Thursday, October 7, 2010

Beware: baby on the shoulder

I recently had an experience that I found a bit baffling:  a colleague holding a baby on the shoulder (like I said, we work with babies a lot) and patting him on the back.  The baby was nuzzling into my colleague's ear, and frankly, he looked very very cute.  The coworker looked at me, showed me the baby and said something like "isn't this the best part of the day?"

Ahem.  Sure it is.  Especially if it does not, you know, remind you of your stillborn son who should have been a bit older than this baby by now.  Of what you do not have.  Of what everyone else seemingly has or has had (including my colleague).  OF WHAT YOU'VE LOST.  Of mind numbing pain.

Yes, I appreciate babies, probably more than your average infertile.  I had no choice, it was either learn to live with them, or change careers.  I got exposure, more exposure than I can count, and I got it very early after my loss.  For anyone out there who cannot avoid pregnant women or babies, or who works with them, I promise that it will only hurt the first hundred times or so.  After a while, that part of the brain that registers pain numbs out.  After an even longer while, you will start to enjoy aspects of your work again.  But by all means, do not expect that you will ever look at a cute nuzzling baby and feel nothing but bliss.

I also wondered what my colleague was thinking.  Most likely, nothing.  And it never fails to amaze me how people just forget.  I wish sometimes that we would have a common memory, a very large memory that we can all share.  Until then, I think we have to rely on subtle cues, such as kicking each other in the shin when we've tweaked a sore spot.  That should teach my colleagues to stop terrorizing me with nuzzling babies.

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