Returning to work. It's hard for all new moms. A new routine, saying goodbye to all those days in the house with the baby, leaving the baby with someone else to watch, and returning back to reality. But to a new mom without a baby on earth, it is even more difficult. There is still the new routine, just in a different sense. And although the baby isn't on earth, the baby is constantly in the mom's thoughts. But the new mom without the baby on earth has to learn to deal with the question of "How's the baby?"
That was me this past week. My first week back to work was exactly like I thought. Receiving the hello's and welcome back's, learning and understanding changes, and countless emails (1184 to be exact).
I made it through the first day, perfectly. I mean it was tough but I didn't have to fight with tears. Everyone welcomed me back with open arms, no one mentioned anything about the baby, and the day moved extremely fast. The second day was about the same.
The third day back was good but I happened to run into that one person. The person who means well but kicks you in the stomach at the same time. Yep, it happened. The three words that most moms can't wait to be asked. "How's the baby?"
As I said in a previous post, I wasn't going to plan for this question, how can you? I figured when I was asked it, I would just let the words come out of me. But that didn't happen. I was taken back by the question when I was asked. I suppose because I hadn't received the question the first two days back to work, so I figured I wasn't going to get it. I didn't know what to say. The question was asked of me only in passing, so I didn't have much time to figure out a response. So, I opened my mouth and out it came "He's okay."
After I said it, I couldn't believe that it was I had used as my response. I kept thinking, "He's okay", are you kidding me???? "He's okay"??? Then I heard the voice of understanding from next to me. The soft, kind voice confirmed that he is okay, just in a different sense. I explained that I just didn't know what to say and that is what came out. The same kind voice showed understanding and confirmed that it was okay.
A few hours went by and it was behind me. The moment I had dreaded since Wyatt was delivered was past me now. It would never have to be like that again, or so I thought.
The forth day went well. I started to get back into the swing of things and even went out to dinner. Then day five arrived. The dreaded question was not only presented to me once on day five, but twice. I came to the realization that the response I had provided before, wasn't going to work again. I need to figure out something else.
I decided I needed to just explain what I could. I explained that he baby, Wyatt, was sick with a severe heart condition. I explained our desperate attempts to help our child. And lastly, I described the pain of losing him.
As I said before, the person meant well in asking the question. It is a question every mother wants to be asked. But after the real explanation, it was quickly realized that the question was like alcohol to an open wound. The burning pain showed clear on my face.
I continued to feel that I must be strong for others. I must protect them and not let my situation hurt them or make them feel uncomfortable. However, I am starting to realize that I can't do that. I need to be strong for me. I need to protect myself from the alcohol burn. I need to do this so that the wound can begin to heal. To heal and form a scar that will remain forever.