It hit me today.
I looked down at my flat belly and surrendered to the fact that you’re really not coming.
I surrendered to the truth that we will not be bringing you home.
I surrendered to the pain of knowing I will never hold you or watch your daddy cry tears of joy the day you are born.
I surrendered to the realization that you will not get to meet your brothers this side of heaven.
I surrendered to all of the emotions that have been simmering inside of me since the day we lost you.
So here I sit, the sting from the pain as sharp as the day I left the hospital without you. That was almost four months ago. I should be about five or six months pregnant with you right now. Which is usually around the time reality sets in. You are my sixth loss, so I have been through these five other times with your siblings. You would think it should get easier. But it doesn’t. Each of you share similarities and differences with one another, much like how your three brothers here on earth share similarities and differences. The major difference is that your story is much shorter, and therefore I had a much smaller window of time with you.
It sounds silly when I say it out loud, but this is usually when I begin to realize just how little time we have left with one another. As though you are still physically with me. You see I now know what it feels like to bring a baby home. I know that feeling of excitement and anticipation that begins to bubble up inside me at this point in my pregnancies. This is when I wish for time to stand still, because I have grown so accustomed to us being physically connected, I don’t want to let go of you. But also wishing for time to warp forward to the day I actually get to meet you. But I also know what it’s like to miscarry. I know that we are no longer physically connected, while at the same time I know I haven’t met you. I carry this unconscious hope that it was all a bad dream. Maybe I’m going to wake up one morning to sore boobs and the urgency to pee because of how much you weigh down on my bladder with your rapidly growing body. But instead I am becoming a little more comfortable with the life we’re all living as a family of five. I feel guilty for accepting this reality. It’s like when you lose someone you actually knew outside the womb. There’s that point after they’re gone that you realize their smell has disappeared. I am drawing closer to that point with you, your impending due date is like the day I realize your smell has disappeared. It confirms you’re really not coming.
The emotions are mixed, on the one hand I know this means I am getting closer to the end of my grieving process. I know I will eventually arrive at acceptance. I yearn for that stage because the hurt of losing you always gets a little easier to bare at that point. I am not there yet, right now I am still wavering somewhere between bargaining and depression. My guilt and sadness are the strongest feelings at this point in the process. The sadness is obviously there, but the guilt hovers over me for a complexity of reasons. When we lost your first three siblings we didn’t have children here on earth yet. The guilt was centered on myself and my body’s inability to grow a baby. It was all about me and what I wasn’t able to do, not as much about still being in mourning. Now that your brothers are here the guilt varies for several reasons. I have accepted my body and its imperfections related to growing babies. Now the guilt centers more on the fact that I am sad at all. I have three precious miracles that I get to be with every day. I have the honor of watching them grow, learn, and move through the different milestones of life. I don’t want them to see my sadness and think I am not abundantly grateful and satisfied with them. Because I am, I sincerely am, but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss you too. However, I become more easily distracted with life now. I get caught up in being a mama to the children I did get to bring home. This is the other side of the coin. I feel guilty for getting caught up with life, as though I am leaving you behind or somehow not honoring you and the impact you had on me. I feel as though my grieving is the only thing I have left to give you. But I am beginning to see how much more you and each of your siblings, those with you in heaven and your three brothers here on earth have given me.
You have given me a perspective on life that I would not otherwise have.
You have given me an endurance and a bravery that I didn’t know was inside me.
You have given me an appreciation for life that I didn’t have before.
You have given me an ability to hope amidst moments in life where hope is not an easy thing to have.
You have given me so much in such a short period of time, perhaps more than some people are able to give in a whole lifetime. You are no longer physically a part of me. We will not share the same moments on this earth that your brothers and I get to share. But you are and always will be a gift to me. You will always hold this special place in my heart. Your brief existence has forever shaped me, and because of that I will always carry a piece of you with me as I journey through the mountains and valleys of my life.
I will still continue to grieve; I will still continue to struggle with the reality that you’re really not joining us. But it is my story and my love for you that I will choose to give instead. Because I am learning that this is what will truly sustain your memory and honor you in the way you deserve.
And for that, I thank you my sweet baby.