Monday, May 10, 2010

would-be birthday month

It's May again, and since the moment we flipped the calendar you have been on my mind constantly. There is still a heaviness in my heart about this month--a sort of bitter sadness that accompanies a broken dream, I suppose. I remember so many people commenting on what a great time of year it would be to have a baby. Of course, I never got to find out. Yet somehow, this month, your due date, still holds so much significance for me. In that alternate reality where everything is different, I would be planning your first birthday. I can't even imagine.

Mother's day was a little bit easier this year, although much too ridden with the word "first." Happy first mother's day! Once again I found myself in that familiar position of being pulled in two directions: torn between embracing the happy, normal, "first time mom" image, and the one whose heart bristles at the assumption that I was not a mother last year. What about that 24 hour labor last January, at the end of which I pushed out a tiny baby? What about the box of ashes on the shelf? What about the tiny flutter of hope that would become your brother, already nestled in my womb?

This year, he is the dominating force in my life, and my motherhood is a lot more obvious. But I like to believe that it truly began a long time ago, way back on the morning of September 9th, when I peed on a stick and it flashed an hourglass at me for what seemed like an eternity before spelling out something along the lines of: "you will never be the same." And now I can truly appreciate the magnitude of that moment, because I am, in fact, forever changed because of you. I am a better mother because of you. You have shaped me in so many ways.

All of that, and I will never get to know you. I wonder if May will always feel so significant; if it will always feel like there is a birthday missing on the calendar. Much of the time it almost feels like I am still waiting for you, and it isn't until those flashbacks of a hospital room, of tiny, lifeless fingers and toes, that I remember you are really gone.

Time is funny that way. That old cliche that time heals is a bit misleading, I think. Really, I think time is just distance. With time, you begin to lose touch with those moments, just like you might lose touch with friends after moving away. They are still a part of you, of your history, but suddenly you have this new life. You become someone different. You remember them, but they are not so present in your every day life, and so you drift. And I think, in many ways, we do begin to forget, just a little. We have to, if we want to be able to move on in this new life, which, for better or worse, keeps marching on. Eventually, maybe we get used to the distance, and the distance gives us the perspective to reflect more objectively, but it never hurts any less. I don't think time will ever truly "heal" that heartache, but it does soften it. A little bit of distance and detachment makes it easier to bear, at least until it all rushes in and takes you back again.

Am I the only one who has these moments of rushing memories that make it all very real again? Because I am having entirely too many of them lately.


Hope's Mama said...

No, you're certainly not the only one. Although we lost our firstborn daughters in very different circumstances, I feel we are very much on the same journey now and I can relate to so much, if not all of what you say.
Glad we both have this obvious motherhood role now, but of course still wishing our first born little girls were here. You'd be planning a first birthday party and I'd be thinking about planning a second. I can't quite believe it either.

Anonymous said...

You're not the only one. I've been having many of those moments lately. It still surprises me how healing reading your blog is, again, it's like reading my own thoughts. The only way I can convince myself my little girl is gone is by going back to those moments in the hospital, seeing those tiny little hands and feet and seeing myself lying in that bed. and those moments seem further away with every day that passes.

Every time I remind my husband we are family, I have to point towards my daughters ashes. It hurts as much as it did five months ago. I wish things would have been different but like you, I think my little angel made me the great mother I will become in a few months.

Thank you again for your beautiful words.

Abigail W. said...

You're definitely not the only one! When I wished customers happy Mother's day, they kept asking "Are you a mother too?" After a while, I just kept answering "sort of." Most people got that it was a long story and they were better off not asking. A few pried.

Just the other day I was struck with this total body flash of what it felt like to be lying in that hideously uncomfortable bed, staring at the bizarrely sunny sky. Feeling the weight of that tiny boy in my arms; the feel of that fragile skin still warm from my body. It was as raw and fresh as if it were yesterday.


Aleina said...

Anonymous- I just responded to your comment in the other post, but in case you don't see that one--I am so touched that the blog has been healing for you. It sounds like our stories are very similar...I would love to chat sometime, if you want to email