How incredibly slowly and quickly a year goes.
I can hardly believe (oddly, I’m not sure if it feels less or more) that it’s been a year since meeting the little boy I’d never get the chance to know. A year since holding his little body and wishing so much that he would just wake up, that we would all just wake up, and realize it was just very, very literally, only a nightmare.
And yet, it was one of those few moments in life where you truly have no agency — nothing you can buy to replace something that’s broken, no endless spiral notebook where you can just rip out the page and have a perfectly clean one waiting, no instant gratification delivery you could summon from an app to fill the void, no pill to pop or acupuncture point to stimulate in an effort heal the immovable reality of your mind, body, and soul. That’s because it was June 26, 2019 and it was the day I birthed my first baby at 20 weeks, little Grove’s birthday, and the same day he left us for his home — just not the one we planned, but rather one he fashioned himself in our hearts.
Here we are, a full year later and counting down the days until we meet his little brother who would not be here without him. I’m overcome with joy, with excitement, with an almost painful amount of love. But I’m also overcome with tears, with an incredible heaviness on and in my chest, and with a hole that just doesn’t seem to fade.
One of my biggest fears around getting pregnant after we lost Grove was that the sweet little babe who may decide to join us next would endure the feelings left in my body and in my heart, no matter how much individual love and elation I would shower on him or her. And I found that burden completely unfair to that little one — it’s the one extremely fleeting time in our life when we should feel completely pure, not an ounce of shame or sadness, celebrated in our utter perfection (of course we should always feel like that, not just as newborn babies, but let’s be honest — have you seen our world and what we do to ourselves and others?).
When I shared this with a dear friend and voluntary bereavement doula, she me a chance at grace when she suggested that if and when I became pregnant again, I could connect and talk with my baby to explain all of what I was feeling and why. She said I wouldn’t be unconsciously saddling him with loads he wasn’t meant to bear, but rather I’d be teaching him the very same lesson that I’ve been learning my whole life, albeit very poignantly these last 12 months — the wild ride that is this “human experience”: our capacity for multiple emotions hanging simultaneously in their creative balance. And that one doesn’t take away from the other — that they both just exist there, suspended, in their absolute fullest expressions.
This was an absolute game-changer for me and I’m sharing it in case anyone has struggled with similar grapples, as I know these seemingly competing emotions are hardly confined to the loss of a child, but instead play out in so, so many realms of our lives.
I’m thinking of you sweet Grove, today and absolutely every day. Thank you for choosing us.