In the 5 weeks that we have had our son, there have been countless awkward moments with strangers. Let’s start with Rocco’s 1st outing, the Franklin Farmer’s Market. With permission of our doctor to go out in public (as long as no one held or touched him), we bundled Rocco up in the baby sling and headed out on a gorgeous sunny Saturday morning. Being from LA, I was not prepared for the Southern hospitality, curiousity and assumptions we would encounter.
“What do you have in there? Is that a baby?”
“10 days!!! What and you are up and about already?”
“The doctor said it was ok.”
Wait, she said up and about. Why is this woman staring at my stomach? Is she looking at my backside?!?!
“Suzy! Come here! Look at this woman and her baby. Look how good she looks after 10 days.”
Oh God. She thinks…
“I am still carrying some of my 1st one 23 years later. So he’s your 1st?”
In this moment I froze as I stood in front of a small gathering of friendly Southern women staring at my abs, backside and bundle of joy. What do I say?
Nope not my 1st one, actually he is my 4th child. We have been foster parents for the past couple years, and had to give back 3 children to their bio families. One we had for the 1st year of his life and it was so devastating to give him back, we were in counseling for over 9 months before we had the courage to try again. I should look good after 10 days, considering another woman (the bravest woman I know) carried him in her womb for the last 9 months, and gave birth to him. I just came to the hospital and took pictures.
“Just say thank you.”
Justin firmly whispers in my ear again, “Kristen, just say thank you.”
“He’s the 1st I get to keep. Thank you?”
In that moment my husband knew everything I was thinking. As we walked away from the friendly table of pie makers he reminded me that I did not have to share my story or Rocco’s with every friendly vendor at the farmer’s market. There will always be questions, and people with good intentions. We don’t have to share everything.
“I fell like I am lying.”
“Babe, you are not. Did any of those women ask you if you gave birth to him? You look great. Enjoy it.”
So I did. The scenario I shared played out another 4 or 5 times that day. My response each time, thank you with a big smile.
We all have that friend who is back in her skinny pre-pregnancy jeans a week after giving birth. I got to be her for a couple hours. It was fun.
PS – In an effort to avoid awkward moments, later I will be blogging about what to say and not to say to adoptive families. : )