How is it that the one person in my office that has had 2 miscarriages this year ended up being the person to plan a baby shower for another woman in the office?
You see, it goes like this. The department Chief is sitting next to me at a meeting. The meeting is pretty much over but people are lingering and chit chatting. He turns directly to me and says "So is anything being planned for A? When is the baby shower going to be?" or something very similar to the effect, when in fact he actually means "I think you should organize a baby shower for A."
Before anyone goes off on "the audacity!" of the division chief, let me just say up front that this was not a completely unreasonable request.
First, and probably most relevantly, I am the last person in the office that birthed a baby and received an office baby shower. It seems appropriate that the last person to receive a shower should be the one organizing the next one. Based on a comment from another co-worker in the office, this may be a tradition in the office that I had not been aware of due to my relatively short tenure here, and the low number of baby-producing people in the office (most people in the office either have older children, or are single and not presently looking to have children).
Secondly, it's not like I advertise the fact that I'm experiencing struggles with fertility. Until very recently, there were only two people that even knew about my miscarriages. One of them was my boss, who I needed to tell because of the time I needed to take off from work to get all those darn blood tests. The other was a woman in another group with whom I had bonded over our mutually crunchy birthing and parenting styles. So, my division chief was not intentionally trying to be insensitive.
Still...Ouch. Yes, of course I'm happy to help... but Ouch.
I have to confess, I very well may have volunteered to help out with the planning even if I hadn't been asked. Because, you see, this woman and I have something shared - the common thread of infertility has touched us both. When I announced my pregnancy with SchmoopyBoy, she had been trying to conceive for 6 months. Now, three years later, after a costly failed IVF attempt and an attempt to adopt through the local foster-to-adopt program (the child she housed and fell in love with was ultimately placed with his biological father), now she is birthing a child of her own. I am truly so happy for her.
Throughout her pregnancy she has been positively beaming with happiness. I will admit it was hard to be around during the worst of my most recent loss. Trigger after trigger would leave me staring blankly behind my desk, struggling to function. But then I think to myself, how many times must I have unwittingly triggered her? When I was waddling around the office as big as a house, was I merely a reminder to her of what seemed out of reach? I wonder now how many times I carelessly and insensitively talked about my young child in her presence, perhaps complaining about lack of sleep, all without a second thought as to how she might have been triggered into sadness or envy or hopelessness or frustration.
Oh, the irony now that the tables are turned.
She never expressed a single negative thought towards me. She attended my office baby shower. She smiled at my stories. She absolutely deserves no less from me. This office baby shower is not about me or my struggles. It is about her achieving parenthood after a long and challenging journey. It is about celebrating her new daughter and her role as birthing mother.
I am not being facetious when I say that I am truly happy for her, and that I was glad to help with her shower. All I'm saying is...
Oh, the irony.