Thursday, October 25, 2012

Emotional Bookends Today

I'm at the end of day two of parent conferences. 16 down, 10 to go. I'm exhausted, but I have to share this.

In the span of one day, I had two experiences that I just can't stop thinking about.

My first conference of the day was for a kid I love. My teaching partner and I sat for a while going through the usual list of topics - social, work habits, math, reading, social know the deal. Near the end of the meeting the mom shared with us that they are going through the adoption process. In that second, every fiber of my infertile being started to explode with emotion. I was so happy to hear that this wonderful family was opening their home (to an older child!), and so warmed by the excitement on their faces when they discussed it. Then, it dawned on me that this might very well be a situation of secondary infertility. I would never ask that directly. Instead, I asked them whether they knew about RESOLVE's adoption seminars and support groups. Just as I said it, the mom and I had a moment of understanding. She said she hadn't heard about that and wrote down the information, but I swear, I realized right then that she very well might be one of us.

Then, during my last conference of the day, I had the polar opposite explosion of emotions. I sat across from a mother, trying to talk about her son's behavior in class, and all I could think about was the fact that she had a full term still birth two years ago. I remember hearing the announcement from my Head of School vividly. I knew her son casually then, and had only met her in passing. Still, the thought of carrying a baby all the way to delivery and then losing it is just too overwhelming. As we carried out the conference, I realized that I wasn't worried about that happening to me. Instead, I was more worried about how difficult it might be to sit across from me during the conference, with my big belly. I wondered if she was okay with it, or if it hurt her to be in my presence. I wondered how she was doing. I wondered if she would ever try to have another baby. Somehow I resisted the urge to ask her all of those questions, hug her, and tell her that I was so sorry for her loss.

What a day.


  1. That is quite a just shows how much IF and loss really affects us...

  2. Moments like these make me wonder how many of them I missed prior to experiencing loss and infertility. It's awesome that you were able to connect with one of those mothers. Even if no words are ever spoken, the understanding bonds us in ways that most can't begin to imagine.

    16 down, 10 to go. Hang in there: conferences are a marathon.

  3. "I wondered if she was okay with it, or if it hurt her to be in my presence."
    I just asked this sort of questions to a friend of mine recently. She has an 8 year old boy, but has since had 2 miscarriages. Now that I finally have a little one, I too wondered if this was hard for her to see me pregnant and now with my guy. she told me she was only happy for me and that it was different, as she had a kid already. Although, I do suspect there is a bit of "happy for her, sad for myself" mixed in there also, even if she didn't say it.

    I think being aware of the situation (or even not) and just being tactful is as much as you can do. And it sounds like you've done it well.

  4. You are so incredibly thoughtful. These moms are lucky to have you around.

  5. Oh yes. I can understand how this would have been an emotional day. Once you go through this stuff, you start seeing people more clearly. You can be more careful and empathetic because you see in them how you had felt or would feel. It would be really hard not to ask all those probing questions simply for the connection it could bring, but I think you were right in mostly staying respectful and quiet.

  6. Hang in there - almost there! I'm feeling the same way with work - like it's a mountain of work to get through in the next 4 weeks before I go on Mat Leave! Just take it 1 day at a time - sending strengthening thoughts your way. x


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