The problem with Orthodox women is that it seems like they are perpetually pregnant.
I never thought this was a problem before. I used to think it was great that everyone was having babies and creating new life, new people to share our beautiful world with.
Now every time someone is pregnant or has a baby, I feel like I am pushed further out of the circle. “Where’s your baby? Why aren’t you one of us?” their eyes seem to ask.
No one else has heartbreaks. We were the first family with an infant loss in decades, as far as anyone could remember. And those women went on to fulfill their quotas.
It is strange and shocking how deeply I grieve my own babies whenever I am in proximity to a pregnant woman or newborn babies. Especially when I know the people.
I was at a bridal shower today, and it was painful. More pregnant women (for one, it is her eighth), more babies (the fourth for one, the ninth for another–her eldest daughter was married last summer and her eldest son is the groom-to-be), and the mandatory jokes about how long before the peace will be shattered in the newlyweds’ home before the children arrive. All I could think of about those jokes was how this “peace” they were talking about was a lot more likely to reign with living children than dead ones. The death of a child is a hard, hard thing on a marriage. As much as we have grown closer and clung to one another, “peace” is not a word I would use to describe what the death of our firstborn brought to our home. We would have a much more peace-filled home if he were in it.
A couple of years ago, I was in her shoes. I had the bridal shower with all of the pregnant women in attendance, all of the jokes about the babies we were going to have (and how our first would be about nine months after the wedding, which my well-meaning bridesmaid was just about right on). I wish I had that carefree feeling still, that hope. I see this bride-to-be sitting there amid the jokes and love and know she will probably not have to experience any of this. Maybe I will be the only one. But it still always makes me fear for the newlyweds, that they will face some sort of devastation as we did.
But, like just about everyone else, they will probably have a healthy baby by this time next year.