Has anyone else noticed their fear and anxiety manifesting as extreme awkwardness? Let me explain. I have three groups of people I encounter on a regular basis: my loved ones and the people that I feel very comfortable around, my acquaintances and the people that know about Sophie but aren’t super close to me, and strangers or people that I’m meeting for the first time. I consider myself a pretty social person and I feel comfortable in most social settings and groups of people. However, I’ve had several moments in the past week with people that fall in that “acquaintance” bucket and it’s made me realize that this new awkward version of myself is going to be around for a while.

Let me play out a scenario for you.

Acquaintance: Hi Shannyn, how are you?

Me: Doing pretty good, how about you?

Acquaintance: Great! I saw the news – congrats on the pregnancy!

Me: Oh….thank you…we’re excited…and a bunch of other stuff.

Acquaintance: Ok, good. How are you feeling?

Me: Oh…you know….ok….ha…ha…nothing to complain about.

Acquaintance: Great! Are you excited to have a boy?

Me: Uh-huh (awkward smile)

I made weird facial expressions and had a hard time keeping eye contact. And then afterward I gave myself even more anxiety replaying the conversation and reflecting on how I could have done things differently or what I should have said instead. We are SO excited for this boy and we are SO grateful for this pregnancy! Why can’t I just say that and mean it?

Here’s what was hidden inside of all those pauses and why these conversations aren’t so black and white anymore.

Acquaintance: Hi Shannyn, how are you?

Me: Doing pretty good, how are you doing?

Acquaintance: Great! I saw the news – congrats on the pregnancy!

Me: Thank you, we’re so excited and also terrified about losing another child, but we are trying so hard to stay hopeful.

Acquaintance: Ok, good. How are you feeling?

Me: Very emotional and very grateful. We’re taking this one day at a time and cherishing all the moments we have with this baby.

Acquaintance: Great! Are you excited to have a boy?

Me: Absolutely! We also miss our baby girl so much and wish Sophie could be here to meet her little brother.

I hold myself back from being honest with so many people because I don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable. I’ve tried to bring up Sophie in conversations and I can see them squirm, then look at me like I’m broken, and change the subject.

Either way, it’s awkward.

Unfortunately, that’s just how it’s going to be for a while and I’ve come to terms with it after this week. Nevertheless, this is another learning opportunity. I will work on navigating these conversations so I can speak freely about Sophie and my grief while trying to educate other people on responses that acknowledge our daughter.

Dog with tongue hanging out - Shannyn's Week 16: Awkward Turtle

Author’s Personal Collection/Shannyn Hanson

Just to make you smile I’m going to leave these pictures of my crazy dogs here. They have enough awkward moments for all of us and help remind me not to take myself too seriously.

Shannyn's dog - Week 16: Awkward Turtle

Author’s Personal Collection/Shannyn Hanson

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