Tonight I attended my first library board meeting (oh, yeah, I am PRETTY cool) since the end of May.
It was at that last meeting that our librarian snuck up to me and scolded me for not telling her I was pregnant. I sighed internally and pasted on my smile, thinking to myself, ugh, another person who knows I’m pregnant, all I wanted was a quiet, calm, private endeavor. She chatted me up for details, dates, how was I feeling, what sex were we hoping for, all the standard prego talk. I mustered up all the cheer I could (I’m generally very sarcastic and dry in public, cheer seems phony on me. Unless of course, at school.)
The next week, that not so private, not so quiet, not so calm pregnancy was no more. That sweet unknown baby was no more. Life as I knew it was no more . I recall thinking to myself during that week that even our town librarian knows. Everyone knows.
What does this mean for me now? Certainly people don’t walk up to me and say ‘wait, I thought you were pregnant!”. In fact, I haven’t had a single person mention my pregnancy accidentally, other than one of our student’s unfortunately awkward parents.
So, tonight, as I walked into the building for our meeting, that irrational core of my brain whispered in my ear, ‘what if she says something to you? What if they don’t know you lost the baby? What if someone makes you cry? What if they think you’re crazy because you can still be triggered to cry?’. I ignored this voice, as I find I must so often do, and swept into the library (ah, sanctuary!). I was greeted pleasantly, offered a coffee and we got down to business.
In a town so small, everyone knew I was pregnant. In a town so small, everyone knows now, that I’m not.
I don’t suffer insensitive comments, I don’t have to explain my lack of belly (well, lack of pregnant belly, anyway). I haven’t had to utter the tear soaked words, ‘actually, we lost the baby.’
All that remains are the stilted seconds, the lingering moments after someone mentions pregnancy, deliveries, ‘when is her baby due?’, ‘I heard she was pregnant’. Eyes glance sideways at me, waiting on a reaction, afraid to let their looks hold my own. Inevitably, as I fail to react outwardly, the conversation returns on its path and the hanging cloud dissipates into the air. I return my own gaze to the room and check back in.
In a small town, everyone knows everything. We are all in one another’s business, we all spread words like sickness on the breeze. Stories bleed out into the air like blood in snow. But still, we carry on, poised on edge. Beneath our feet the clatter and crunch of eggshells. Ringing in our ears, the sounds of another pregnant pause.