Pregnant with the daughter conceived after the sudden and traumatic loss of my son, one of the most common phrases I’ve heard is, “Everything is going to be fine.” And while it’s uttered with the best of intentions, it, unfortunately, erases the very real fact that this child, too, could die. And it’s important to me to recognize that. I live this pregnancy hoping for the best, while also holding space for all possibilities. This is reality. Please don’t try to take my reality away from me.
I am pregnant with my second child, a tiny girl conceived after the loss of my first. So far my pregnancy has been healthy. I’m being closely monitored, and I’m also on watch for all the warning signs. I know from personal experience how quickly things can go wrong.
Please stop telling me everything is going to be fine.
Because you see, I’ve heard those words before, from multiple licensed medical practitioners. They weren’t true, but I believed them, and then my baby died.
I’m pregnant with my second child, and I’ve already got baby things. I’m planning to bring her home with me. The odds are in my favor. But I’m also aware that things might go wrong, and sometimes with no warning. I’m aware, maybe more than most, that sometimes babies die.
I’m pregnant with my second child, and I am surrounded by those who are well-meaning. They call me often, message me often to check in. Every milestone is a topic of conversation. And some conversations end with, “Everything is going to be fine.”
I am pregnant with my second child, and if I had one request, it would be, “Please stop promising something you can’t guarantee.” If I am worried about something, there is good reason. If I am living with my fear, it is because I have accepted it. If I use statements like “if” instead of “when,” it is because I know all too well the heaviness and horror when pregnancy ends without a living child.
You may want to stop and reassure me — “But everything is okay right now. There haven’t been any bad signs.” And I will tell you — my pregnancy with my son was perfectly normal, too, up until right before he died. And I am still planning to take this little girl home with me, and I am also mentally preparing to handle the aftermath if this little girl dies.
So please stop telling me everything is going to be fine.
The fact is, you don’t know. You are making an empty promise based on your own wishes. And if something does go wrong, there won’t be repercussions for you, only for me.
So please stop telling me everything is going to be fine. Because as much as I hope that’s true, I can’t count on it. I can only find comfort in reality. And in reality, nothing is guaranteed.
So please, stop telling me everything is going to be fine. I am holding hope while living with uncertainty. I’ve made my peace. And I need peace, and fully informed hope, from you.
A version of this post was originally published on the author’s website.