I recently ran into an acquaintance of ours at the grocery store. She warily eyed my mid-section and asked what was new with us. (Everyone checks out the belly first...9 pregnancies in 15 years...) I confirmed her suspicion when I said, "#7 will arrive in December."
She swallowed in a way that told me my news was painful for her to hear. "So that makes you....6 weeks? Isn't that kind of early to tell people?"
I understand what she's saying. She lives in a world where a positive test doesn't necessarily mean a live baby. I didn't know how to tell her that I live in that same world. My sweet husband and I have stared in stunned disbelief at ultrasound images of dead babies. We've held our sweet girl in our hands and then buried her. We live the entire pregnancy in a fear of what-ifs. We tell anyway.
A few years ago, after losing a baby, we went to a family event where it became very obvious very quickly that no one knew I had been pregnant or that I no longer was. The entire roomful of people was oblivious to our pain. The Computer Guy's cousin plopped her perfect newborn daughter in my lap because she just knew how much I love babies. I do. I wanted to run as far from that baby as was humanly possible. I couldn't. How could I interrupt the celebration of that perfect child by saying "No, I don't want to hold her. You see, my baby is dead and it took every ounce of strength for me to get in the car today to come here"? You can't say those things, you simply smile and coo and fight the tears. If they had known, the situation would never have happened. So, we tell because it saves us pain in the event of things going horribly wrong.
We tell because it is obvious to anyone with eyes that my middle is expanding, because I struggle with horrible morning sickness and fatigue and I don't want people to be offended if I run from the dinner table, because my children know and have big mouths, and because people get offended if we don't tell them ourselves.
We tell because life and death are a part of living, and we are people who deal in reality. The baby is here today. It is alive today. We are joyful today. We are so very aware that things could change tomorrow and so with our children we have made the decision to live for today and not allow the what-ifs to steal our happiness.
We made up our minds long ago that our children were meant to be joy from the very first moment we knew of them. We can choose to live in secret fear or we can rejoice in their lives. We've chosen to rejoice.