It all felt pretty amazing and special, as I’m sure it does for all mothers.
But if felt especially significant to me because of the circumstances. Unplanned, preventing as we always had. The space between my son and baby would be great. Nine years and five months, with a due date just days before my birthday. A gift.
I had planned on having only one child for many reasons, but never for a dislike of motherhood—quite the opposite actually. It had more to do with the importance I put on motherhood, because of the strength and bravery it takes to raise a child today. I wanted to do it well. To focus my efforts and raise a change maker. This place, this world, desperately needs change, but it doesn’t seem fit to promote goodness some days.
To be honest, I was pretty resistant. I had preached having an only-child to friends for a long time, and had taken to turning up my nose to the obligatory “when will you have more?” question. I resented the suggestion and expectation.
But when I really break it down, I feel that the walls I had built were intended to serve as a form of protection. A place to hide my fear. You see, love can overwhelm me. Can I save them the pains of the pure of heart?
What a vulnerable feeling it is being responsible for another human being and to serve as their protector until you are unable. An all consuming love grips you and strips you raw. As a result, the hesitation that was present at first quickly faded and morphed into pure elation, because it felt that under the circumstances it was truly meant to be.
I had been caught by complete surprise, so naturally as a yogi and self proclaimed “spiritual seeker,” I viewed my situation as an honour bestowed on me by the universe. I was ecstatic—what an unexpected blessing.
Feeling excited and invincible, I ignored all the rules about laying low with the news. That first trimester rule shouldn’t apply to me should it? After all I’m healthy, happy and apparently completely naïve.
And if, God forbid, something terrible happened and I lost the baby, I would need others around me to know what was going on. I would need them to understand my loss and offer support.
But that—the unspeakable—was never a real concern. Just background noise in my mind, and with the above justification I shared my elation with the world. I was thrilled. And it showed. I was glowing. I felt beautiful with this new angel attaching itself to me. I felt chosen.
I quickly went into life-planning mode and envisioned all the beautiful moments our family would be having. The attachment to this baby felt instant and innate.
I couldn’t help but tell my son about his soon-to-be sibling. I wanted him to be a part of everything.
Little did I know, telling him would become my largest regret. His look of confusion in the ultrasound room as the excitement turned into devastation will haunt me forever. In the car ride home, he wished it was all a nightmare he could wake up from. I couldn’t agree more. He hasn’t left my side much since, as our connection and his knowing are powerful.
My body started going through the motions before Christmas. I underestimated this process, waves I’m still riding and navigating. Waves of fever, nausea and a foreign amount of emotional pain struck me, right along with an inescapable feeling that I was to blame, that after closer inspection, I was deemed unfit by a higher power.
The statistics of how common this experience is surprised me. I quickly learned how different empathy is than sympathy as I started to recognize a familiar look in the eyes of my friends as they tip toed out of their closets. So many had suffered in silence. However, I simultaneously felt an unintentional underestimation of the depth of this experience from others who had never gone through something like this. I had to take pause and remember, who could fault them? I was one of them once, not long ago.
The busyness of Christmas didn’t allow much space to process, but I took it anyway and the time and love from my family and friends proved essential. I can’t help but know that the loss of our missing puzzle piece will be forever felt.
But at least now I’m armed with the lesson and understanding that nothing is promised, and to never take anything for granted. I know one thing for sure: as someone who values depth and meaning, I’ve been living rather frivolously in spite of these values. I used to have tolerance for the superficial aspects of my world. I now feel that it’s at an all time low, and I’m not sure what that looks like yet.
But there was definitely a shift that took place in this experience. And because I felt it relevant, I wanted to share—silence is not my strong suit. I hope that my own experience can serve as a light dealing with similar circumstances.
Author: Catherine Duong
Image: Flickr/Henadz Freshphoto.ru
Editor: Callie Rushton