Going Public

21 weeks + 6 days pregnant

When we first lost Nieve I wanted to shut myself away from the whole world. I was so afraid of bumping into people I knew, of having to answer questions, of being the subject of people’s whispers. I wanted the Earth to stop spinning so that I didn’t have to keep moving with it. 

For the first six months after we lost Nieve I surrounded myself only with close friends and family. I wanted to exist only alongside those who I could trust completely with my heart. They provided a space where I could be raw and real, without apology. There remained, therefore, people who I hadn’t seen for quite some time. 

This weekend I attended a social event where I met up with people I hadn’t seen since before the loss. It was one of the first social outings I’d had in my post-Nieve life and even though I was surrounded by familiar faces, I felt lonely somehow and the communications felt superficial. 

Not one person mentioned my bereavement. Not one. It’s the biggest thing that’s ever happened to me and yet the topic was totally avoided by every person I bumped into. One ‘friend’ also appeared to ignore me the whole evening, perhaps afraid of saying ‘the wrong thing’ or of having to witness an ‘uncomfortable’ display of emotion. 

I found that people were quick to grasp at the joy associated with the idea of my new pregnancy, whilst totally avoiding the tradgedy that has shaped my whole world. The conversations were light and felt purposely avoidant of the tradgedy that had struck my life just months ago. I resented it. I resented feeling like I was trapped in a space where my pain was unwanted. Forced to be artificially upbeat in order to ‘be good company’. I felt like I didn’t belong among these people. 

Maybe I’ve changed. Maybe I used to be someone who could chat lightheartedly about shallow topics. Maybe once I was better at doing ‘carefree small talk’, but now it somehow feels ‘fake’ and ‘hollow’.Maybe now I just put more value on real connections with people. On being real, regardless of what that looks like. 

I’m very lucky that I have a group of really close, amazing friends who I can be real with. Friends who I can have fun with but who’ve also held my hand through my darkest hours. It’s in these relationships where my energy is better spent. 

These encounters over the weekend made me realise how lucky I am and made me realise what I value the most. I’m so thankful for the amazing friends who bless my life. I may have endured devastating heartbreak this past year, but in love I am rich. 

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2 thoughts on “Going Public

  1. When Nadia died, I made it a goal to not break connections. I assumed people would react like this, that the taboo around baby loss makes it normal and expected, and I decided to keep this in mind and not judge. I thought we could just pick up where we left off, once I’m through the worst of the grief.

    How naive I was. Nowadays, my friendships have shifted according to whether people bring Nadia up on conversation or not. The combined birth and death of my child is the single most important event I will probably ever go through, and to go on happily ignoring that is not something I’m willing to put up with anymore. Not that I’ve erased anyone (well, maybe one or two who just completely disappeared when it happened), but I gravitate to those with whom I feel I can be myself.

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    1. Yes, it’s strange how it changes you. I put most value on the relationships where I can be real. If that ended up leaving me with only one friend in the world then so be it. X

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