I stared icily at the mail I just received from Sade. This was an unforeseen setback. Sade is the Team Director for Project Optimum, a 4-month digital marketing strategy piece for our largest client in my up-and-coming digital marketing firm. When the client had approached us five months ago about the project, I was ecstatic. This was the first time I was having a multi-million-dollar project and I was surprised they had considered my firm, considering that we were fairly new in town. The client said they liked our previous work for one of their competitors and the rest is history. Emeka was my priority choice to lead the project, but Sade had pled for a step-up opportunity and I trusted her. So, I gave her the role. Initially, she executed excellently, but then two months into the project, she had gotten pregnant. I was very angry. Of all the times she could have gotten pregnant, why now? And so began the lateness to work. The hospital appointments. The tiredness. The mistakes on slides. The increased sloppiness. At some point, I considered firing her.
Yes, judge me. But I am entitled to my feelings and to do the best for my business. I decided against it because I feared the backlash it might cause among the staff. There was also the legitimate fear that people would interpret it as me being jealous of Sade. After all, I was now forty. Never married and still very single. I also realized that if I was being honest with myself, Sade is a great asset on her best days.
In two days, we were to present the final strategy piece to the CEO of the client to be led by “you know who”, and now I get a mail from her telling me,
“Ma’am, I lost my baby last night, and I’m on bed rest at Kandel Hospital. I’ll need a week off, please. Thank you, Sade.”
I stood up. My throat was dry, and I walked to the pause area to grab a glass of water. I did not know how to process this at all. While I didn’t want her to be pregnant, I surely didn’t want her to lose her baby. I had been rather too formal with her and communication between us was no longer fluid. What was I supposed to say to her? How was I to comfort her? She is a genuinely sweet person who did not deserve this.
As I walked back to my office, I was suddenly overcome with emotions. As soon as I got into my office, I crouched on my knees and let out a soft groan. I began to cry. I missed my child. My child who I dream of every night. My child who would have been 26 years this year. My child who I never got to know. My child who I murdered. My child!
There’s always a story.
I was raped when I was fourteen by my stepfather. My mother was appalled when she found out I was pregnant. She asked me who the father was, but I lied to her. I told her it was a Youth Corper who had now moved away from our area. I did not think she would believe me because her husband was a Pastor. She told me if her husband should find out, it would wreck his budding ministry. She took me to the local nurse’s house the next day. My baby was removed – such flaky word that still hunts my helplessness. That day, a part of me died forever.
We never spoke about it again, nor about much thereafter.
I grieve my child every day. I had no one to talk to then and I never talk about it now. Since I got born-again, I asked God to forgive my sin. But it remains a weighted part of me that I continue to carry. I bury myself in work and that helps keep me distracted from my internal woes. No one was there to help me when I was most vulnerable. My father was dead. My mother was in love with my abuser. My pastor was my abuser. I was trapped in my cycle of hopelessness. There was absolutely no one or anywhere that could extend comfort, however mild. My only solace had been when I read the words of David in the Psalms. It soothed my soul during difficult days.
I wiped my tears. At my desk, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper to me, “Can you comfort her just like you wished someone had comforted you when you lost your baby?”
“By showing and telling her you care, and you will support her through it all.”
How do I do that, Lord?
“Pray for her and keep praying. You will know.”
I got on my knees and began to pray for her. As soon as I was done, I knew what I had to do. I closed my computer and headed out to Kandel Hospital.
My story is her comfort.