In the months after Vivienne died, it would cause me a lot of pain to hear people talk about their pregnancies and children. It still does, but lately, I find a new phenomenon happening. When people talk about it, I start to wonder what it’s like. I don’t wonder what they are actually experiencing, it’s more that I wonder what it feels like to experience it as the majority does, and not as someone who has lost a child.
I wonder what it’s like to get a positive pregnancy test and be hopeful and make plans. I had that with Vivienne. I’ll never have it again. If I’m lucky enough to get a positive pregnancy test, I will wonder if it’s another miscarriage or ectopic, and I’ll be too scared to hope that maybe, just maybe, this is a baby we’ll get to keep.
I wonder what it’s like as you progress with a pregnancy to be out and about, wearing your cute maternity clothes, and doing things largely in the same manner as before getting pregnant. I only got a little past halfway there with Vivienne, and I have maternity clothes I’ve never worn. If I can get pregnant again, I will likely spend a portion of that time on bedrest, and you can be assured that I will spend the entire experience feeling like I’m made of glass.
I wonder what it’s like to go through pregnancy and plan for bringing a baby home, not thinking for one second that there is a chance you won’t get to do that. As I hope for the possibility of getting pregnant again, I actually think about things like not having a baby shower or decorating a room until the baby is actually here and healthy. We’d started those plans for Vivienne and never got to finish them. And now I wonder if I could ever do that before the baby arrived.
I was meeting with a vendor the other day at work. It was the first time I’d met her, and she didn’t know my story. As we talked about a project, she said she wasn’t around when that happened because she was still home with the baby. I have to admit, I was distracted after that. My mind immediately went to “I wonder what that’s like.” I wondered what it was like to go through a pregnancy, have a baby, take your maternity leave, return to work and be able to talk about your child without making people uncomfortable. What is that normal like? And I realized that I’ll never have that normal. I may go on to have another child, but I’ll never have that normal experience that it seems so many others get to have.
I’m trying to convince myself that having a normal pregnancy experience doesn’t matter – it’s bringing home a healthy living child that is most important. Of course I recognize that. And I know that a healthy living child makes it all worth it. But, I have to admit that I find myself mourning the experience that I’ll never get to have. I hope more than you’ll ever know that I’ll get to have another child, and that I’ll get to raise that child. But my path to getting to that point is nowhere near the normal experience, and it never will be. And that makes me sad.