Friday, January 13, 2012

Leaving the Table

Around the table, we sit, a bunch of professionals chatting between presentations with our coffees, donuts, and the red-herring-orange slices. And the talk steers at it always does to a "safe" topic--children. I'm pretty good at this and for the most part I'm genuinely interested and sometimes even, I contribute. Yup, me, dead-baby-only mama, I do have some things to say. Sweet 20-something begins by asking each person at the table, "And how many children do you have?" Innocent and naive to assume that each of us has children and that we enjoy the opportunity to count them. So kind of her not to leave anyone out. She began with the 40+ woman on my left, then the seasoned father, and when it came to her, she told us how many children she would have. I was relieved, after all it opened the supportive comments to her about how "it would happen" and "it's OK to wait," and "enjoy your freedom now" followed by chuckles. I thought that we would move on, because I assumed her needs were met. I was wrong. She was still interested in everyone else, belying her generation. She continued around the circle methodically, "And you?" When the older gentleman to my right began his proud personal family census, I found myself quietly leaving the table. 

God, this is never going to stop sucking. Never. Make peace. Grow. And Still, the pain of it prompts me to exclude myself. The awkward never fitting in to anywhere is making me nuts. The impossibility of having some aspect of my life not colored black by death, is distressing.


  1. I really wish the "how many children do you have" or "is this your first" or any delve into one's personal childbearing history would not be considered "safe" talk I'm sorry you had to sit through this AGAIN.

  2. I read this shortly after you'd published it and I've been thinking about it ever since. I have to acknowledge that I don't know what it is like to be in the situation that you find yourself in. But reading this post made me wince in recognition. Because I WAS sweet 20-something (with the possible exception of her interest in everyone, probably more focused on meeting my own needs by opening these discussions) but I was so interested in children and I loved talking about them. I certainly considered them a 'safe' topic. And now I would never ask someone about their children, unless they volunteered certain information first, because I don't even know how to count my own. How on earth is can still be considered 'safe' territory given how terribly, terribly painful it has the potential to be I just don't know. And because it is considered to be a topic without any danger it creeps in everywhere, at work, shop assistants, it seems to be inescapable. So painful and I don't know how to make peace either.