A good friend of mine just lost her first pregnancy. When I told my husband and in-laws (who know her) a deep horrified sadness filled their eyes. My father-in-law said, ‘You’re well prepared to comfort her,’ and my mother-in-law cried. Nothing prepares you for the sadness and desperation of losing an unborn child. Nothing compares to that pain. As Christians and Americans we are taught to remake our pain, to make it okay, to say that this tragedy happened so that this good could happen. Losing a child, however, cannot be made okay. Not only do you lose the child, if it’s your first, you lose the promise of becoming a parent and you enter into the fear that there is something wrong with you, something wrong with your intrinsic human ability to bring life into the world.
Emma’s due date was the exact day that we lost that first pregnancy. Emma came two days before that day, but it felt like a promise. With that first baby I was in doubt of that pregnancy the whole time, with Emma I had no doubt that she would come into this world healthy and beautiful. Not that Emma replaced that first baby, not at all. You can’t replace one human with another. But her conception and entry into this world was redemptive, I remember sitting in church with her on my lap and resting my chin on her head and asking myself, ‘how can I still be angry when this one is so perfect?’
During my pregnancy with Emma I never prayed that she would receive specific characteristics from Scott or me, I certainly wanted her to inherit some aspects of us that I loved. Scott’s big eyes, and his easily tanned skin, my dark eyes and blonde curly hair. I won’t ask for it though because you get what you get and you love that baby. She seems to have inherited everything that I wanted for her, she seems to be exactly what I wanted. If I had carried that baby to term I wouldn’t have Emma. I would have that baby. I would love that child, but I am so thoroughly overjoyed at what I was given in this baby that is crawling on my floor right now.
Then I get crazy on myself and wonder if the desires I had for this feature and that feature caused that baby to be aborted, if that baby wasn’t what I wanted so it failed. Crazy, but I thought it, and then let the little dwarves that live in my head run angrily over that thought and stamp it out. There is no way that thoughts can cause miscarriages. Atleast that's what I tell myself.
Almost two years later from losing that one I think these thoughts. My friend’s pain brings mine back up, those horrible few dark days, the months after. Wondering if I would ever stop thinking about it. Talking to other mothers who had lost children ten years prior, who would fall into tears when they heard my story and then told their own. This grief is one that cannot be explained or shrugged off or one that can be ignored. You must just walk until it doesn’t hurt all the time. And i don't hurt all the time, but when I think about those days I remember the hurt and confusion, and it's not all okay or gone, but I have a child and I lvoe her and she's perfect.
I think I'll go kiss her now.