She lost another one. Another baby. This was the third one she’s lost in three years, she told me.
She has two other children. A 9 year old, and a 3 year old.
Her two children were looking forward to having a brother. After the pregnancy got far enough along, at about the fourth month, she told the children about the baby. They were over the moon about it! So was she.
The three of them, mom, and two children, talked about the baby every day.
The kids began to plan, as kids do, for the eventual arrival of a new brother.
The kids wanted to name their brother; wanted to pick out his clothes; they drew pictures for his room, and talked incessantly about the baby, she told me. When the baby came, the kids wanted to take turns doing baby chores like giving the baby a bottle, or holding or bathing him.
What about diapers, she asked them? No, that was not on their radar. Kids their age don’t think diapers – baby’s don’t make messes in their world.
There was a mess, though. The mess occurred when the baby was nearly six months in her womb.
She is single, poor, young, no health insurance. Without health insurance, the doctor visits during pregnancy were inconsistent. Well, she’s stretched thin, what with two kids to feed.
And, when you’re busy trying to survive moment-to-moment, when your amniotic fluid is slowly leaking from your womb to the extent the baby becomes endangered, you may not pay attention because you have two mouths in front of you to feed.
So, you ignore it until you can’t anymore and you push out a dead baby.
But you still have to work and take care of the kids the day you pushed out the baby.
The hospital tells you the baby needs a funeral, or should be cremated.
You opt for cremation. But, before the baby is taken away, you take pictures.
You show the pictures to people. You show people the pictures of the dead baby you just pushed out of your body?
You showed them to me.
I was looking at pictures of two beautiful children – live children. And then there were pictures of a dead baby. A lot of pictures.
She didn’t see the look on my face because I held myself in perfect check. I didn’t want to be rude, but I had to turn away.
I was able to maintain composure but I am haunted by it. The baby was still very pink.
I was overwhelmed at seeing those pictures and suddenly felt as if I was under water.
I can’t get the images out of my mind. It haunts me.
What made her think that I would want to see that?
She is of a different generation, a different culture. Is that it? I know in my heart that she showed them to me because she trusts and likes me; I am kind to her. I go out of my way to be kind to her. Not everyone is. Kind, I mean.
A week prior to the day she showed me the pictures, she told me she had picked up the Urn with her baby’s ashes. The children, she said, refused to believe her baby was in there. The children saw the pictures of the dead baby, she said because she wanted them to understand.
She told me they are too young to understand. Yes, I said, I imagine that would be true. What could I say?
She’s a strong girl, though. She is fine. I guess if she’s able to look at her baby’s picture on her cell phone, it means she must be doing fine?
I don’t know. I know she has to survive.
She has other business to attend to.