’m just about 5 months along in this crazy pregnancy journey and one of the most commonly asked questions I get asked is, “is this your first?” Seems like a harmless question... in fact it’s a question that should be harmless, but for someone who has had a miscarriage (or a few) how are we supposed to answer?
If we say “no” then there’s the explanation that inevitably follows the answer. Some might think we’re just seeking sympathy, and others might feel like we just need to let go and move on. If we say "yes," well that may not sit too well emotionally. I’ll admit, I’ve answered this question with a few different answers, and my most recent answer made me feel a twinge of guilt. Guilt that I have thought about quite a few times since the day it happened.
I was getting my hair trimmed by a new hair dresser and she inquired about the bump, asking how far along I was; if we knew if it was a boy or girl; and dun, dun, dun, if it was my first. I simply answered “yes,” and that was the end of that.
Hair freshly did, I was heading back to work and the twinge settled in. Sure, Shelby technically will be our first *fingers crossed* born, but she is certainly not our first conceived, or loved. I felt like in some way I had betrayed our angel baby simply by not acknowledging his existence when asked if this was our first.
Miscarriage is one of those things that carries a ripple effect. It doesn’t only impact present day, but it continues to reappear for weeks, months, even years into the future. Certain days that held no meaning now take on a completely different significance. Whether it be the day you found out you were pregnant, the day you lost your baby, or the day that could have been their birthday. Miscarriage may only be one small chapter in a woman’s life, but it’s a chapter that sneaks into new chapters throughout the rest of her life...even if it's just a single sentence.
So what's the right answer when someone asks if its your first and you've had a miscarriage(s)? The answer, there is no right answer. It's whatever your comfortable discussing with that person. My hairdresser was a stranger. A professional making small talk because it's part of her job. I'm sure she hears enough whining and complaining from the customers who patron her chair. Besides, this is a happy time in my life and although I will never forget our angel baby, I am trying my damnedest to not bring negative juju into this pregnancy.
Shelby Annmarie has a sibling she'll never meet, and some will never understand, but in my heart I will always be the mother to two amazing kiddos.