By now you’ve probably seen this picture. You’ve probably heard of the 9 labor and delivery nurses who are all pregnant at the same time.
When I look at this picture, I feel happy for these women and their shared experience. I wish them all the very best in their pregnancy. But, my heart truly belongs to the woman who isn’t in this photo.
I look at this photo and I wonder about the woman who, because of baby loss or infertility, missed their chance to be in the picture.
I wonder about the woman who has yet to see a positive pregnancy test even though it’s been months, or maybe years, of trying. I wonder about the woman whose pregnancy ended before she had a chance to pose with the rest. I feel for that woman so deeply.
It can be so hard to be the one who’s not pregnant.
After losing a baby, being around one pregnant friend, relative, or co-worker is a difficult task. It’s an emotional tug-of-war between being happy for them and being insanely jealous that it’s not you. Just one pregnant person can send you into an emotional tailspin. Can you imagine what it’s like to be around nine?
I can just imagine this woman. I can see her passing by as the photo is taken. Forcing a smile through her tears, she hurries off to the bathroom stall so she can cry. Not wanting to ruin the joy of the moment, but mourning the fact that it’s not her joy.
It’s so hard to be left out of the picture. It hurts so much to be the one on the sidelines wondering…why not me?
I wonder about this woman, because I’ve been this woman.
And chances are, one of the nurses in this photo has been this woman. There’s a 1 in 4 chance that one of these nurses has known pregnancy loss and a 1 in 8 chance that they have experienced infertility.
There’s a very good chance that one of these nurses knows what it’s like to be left out of the picture. It’s likely that one of these nurses is trying extra hard to smile through her anxieties of losing another baby. It is very possible that one, or more, of these nurses know the heartbreak of pregnancy and infant loss. And if that’s true, I’m sure she knows exactly which bathroom stall is best for a good cry.
Photo from Maine Medical Center