Literally moments after posting that picture post, my good friends texted a photo of their new baby boy, born today. The baby they started trying for 4-5 months after us, who is already here. The baby who is two years younger than their first child. The baby whose presence in their lives has caused me to totally pull away and not see them for over 9 months. The baby who was a constant reminder (and only one of many) of how abnormal we were as we tried and failed to conceive a second child.
And while I was thrilled (and relieved, always relieved) that he has arrived safely, I felt such a profound sadness that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. What exactly made me sad? Was it a reminder of how our plans were thwarted? A reminder of how hard the last 18 months have been? A reminder of how devastated our diagnoses were? A reminder of the utter hopelessness we felt? A reminder of how easy some have it? A reminder of how far we still have to go?
Would I feel better if I KNEW this baby would be okay, that he would join our family healthily and happily like theirs did?
Or would that not even matter? Is this a sadness about something that already happened? Is it untied to the possible futures but tethered firmly to the past?
I have spent so much time feeling so intensely grateful for this pregnancy, which I still have a hard time believing is real, that I haven’t spent much time at all resolving the difficulties of the past year. I didn’t even realize their were any residual issues to resolve. After our diagnoses I threw myself into our diet and acupuncture, researching foster adoption on the side. And then, before I had much time to feel anything else, we were pregnant. And I was so thankful, so grateful, and I’ve been riding that wave of elation for two months now. I didn’t realize there were murky waters underneath.
Today was an important reminder that the scars have not entirely healed, that I can feel real sadness for what we went through (despite it being so much less than so many others) while also feeling great joy for what we’re going through now. That just because we’ve moved on from that place of struggle, doesn’t mean my heart has moved on with us. The scars remain. The fear and trepidation, the anger and resentment, they have left lasting marks on my heart. And their presence doesn’t negate the happiness I feel now. At the worst it complicates it but at the best, it enriches is, gives it a depth and complexity that I doubt those who have an easier time of it feel. Perhaps it even strengthens the joy I feel now. And perhaps it doesn’t. Either way, it’s there and I have to deal with it and acknowledging it doesn’t mean I’m taking for granted what I have. I could never do that. But what we have now doesn’t erase what we went through before. And it’s important I honor that.