I believe in a God that can bless and teach through tragedy; not a God that causes tragedy. For me, 2010 was not a year of tragedy. It was a year of blessings in disguise.
I am a much happier person today that I was one year ago. The scary thing is that one year ago, I didn’t realize I was unhappy. I had a great job, great house, great husband, and I was making a great decision to procreate. Unfortunately, I was hinging my happiness on my great job, great, house, and great husband and the anticipated greatness of having a baby.
When losing just one piece of a ‘perfect’ life can send you spiraling downward, it quickly becomes very clear that not everything is perfect. You see, I didn’t realize how unhappy I was until I had the miscarriage. This year, I discovered just exactly how dark my perfect life was.
When I look back on 2010 and ask myself, would I do it again knowing what I know now, the answer is “yes.” I’ve come to realize that the experience of losing a child is one of the best things that could have happened to me. My miscarriage saved my life. Bear with me as I explain.
The miscarriage revealed to me just how small my world and my perspective had become. I always thought I was a person of faith, a person that believes God is good and that there is a heaven. This year, I discovered how ignorant I’ve been.
My short glimpse at motherhood, and my long glimpse at loss brought me to a place where I can say I know one thing for sure: there is a difference between thinking you are person of faith and truly believing that faith can save your life.
I learned this year that you simply cannot be a happy person without having God in your life. You can think you are happy. You can think you have it all together. You can have the perfect house, the perfect job, and the perfect bank account. Hell, if you’re lucky, God will let you live in that state of ignorance. I lived there for 30 years.
And then I was blessed. God used my miscarriage to reveal to me just how much I was missing out on and through my loss, brought me to a better understanding of what it means to be happy.
You might be thinking, “Wait a second sister. I’ve read your journal and there are quite a few places you sound hurt, and angry and bitter.”
Yep. Guilty. However, for each journal entry, and each minute, hour, day, week, and month of hurt, I’ve been blessed a thousand times over. I just had to open my eyes and look for it.
On many occasions, it came from you: words of complete strangers who read and follow my posts; women who send notes of encouragement and support as if they are my sisters.
In other instances, it came out of experiences that that only could have happened because I wasn’t pregnant: a trip to Colombia to help victims of abuse and prostitution; a white water rafting trip where I met a friend I can’t imagine ever not knowing; a new job that allows me to use the skills I’ve been developing over the past decade…
My husband and I are stronger as individuals and as a couple because of our shared experience. There is something about losing a life that you created together that strengthens the bond of marriage.
Those are just a few examples. I could write a book telling you about the relationships I’ve developed, the personal growth that has allowed me to take a deep breath and put my trust in God, and the happiness that comes from knowing that by this time next year, I’ll have even more light in my life…baby or not.
“Pain, you just have to ride it out, hope it goes away on its own, hope the wound that caused it heals. There are no solutions, no easy answers, you just breathe deep and wait for it to subside. Most of the time pain can be managed but sometimes the pain gets you where you least expect it. Hits way below the belt and doesn’t let up. Pain, you just have to fight through, because the truth is you can’t outrun it and life always makes more. Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy
This week should have been the week that changed my life forever.
The nursery doesn’t exist. There is no car seat in the back of our Altima. I don’t have closet full of tiny hangers or a dresser full of diapers. There is no bassinet, no baby monitor, no rocking chair.
There’s just me and my husband, and the ghost of our baby who was due on October 29. I’ve been waiting for this week not so I can forget, but so I can give closure to this pregnancy. It’s time and I am ready.
I feel strongly that the baby was a boy so I named my son. I wrote his name on his ultrasound picture and placed it inside his baby blanket (lovingly stitched by a good friend), along with a pair of booties, and his pregnancy date wheel. On his due date, I will write him a letter and sign it “Love, Mom.”
It’s not much but it’s my memorial to his time in my life. His tiny beating heart forever changed who I am and I’m grateful that for nine weeks, I was his. He will always be mine. My first. My son. Abraham.
My husband and I went out for dinner the other night. We sat at a table for two overlooking the kitchen at one of our favorite restaurants. I sipped on a Cosmo and looked around, spying on the other diners. A few tables over, there was a young couple with a baby. The woman was giving the kid a bottle as her food sat off to the side. I swirled my martini around the glass, watching, wondering if she wished she was at a table for two sipping a cocktail and eating while the food was still hot. I asked my husband, “Is the grass really greener on the parenting side of fence?”
It occurred to me that as jealous as I am of couples with babies, maybe, just maybe there are a few out there who are a teensy bit jealous of us. Maybe that couple was looking at us thinking, “I remember when we used to go out to dinner and drink martinis and didn’t have to worry about where we were going to put the stroller, or if the baby would cry through the whole meal.”
Or maybe that mom who was standing next to me as I was buying my Size 0 pants the other day was thinking, “I remember when my butt used to fit into smaller clothes.”
Or maybe our friends who get up in the night to change diapers or feed a crying infant think about us sleeping in until 9:00 on the weekends and say, “I’d give anything to sleep past 4:00 in the morning.”
My girlfriend, a working mom of two, reminds me all the time that though the joys of parenting are great, there’s something to be said about being a youngish couple without children. I love it when she says things like “See what you have to look forward to,” as she tries to wrestle her toddler into a highchair.
The other day we were out at a coffee shop with her two and half year old. We were talking about ovulation predictor kits when she stopped mid-sentence, looked at her son and said, “Are you pooping?” We put our conversation on hold as she checked his diaper and carted him off to the bathroom. I stayed at the table, kept my eye on the plastic dinosaurs and the Buzz Lightyear doll, and started thinking, maybe life without children isn’t so bad.
I mean, we do have a pretty sweet life. I took a two hour nap a few days ago and when I got up, I poured myself a glass of wine. I sat on my couch and read Cooking Light and listened to the sound of silence. Not once did I think, “I really wish there was a baby crying for me to feed it this very second.” I also didn’t think, “It sure would be nice to change a diaper right now.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not changing my tune. I still want to start a family, and seeing pregnant women still makes my heart hurt. But I’ve decided, a baby isn’t going to make my life perfect and it’s probably not going to make me happy, especially in the short term. I don’t know how many people smile through a diaper blow out, a 2:00 AM feeding, or a colicky wail.
The whole subject of whether being a parent makes a person happy is hotly contested these days. A recent, controversial article in New York magazine cites numerous studies that show, statistically speaking, parents are less happy than non-parents. If I was a parent, this article would irritate the heck out of me. But as a non-parent, as a woman who has recently been through the trauma of a miscarriage, and as someone now on the verge of diagnosed anovulation, the article gives me strength to get out of bed, put on my size 0 pants, drink a Bourbon and gingerale at a table for two, and do it all with a smile on my face.