Sophie’s Goodbye

When Sophie, (not her real name) stepped through my door, she didn’t look to be in the best of spirits. So I sat her down in my living room, joined her just a couple of feet away at the end of the sofa and asked how she was. I’ve always thought that rather an odd social nicety when both of you know each other well enough to know when something is somehow out of kilter with the other. She started to tell me her story. That she and her husband had been trying for a baby and that she had conceived quite quickly. Sadly however, within a week or so, there was the disappointment of quite heavy bleeding. She had taken herself off to hospital to get herself checked out, and they were able to confirm that the pregnancy was terminated. At this point in her story Sophie’s demeanour shifted a little. It seems that she was a bit taken aback by an apparent lack of compassion in the medical staff, “It’s just a bit of blood dear; a few cells. Just a blob of jelly really. Nothing to bother about.” So they sent her home insisting that she and her partner should just keep trying. Ever since then, she had been quite low and felt somehow, knotted, inside. She couldn’t figure out why she felt the way she did; particularly as the medical people seemed so unconcerned about it.
While she had been telling her story, I’d been doing a bit of thinking and decided to ask a few questions. Since realizing she was pregnant, had she chatted to her partner about it? “Oh yes, lots”. It seems they had both got quite excited about it and had started to discuss the future. Had they talked about the baby specifically; if it would be boy or girl, who might it look like? “We both found that we’d quite like a girl for the first child; although of course we’d be just as happy with a boy”. Had they talked about names? At this she shifted a little in her seat. It seems they had decided on names that they liked.
All the time we had been talking, I’d been thinking. That from the moment of conception, possibly even before, her body chemistry had started to shift. That an emotional bond and attachment to this new life had already begun to form, and that this bond was being reinforced by the celebration and sharing with her partner. I decided to take a risk. “Sophie”, I said. “We’ve known each other for some time”. “I wonder if you trust me enough to do something that, on the face of it might seem quite simple, but in reality you may find difficult”. She looked apprehensive but nodded all the same. “I wonder if you could picture that baby and, using the name you have chosen, say a quiet gentle goodbye to that little life?”
The fact of my voicing it was enough. I saw her eyes flush pink, and then the tears welling up as the knot of grief that had built up inside her began to untangle itself and release its grip.

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