Monday, January 22, 2007

Dear Amy:

Recently, my husband and I were surprised with the news that I was several months pregnant. We also learned of complications that seriously compromised the viability of the baby. We discovered that the baby, if it survived, would likely have severe mental and physical disabilities.

We chose to terminate the pregnancy. We told only a few people.

I am certain that we made the right decision, and am getting better, but there are times when the whole thing unexpectedly hits me. I can't help thinking about it, and I know this is part of the process of moving on, but at times I've gotten very emotional.

One of my co-workers is expecting a baby and is having a shower thrown in her honor. Only one of my co-workers knows about my situation, and I'd like to keep it that way, but it isn't easy to explain my random weeping, especially because I am not normally that way.

Should I go to this event or give her a gift beforehand and say we can't make it?

I don't want to avoid these things forever, or develop a complex about them, but it's just difficult right now.

Trying to Move On

For now, avoiding baby showers doesn't mean that you will develop a complex about them or avoid them forever. Many women find attending baby showers difficult and emotional for all sorts of reasons. You could send a gift along with a note saying, "I'm so sorry that I won't be able to make it to your shower, but I want to shower you with good wishes all the same."

Your complicated reaction to what you have been through is not only understandable but also expected. Losing a pregnancy is a very emotional experience, even if it was your choice and even if you feel certain that you did the right thing. Your physician should have advised you to expect this -- she or he could refer you to a support group if you think that it would be helpful. (I do.)

If you find yourself weepy at unexpected times, don't feel compelled to explain. Just say, "I'm sorry, I'm feeling emotional. Just give me a minute to get it together."

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