Thursday, July 23, 2009

oh, the gravity of it all

I don't shelter myself from babies anymore. Lately, I notice I am trying harder to get little glimpses of them in their car seats, in their parents' arms, in shopping carts and baby carriers. I can't get enough, almost. With each one I contemplate their tiny little features and wonder if this baby will be anything like them, just like I did with you. But there was a time in the not so distant past that even the sound of a baby from across a store would cut through me like knives, tearing at that gaping wound that was struggling to heal and bringing me down to that breaking point, letting that dark, looming sadness right back in like an old friend.

So many healthy babies in this world, and yet mine was not okay. Why couldn't you have been okay? But you had other plans.

Today at work, after witnessing a sweet new family, mom carefully attending to her baby in his car seat, I made a silly statement to the universe, or whoever happened to be in the general vicinity at the time.

"I want my baby now."

My coworker laughed. "You're tired of being pregnant already?"

Already, I suppose. But I will have been pregnant for most of a year next month, and I still have no baby to tend to. Plus, it's not so much that I am tired of being pregnant, as much as I am so anxious to have your brother here safely, healthy, well, alive. I am more aware than ever that I do not have control over this process. And how do I give my trust to my body when I have not quite forgiven it for what it failed to provide for you?

"At least you still have your freedom right can go do whatever you want. After you have that baby..." and then the look, that grave look that means something along the lines of everything changes. You will have a different life.

And what people don't understand is, there was another baby, but she died. And what I would give to be caring for that baby, for you right now, to be living that different life. My freedom? Certainly. My sleep? Certainly. Absolutely anything at all, to have you here, safe and healthy and whole, the way I imagined you.

I know that wasn't how it was supposed to go, but it was more clear to me today than it has been in a long time. I consciously stopped thinking in "should be's" a few months ago, but I wanted so badly to revisit that form of misery today. I should be mothering you right now. I should not even be at work! I should already be "tied down" by that squishy, gurgling, screaming baby.

Of course I am grateful for this new pregnancy, for your growing, wiggling brother who has made a game of pouncing on my bladder every time it gets full. Of course of course. There is no question that I cherish him equally, that I cannot truly wish things were different anymore, because it would mean that he would not exist.

But there was another baby. And you just seem so damn far away lately. There are new people I know that do not even know that you existed (at least not yet). Together your dad and I broadcast your memory with permanent ink in our skin, and there are those silent scars in our hearts, but you are still so...absent.

I guess this is what it will be like. The rest of the world will see my living children and comment on my beautiful family, but to me it will always be incomplete. There will always be someone missing.

What do I do with all this love I have for you? It is so big, so much bigger than I even have room for, and there is nowhere to put it. I ache to hold you again, in a way I haven't in months. But you are just dust and memories and sometimes a presence that is even less tangible than the air I am breathing, so subtle that I could just be imagining it. I want so badly for you to exist in some form, but I don't really know if things work like that. I want to believe it though. I almost have to. You cannot really just be gone, can you?

Your brother is growing so quickly. He is almost as big as you were when I held you. In fact, it was around this time in my pregnancy with you that we first saw you and the world began to slowly unravel. It seems like years, lifetimes ago, and at the same time like yesterday. It is a strange place to be, a healthy thriving baby in my belly and the one who wasn't so lucky in my heart.

People ask me what my plans are now, and I have no answer. Just let me get this baby here first, let me survive this strange cloudy haze of uncertainty, and then we'll talk.

1 comment:

Hope's Mama said...

What a vivid post. And oh so familiar, as I walk this road of losing a daughter and carrying a new son with you. Your words sent chills down my spine. Surely they can't be gone, can they?