Today was not only Monday, one of the days of the week I hate, but it was also the first day of a new education class. As the instructor, it is important to be happy, chipper, and positive to set the tone for the class and the company (the instructor is the person that the associates will look up to for the next few weeks). Since my return to work in late August, this happy and chipper usually requires some talking to the soul in order to achieve the expected outcome. This class was no different, I started last night with the "if your happy and you know it, clap your hands" dance. By this morning, I was ready and excited for the new class to start.
Of course, as an effective instructor, one should come up with games, icebreakers, motivators, etc. On the first day, I usually do two icebreakers (otherwise known as get to know you's). Today was no different, but it took a while to come up with them. My favorite icebreaker is asking everyone to go around and state one thing that others wouldn't know about them by looking at them. I considered doing my favorite icebreaker, then I realized my answer. I hadn't done this icebreaker since May 2010. My response to my own icebreaker question would be totally different now then what it was in the past, and how would the class take my new response? "You wouldn't know by looking at me that I lost my first born son." Yeah, that probably wouldn't go over too well.
I thought of several other icebreakers but I continued to come back to the same one. I decided if I used the icebreaker, I would use it later in class when I knew I wouldn't have to answer the question because of the number of other leaders who would be in the room. It worked, I didn't have to answer the question, but boy, if I only knew what the next thirty minutes had in store for me.
After the introductions, icebreakers, and expectations of the class, I like to take the class on a tour of the building. We started off like I would with any class, but due to the fact that time had flown by, when we got to the bathrooms I told the class that if anyone needed to take a quick break they could. I waited in the hallway with those not choosing to take break and BAM that's when it happened.
"So how far along are you?" Yes, I got the question because I have been showing since I was about fives weeks pregnant. I responded with "about four and a half months, I am due on August 1st." Quickly I was asked "Is this your first?" Thoughts ran through my mind, thoughts like: I don't know these people. Are you serious we are only two hours into class. Here we go, not again darn it!
I decided it would be best to just answer honestly, as I am with these people for two weeks now. I softly answered, "No, this is my second." I then tried to change the subject. Yea, nope, the subject couldn't be changed.
In just that moment I received the question I was trying to avoid, "So, do you have a boy or girl at home?" Oh, people, why must you just assume????? After even more thoughts ran through my head and after the hallway turned back into a hallway and not the dark tunnel I was standing in the moment before, I responded with "My first was a boy, but we lost him at 29 weeks gestation." Then to my surprise, another question. "What do you mean 29 weeks gestation?"
Are you serious? I clarified that I meant I carried my son for 29 weeks before I lost him due to a heart defect. Talk about a great way to start off the first day of a new class. All of the assoicates were standing there by the time the conversation was complete. It's amazing how you plan your icebreaker to ensure you don't alarm the class or cause several unnecessary questions but then within minutes, you find yourself telling the entire class about your loss anyway.
So, day one of this new two week class was rather interesting to say the least. I couldn't wait for the day to end and come home tp "recollect" myself. I sit here now thinking about it all over again and I smile and shake my head, for many reasons.
The first reasons is because there are so many people in the world who take so many things for granted. They just assume when you say you another child that the child is at home with you. They assume that when you are pregnant everything is going to be perfect, and that the baby will arrive as expected. They also assume that bad things never happen and when they are told that they do, the only thing intellgent they can find to say is "I'm sorry."
The second reason I shake my head is because I had to explain to the person asking the questions what 29 weeks gestation meant. I mean are you serious? If you don't know what gestation means, you probably shouldn't ask someone how far along they are! That's just my thoughts on that ignorance.
The third reason is for the fact that I was so worried about the questions I would get regarding my loss when I initially returned from work. I never gave much thought to the number of questions I would get after becoming pregnant for a second time. I honestly feel like I get more questions now then when I came back from leave. Of course, this is because when I returned everyone knew I lost the baby. Now, they see I am pregnant again and ask the standard questions.
Lastly, I shake my head over the entire situation because I still find it hard to believe that I even have to say that I lost my first son. Ten months ago I remember sitting on the phone and talking to my mom about others who had lost their babies. I remember thinking to myself, I feel so bad for those people but it will never happen to me. I remember the selfishness that passed through my mind of "it took us 26 months to conceive, that will be the worst pain we will have to endure." Oh my gosh was I ever wrong. Ten months ago, I was so ignorant, so uneducated about life. Ten months ago, my life was 100% different.
Would I change anything about my life? Yes, I would want my son here with me. Do I regret anything I did? No, I am not God and will not never know what the future holds. Will I ever be as niave as I was ten months ago, God I hope not. Was today the last day that I will ever be faced with the tough questions? Sadly no, because people need to know everything, even if they are just trying to make small talk. Sometimes small talk becomes so very large that people wish they would have never started the conversation in the first place.
"One of the best rules in conversation is, never to say a thing which any of the company can reasonably wish had been left unsaid." ~ Jonathan Swift