In some alternate reality, I’m a mother of a one-year-old.
Grief is strange.
It never fully goes away, but comes in waves that just get spaced further apart over time.
On the heels of finding out I was pregnant for the third time, I felt closure on July 6th, 2014—the estimated due date (EDD) of our second baby, affectionately nicknamed “Baby Bean.” The date came and went, and I felt lighter once night had fallen and it was over. It was almost as if I’d still been mourning, even though little BB was taken from me seven months earlier, all this time. I tried to embrace the new pregnancy, while keeping the one before it close to my heart.
So last week, when I found myself aggravated, on edge, upset for no reason, it took me a while to get it. When I did, I was confused. Sure, grief had popped up over the last year for different reasons. Christmas was hard, as that was when we found out BB was gone. As my EDD with Joey approached, I found myself thinking back on those other two pregnancies and wondering, thinking, grieving.
But in the present day, I had Joey here. So why was I grieving my loss of BB so heavily?
A character on a TV reality show about teen pregnancy—that I’m sure most of the people I’ve met in the infertile and loss communities despise—talked about motherhood after placing her first child for adoption. Even though she loved her second child, and was confident in her choice of placing her first, she found herself grieving the loss of parenting that child. She would look down at her newborn daughter and be overwhelmed with the thoughts of “this is what I was missing.” Watching her describe her emotions really resonated with me, because—though I believe placing a child for adoption and losing a baby through miscarriage are very different things—I think I understood. In a way, I felt the same.
I always had a hunch that BB was a boy. Of course, I had a hunch that Joey was a girl, and was wrong there, so it makes me wonder if BB was a girl. Raising Joey, watching him grow, was making me realize—truly realize—what I lost when BB died. It made me wonder what would’ve been different. It made me wonder, what kind of life would I be living? Would I have a daughter? Would she have been as big as Joey, or smaller? Would I have delivered her myself, or would she also have been a c-section?
In some alternate reality, Joey doesn’t exist.
Last Wednesday, I held him while he slept and cried quietly as I looked down at him. I grieve for my lost pregnancies, but out of this latest wave of grief I have found a new peace.
This life I have…is the life I will always have.
What happened to me was terrible, and though I wouldn’t wish that kind of pain on anyone, I’m not sure I would’ve had it any other way. If I hadn’t lost BB, Joey wouldn’t be here now. Looking down at him, I can’t imagine life being different. I can’t see myself fitting in that alternate reality where those miscarriages never happened. I think the phrase “everything happens for a reason” is a bullshit cop-out that people tell you to make you feel better, but that’s not what I’m saying now.
I’m saying I accept the course of events as they’ve happened to me. I accept that this is the path I had to walk to motherhood.
It’s been hard, it’s been painful, it’s been downright cruel, but it’s my reality.
Joey is my reality. ❤