Paying Attention

As I was leaving preschool this morning from dropping the boys off, a woman stopped me and asked, “How’s that baby of yours doing?” Her question about knocked the wind out of me. I did not recognize her and assumed that she was a mom to a preschooler. It took me a few seconds to formulate an answer, but responded by telling her that my baby had passed away during childbirth. I have come to really dislike the word ‘stillborn’ and feel that saying ‘passed away during childbirth’ provides a clearer picture of what really happened, because that really is what happened.

Anyway, instead of turning the other way and running as fast as she could, this woman stood there and took the time to talk to me. She told me she was sorry for what had happened. She asked me if my family attended church and upon hearing that we do, was encouraged that we are receiving support through our church. She gave me a hug. She asked what my baby’s name is and when I told her, Kyleigh, she told me that was one of the girl names she had picked out had she ever had a girl. This woman asked how we were doing and how my boys were dealing with Kyleigh’s death. She asked if we prefer that people talk about Kyleigh or don’t say anything at all.

We talked for probably 10 minutes or so. She was not intrusive, but genuinely cared and showed compassion. At one point, we did introduce ourselves because like I said, I had no idea who this woman was. As we started to go our separate ways, I thanked her for taking the time to talk to me. I told her that she was the first person to ask me about my baby who did not know what had happened and that while it took me off guard, I truly appreciated her asking.

This woman, a mother to three boys, is paying attention to life around her. She’s not caught up in the little stuff that we let get in the way. She didn’t know my name, but she remembered seeing me at preschool the year before. Five months later, she remembered that I had been pregnant. I have often wondered as I walk the aisles of the grocery store or take the boys to check out books at the library if anybody there realizes that I was pregnant. They couldn’t have missed my enormous belly. In fact, I’m sure many of them were fearful that I would go into labor right there in the middle of the food or book aisles. I didn’t run any of my regular errands for almost three months after Kyleigh died. Is that enough time for people to forget? Or are they just afraid to say anything? Or were they even paying attention in the first place?

Do you pay attention to those around you? I don’t. I am clueless when it comes to new hairstyles, if you’ve lost or gained weight or if you got new glasses. I think this is why I was so touched and caught off guard at the same time today.

I cried happy tears as I headed back towards home this morning. One more person has heard Kyleigh’s story and I don’t think this woman will soon forget it.

3 thoughts on “Paying Attention

  1. I completely understand how you were feeling when this happened. I’ve had similar situations when I’ve dropped my toddler off at nursery. I have mixed emotions. I want people to ask but I’m scared of them asking too. Sometimes I feel as though I’m having an OK day just to be completely floored when someone asks me “did you have the baby?”. There is no right or wrong I guess. It just is. I think I’d rather have people ask than walk past me with fear in their eyes. I’m hoping that as time goes by, I will get better with dealing with these situations

    • I too, would rather people ask than ignore. At the same time, it’s so hard to answer sometimes. It goes along with the dreaded … how many children do you have? Thankfully, I have not encountered that too many times yet. I also like to think that by answering honestly, we are educating people on how to deal with the loss of a child. So many people want to avoid it, but it’s not going away.

  2. Pingback: How Many? | Kyleigh's Gift

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