Over-vigilant

“Eventually you will stop noticing every pregnant woman, every baby, every child around you, but for now you will see them all.  It won’t always be like this, but for a while, it will be very difficult.”

The social worker told me this at the hospital and it comes back to me just about every day.  Every day, I see a pregnant woman, a baby, a small child.  I hear babies crying and laughing, I hear people talking about expecting friends and relatives with new babies and so on and so forth.  The only carts of books left for me to shelve at the library are filled with children’s books.  (I have to admit, I am starting to take that personally.  Can’t anyone else shelve the darn children’s books?!)

It’s like I’m keeping score, I notice them all so vividly.  J: 0, World: 1 billion.  Whatever it is I’m scoring.

I got through the weekend pretty darn well.  I was delighted to find my pregnant supervisor (who I have no interest in seeing or talking to any time soon) is on vacation the next two weeks.  I think that alone raised my spirits.  No babies came in to the library on Saturday during my shift.  I was relieved.  Then I got to spend the rest of the day with my husband for the first time in almost a week (he and I work opposite schedules currently and no longer see each other awake) and realised just how much stronger he makes me feel all the time.  

We went to vespers Saturday night and I saw one of the women there is now visibly pregnant.  I should note that women are always pregnant at our church–I just knew that all of the previously pregnant women that I knew about had had their babies by now and I was wondering who would be next and hoping it might be a while for once.  Well, I found one.  Seeing her pregnant was a bit of a surprise to me, and caused a bit of a clench at my heart, but that’s it.  It helps that I know she lost a baby a couple of years ago–a very late miscarriage.  She knows baby loss aches–differently than I do, but miscarriage is baby loss all the same.  At church, it seemed like every cry, babble, and whimper from every child echoed in my ears, but for the first time, I didn’t cry hearing the baby sounds I ache for my little one to make.  The same was true Sunday–plenty of baby noises that made my broken heart rattle, but I was able to keep the tears at bay.

I still count the babies, the pregnant women, the young children’s sounds.  I don’t feel as strongly towards them as I did even a week ago though.  This will probably go in waves, but I am so thankful to have a bit of a rest from the anguish that I thought would absolutely suffocate me last week.

I do wonder, though, when it will end, and what it will mean.  Will I ever stop seeing the babies and wondering what mine would be doing now?  What he would look like?  Will I ever stop being jealous of every carefree, excited pregnant woman I see, chattering on about her baby-on-the-way?  If I can’t stop noticing them, does that mean I will never be ready for another baby again?

I know I will always miss our first-born.  I know I will always count him among my children.  I know that having another baby will not replace Seraphim, and will not cure my aches for the first one.  I do hope that someday we can have another one though.  I know that every pregnancy from here will be worrisome.  I doubt I’ll ever trust that my baby will make it until I see that he does.  But I guess it’s healthy to recognise the frailty of life and to enjoy each blessed moment and day and year we get with those we love.

I just hope that someday soon my thankfulness for the moments I spent with my first-born son will outweigh the aches I feel from the children around me who are alive and well and not mine.  The good news is I think I’m getting stronger, little by little, so it finally feels attainable sometimes.

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