A Casual Meeting

24 weeksI had an interesting conversation at the library the other day. My daughter was playing with some dolls and gave one to a woman who was there with her own daughter who was about four or five. This sparked some small talk between us. As we casually chatted she asked me if Hannah was my only child. I said yes and asked the same of her little girl. She said yes and that they weren’t planning on having anymore. I didn’t say much – after all I barely knew her. We chatted a bit more. She was from New York and just recently moved to DeKalb. Again she said that she didn’t think they were going to have anymore children. She was one of five and her husband was one of four so they were used to bigger families, but she thought they were done. I told her I too was from a large family and that I loved having my sisters to play with. She said she loved it too, but that she actually had a pregnancy before her little girl was born. She ended up with a blood clot in the placenta which left the baby severely disabled. She decided to have the baby “forced out” at around 24 weeks since she was told the baby was going to die anyway. The baby (a boy) took one breath and died. In my mind, I thought, “Oh, my, she had an induced abortion!” But I didn’t know what to say. I expressed my concerned, but was really taken aback. She waited a year to get pregnant again. When she did get pregnant with her daughter, the doctors monitored her closely and she took an assortment of drugs, including two self-administered shots a day. She said it was, “worth it, but hell.” I could see why she was scared to have another baby. She also mentioned several times that she was way too old to have anymore kids. I politely asked if she didn’t mind telling me how old she was. She was 37. I was surprised. I told her my grandma had her last baby at 44. My two sisters-in-law didn’t start their families until they were in their late 30’s. But at the same time, I was worried about encouraging her to get pregnant again. What if something went wrong with the baby? Would she abort that baby? I don’t have any answers really, but I was wondering if anyone had any advice. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. A little over a year ago at my knitting circle, another woman – again I didn’t know her – told me about how she had to have a D & E because the baby was “going to die anyway.” Why a D & E??? Again, I was completely taken aback and didn’t know what to say. Part of the problem is that I don’t know if these women have gone through any healing. But I’d like to be better prepared in the future because I have a feeling it’s going to happen again. How do I speak the truth in love? Let me know what you think.

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