I’m fairly open about myself. I developed this trait when I flunked out of college for a semester, back in 1995. People would ask about school (mainly why I wasn’t there), and I’d just tell them the truth. It was a little embarrassing, but it got easier with the telling. Granted, I didn’t always tell the entire story about why and how I got put on Academic Suspension; it wasn’t always relevant to the conversation, and was usually more than the person needed to know.
These days, I’m still fairly open about myself. I gladly announce my strengths and shortcomings, for the most part. I’m all over the internet, too, so there’s no hiding from people who want to know all about me. (I know there are one or two people from work who check my blog and Twitter and Flickr on occasion, and I’ve come to be OK with that.)
There’s a line, though, when it comes to casual social interaction. For instance: when I use the phrase, “once we have a kid,” or, “someday, when we procreate,” or whatever witty way I put it, one of the standard responses is, “Oh, are you thinking about trying for a kid?”
Normally, a standard answer from your average married thirty-something would be a casual nod and a smile, and perhaps a vague timeline — once so-and-so finishes school, or maybe this Fall, or even a secret admission that the person is indeed actively trying to conceive.
From me, though, you’ll likely get a stiff attempt at a casual nod and a “We’re thinking about it.” That’s because, every time someone asks, I think about the fact that I miscarried my first pregnancy at 10 weeks, and that Aaron and I could have been parents of a toddler right now. Then I realize that no one wants me to mention the worst day of my life in casual conversation — especially me — and I omit that detail and move on.
Never mind the fact that, no, we’re not necessarily thinking about trying for a kid again. The jury’s still out on that.
When my close friends ask me about my miscarriage, I answer. We discuss. It’s cathartic, I think. But when people who didn’t know me three years ago ask me about my family plans, I almost feel like I’m committing a social lie by not telling the whole truth, even though I know that’s the last thing they want me to tell them at that moment.
The omission is just as much for my comfort as theirs, though. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was the worst day of my life. Reliving it isn’t at the top of my to-do list.
So I’ll stop now.