On the first day of the third week after I lost you, on what should have been the first day of my 14th week of pregnancy, I felt OK when I thought about you. Just once though. Every other time I thought about you I burst into tears that day, even in a room full of people who either didn’t notice or politely said nothing. But just once, when I stood on the deck in the darkness that night, listening to crickets and to June bugs smacking into the porch light, I thought of you and felt grateful. Grateful for your life, grateful for the love I’ve been shown by those around me. Grateful for your dad.
It was nice to feel a little normal. It went away later and the depression and grief came back. But it was my first taste of normal and gave me a tiny bit of hope. One day, I will feel normal. I will think of you with sadness but without heart-wrenching grief. I don’t know when that will be, but for the first time since I lost you I knew, with proof, that it would come.
It’s still so hard. I still wake up every morning with my first though being, “I don’t want to get up,” and my second being, “I’m not pregnant anymore.” But I get up, I let the dog out. I cry in the shower, I cry under the hair dryer and while brushing my teeth. I force the tears to stop long enough to put on a little makeup, and then I cry on the way to work and wonder if any makeup is left.
But I’m trying to remind myself each morning that each day is also closer to hope. Closer to a new pregnancy, a new joy. So much fear will come with that, but maybe God will answer my prayers this time. Maybe.
Once in awhile I look ahead. I put prenatal vitamins back on the shopping list. I think about my diet and exercise.
But looking forward is also so frustrating. I’ve done so much waiting to have a child. Not as much as many women, I know. But this time last year I was preparing for you. Wrapping up grad school, starting prenatal vitamins, talking your dad into trying for a baby in July or August. I have waited for you while friends nearby and friends from college were all getting pregnant. I have attended baby showers and cried and cried afterward because I couldn’t seem to get pregnant and have that same joy. I’m not angry at those women, or bitter toward them, or even jealous of them. I’m not envious of anyone’s happiness. It’s not their fault they conceived quickly and bore healthy children any more than it’s my fault I took awhile to conceive and then lost you. But I am angry at God. I’m angry because I did everything right and took care of my health and gave up coffee for you, and prayed for you and loved you, and God took you from me. The other women I know did too. So why was I different?
I struggle with the questions any woman who loses a child has. Especially those who hope in God. Even less fair is it when women get pregnant accidentally, don’t want the child, continue with their unhealthy lifestyles and harmful behaviors and yet their child lives and thrives. Why does God allow some women joy and takes it from others? I know, as I have written before, that I may never know the purpose in all of this. But the very human and very heartbroken part of me demands to know why God took my child. Why he took my first one. I would have chosen rather to have lost the second or the third if I had to lose one. Then I would have been comforted by the babies I already had. I would have been distracted in caring for them. I ask why he picked a woman who has longed to be a mother for years and took her child from her, when teenagers who don’t want babies have healthy ones anyway.
I don’t understand. I am angry. I am afraid of the future. I am afraid of losing another. I am still hourly grieving you. My body is in limbo, confused at the loss of you, yet still unable to get pregnant again yet. It’s such a strange and hopeless place to be in, all this waiting.
Someone said that hope is stronger than fear. Maybe it is. It is not my prevailing emotion, but it’s in there somewhere. Buried somewhere in the occasional and fleeting moment of peace. Buried somewhere in a moment of looking ahead to your sibling. Buried in the prenatal vitamins on my shopping list. Buried deep in the daily progress of time and healing, slow as it may be. Oh, how heartbreakingly slow it is.
Rowan, I can’t wait to meet you one day. But I’m starting to hope to meet your sibling one day soon too.