Someone from reception came into my office, the one where I'm still hiding, this morning.
She asked if anyone had any sweets.
Because the girl from HR who did my maternity interview was there. With her first child (the sweets were to bribe the first child into the building).
And her baby.
One of the girls in the office got up, found some sweets for her. Said she would be through to see them all soon. Sat back down.
My stomach turned hollow.
No one said anything to me. Everyone just chatted.
It wasn't long before it was just me and one other girl sitting at our desks. I told her I wasn't sure about going along to see this girl. That I was normally OK with babies, more so than with pregnant people. But that I was scared.
She told me it was OK not to go along. That if it was her, she wouldn't. She told me not to cry, else she would start. In a nice way.
In the end I wrote her a note. Told her that I couldn't face seeing her this time, but that I was glad everything had gone well. That I would look forward to seeing her and the baby next time they came in.
I passed it on.
Then I went into the ladies to have a cry.
After that, I was OK, actually.
The girl who passed on the note told me that when she had done so, HR lady had said that she wasn't sure whether to come along and see me or not. It helped, to know that she understands how hard this is for me. Even just a little.
I still kind of wish I'd gone along. But it's too early for tormenting myself with babies in work.
All I can say is that I can't imagine how hard it must be for those who have lost babies who have workplaces full of pregnant people, or visiting babies. This girl is the only one to have a baby in our workplace for years. One day was hard enough. I can't imagine how distressing, how exhausting it must be to cope with more regularly.
There is a coda to this story, in which my colleagues are nicer. I was alone in a different office later this morning, and the colleague who provided the sweets came in and asked if I was OK, offered me a hug. She told me that the girl from reception had called immediately she got back to her own desk, berating herself for not being more sensitive to me. Not sure whether to apologise or not.
So. Sometimes even when people seem to be insensitive, they realise a little later and feel bad. Which is kind of comforting.