Today marks one year and three days since the worst day of my life, the day I met my daughter, the day we were given numbers to funeral homes.
All week I pushed myself to be mindful of how my body feels and just give into it. If I didn’t feel like doing something, then I probably shouldn’t do it. If I didn’t feel like talking, I remained silent. To some degree it worked. It worked so well that I was even able to keep myself composed when my partner framed a picture of Marième’s hand for the living room wall.
I successfully glossed over it like it didn’t matter to me, even though it does.
That was until today, this article about a woman who lost not one, not two, but three babies. Three. One at six months like me and then twins at twenty-plus weeks. And suddenly everything that I’ve tried to not think about, things that no matter how hard I try I will never forget, came flooding back.
I will always remember the _ _ hours spent in labor, the unbearable physical agony, and the silent room that followed. The way the midwife swiftly took her away, giving us time process everything that just happened. I think about how cold the room suddenly became, how sad and helpless my partner looked because he could do nothing to comfort me, and the moment they finally wheeled her in. All the while, a chorus of babies’ first cries vibrated throughout the halls. Yet, our room remained silent.
No one complimented her hands, her smile, her feet, or said, “See, it was all worth it”. Was it worth it?
These women all had two to four children and one of the midwives constantly talked about how she couldn’t even imagine if it were her with her three children. Gee, thanks. That makes me feel much better.
We returned home that same evening, baby-less, with a crib that we would never use, boxes of diapers that would never be opened, and mother-daughter spa nights that would never be had. The house was silent. Unbearably silent. He had to return to work and when he left, I contemplated suicide. I figured this was it for me, the universe had finally taken so much from me, that I simply had nothing left to give.
I fast forward to this current moment and I may not be numb but it feels like I’m in a sort of purgatory, where I have so much unfinished business that I cannot fully move on. Lately I’ve been see-sawing back and forth between negative thoughts versus “my life’s not so bad after all”.
I’m so tired of hearing people say, “You’re young, you’ll have more”. Please stop telling me that, please and thank you. I wanted that baby. You don’t make children to replace children. That’s just not how these things called “love” and other human emotions work.
Another thing I’m tired of hearing are these “woe is me” stories from people that have multiple children. Um, your children didn’t just drop out of the sky. Trust me, there are plenty of people who would be more than grateful for just one child.
Speaking of the number one. I knew that if I ever decided to have children, I wanted just one. For some reason, I always thought that I would be the one that decided to have a child late in life and suffer through infertility issues. (I may not be “late” in life but perhaps we speak things into existence?) Anyways, my partner would like two when I clearly can’t even have one. Yup…that fact has done wonders for my anxiety.
Lastly, the “don’t worry about it” from women who have successfully conceived and birthed children without funky complications, really drives me insane. Like who asked you and who gave you a license to be so damned insensitive? Even if I were to become pregnant in the future, it will never be the same as the pregnancy that you experienced. The fear of stillbirth/miscarriage is no longer imagined, it is very much based in reality. A reality that you could never understand. But then I am reminded that…
My Life Isn’t So Bad After All
Just a running list of good things I’ve observed this week,
- I have had incredible cuddle and play time with my puppy. She’s almost one now. I cannot believe it. Her excitable personality is infectious and I love coming home to someone who acts like I’ve been away for months. Yes, the love is real.
- One night, I stayed up thinking about my impending job search and the stress of graduate school. As the hours passed, I figured I should try to wait up until my partner returned from work (he works second shift). He thought I was asleep under my blanket and kissed my forehead and to his surprise I was still awake. Apparently he does this every night when he comes home from work. Again, the love is real.
- Almost every morning I talk to my sister on the phone during our morning commute. Those fifteen to twenty minutes conversations are essential to starting my day. We may live 7 hours away but maintaining our sistership is important to both of us even during the most trying times. Can you guess what I’m going to say? Yup, the love is real.
- Lastly, my adopted grandmother called me on Monday because I’m pretty sure she knew what week it was and even though we didn’t have a full conversation, we shared a few laughs. Yesterday she even texted to tell me that she was just thinking about me and that she loved me. Those few moments of laughter and hurried texting reminded me that…yup the love is real.
I may not have thousands of friends, but I have a million and one reasons to smile, and for that I am grateful. So to answer the question if all of that back-breaking labor was worth it:
Marième, it was. And for you, I will always be grateful.