“’Will this be your first baby?’ the cashier asks me and smiles. I pause. I’ve been asked this question a lot recently as my 8-months-pregnant belly takes center stage.
I’m unsure how to respond. Taking a moment, I flash a quick smile and nod my head yes as I gather my bags and turn to leave. Like the other times, sadness mixes with guilt as I struggle with choosing easy vs truth.
Truth can be hard and messy, and I’m a pretty private person. I don’t open up easily, and I definitely don’t spill my guts to a stranger in the Macy’s checkout. And I think that’s OK. In a day and age when oversharing is the norm — we share pics of our food for goodness sake (and yes, I have totally done it) — finding a healthy balance between sharing and not sharing can be hard.
The truth is, this is not our first baby. Our first baby went to heaven last June at 7 weeks pregnant after a year of infertility.
The truth is, this is not our second baby either. The two-year-old little boy who came to us through foster care last January and called us daddy and mommy for weeks — that little boy had our hearts as if he were our own.
This will be our third baby, but the only baby on earth who shares our last name. She is so loved and precious and wanted. Our hearts are overflowing as we anxiously await her arrival.
When asked, I rarely share any of this though, and I think that’s perfectly OK. I think it’s OK to rejoice and celebrate our little girl and not feel guilty for keeping our miscarriage to myself. Not because that baby doesn’t count, or isn’t just as important, but because we know in our hearts how loved that baby is and rest in the confident assurance of being reunited with him or her in Heaven one day. I still struggle with finding the right words in those moments, but I think that’s part of being human.
Sometimes I’ll feel a nudge on my heart and respond along the lines of, ‘This is our first baby on earth. Our first baby is in Heaven.’ And I think that’s fine too. I don’t believe there’s a one-size-fits-all ‘right’ answer when it comes to sharing your story. It’s in the times I feel the nudge and do share that I often learn part of the other person’s story and find out it’s not so different than mine.
Everyone has a past and a story. As my momma told me growing up, ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover,’ and at 27, those words ring truer than ever. Its so easy for me to get caught up in my own story. I forget all too often that everyone else has a story as well with so much more to them than meets the eye. So, let’s extend more grace, give more love, make eye contact, and share real genuine smiles to those around us, because you never know the answer that lies behind a question as innocent as ‘Is this your first baby?’ You never know when your kind word or simple smile could be just what someone needed in that moment.”
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