Last Thursday I was shocked to find out that the child I am currently carrying is a boy. Now, I’m not sure why exactly I was surprised. There was an approximately 50% chance of having a boy, but for some reason for husband and I both assumed we’d be having another girl. So since that day we’ve both been trying to adjust to the idea of having a little boy. I’m not upset or even disappointed, just stunned.
I don’t feel like I know much about boys. When I worked in daycare during high school and college I took care of little boys all the time, from toddler through preschool age, but it wasn’t the same as raising my own. My two little boy cousins lived with us for a while growing up and then next door for another few years. I mostly remember them being smelly, dirty and enjoying rude bodily noises. One of the reasons I felt more confident with having a second child was that everything wouldn’t be new. I would have a clue what I was doing this time and hopefully things would go more smoothly. Now I feel a bit as though I’m starting over again as new mom.
Perhaps the biggest struggle has been trying to pick a name. We have been arguing about boys’ names since I got pregnant but agreed to hold off making a decision in case we didn’t need to pick a boys name. I’ve read close to 5,000 boys names from all over the world and we’ve narrowed it down to a small lost, most of which neither of us is really happy with. I think it will help the adjustment a lot once this child has a name.
I suddenly realized last week that my due date was coming up. I’m referring to the baby I lost last March at 8 weeks gestation. I am currently 20 weeks pregnant with my third child. But when I was lying in bed I suddenly realized that this was the week my second baby would have been born. It was unsettling and profoundly sad for me. I had forgotten. I’ve been finding this to be one of the more troubling aspects of having a miscarriage. I don’t want to dwell on my loss every day but I feel guilty when I forget. For a while I got caught up in how busy life with my current pregnancy, my toddler, keeping our household together and all the other activities I’m involved in. I wouldn’t say that I forgot, but it got pushed so far into the back of my mind that I rarely thought about it anymore except to make brief reference to it in relevant conversation.
Now that I’ve realized this I find myself unsure of how to proceed. How do you commemorate something that didn’t happen? I don’t have a memorial or cemetery to visit. Part of me doesn’t want to mourn, because I believe my child is in a better place and that I will see him or her again. But I do still feel sad because I never had the chance to hold this child. I find myself wondering whether he knows how much I love him.
Apparently October 15 was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I didn’t know that until my husband told me last week. I spent most of last Monday crying and talking to a few friends who have been through this. My husband brought me a Willow Tree figurine on his lunch hour. It’s a toddler holding a balloon that says Hope. A good friend and I took our children to the park. It was a beautiful day and some how just being with someone else who remembered my baby helped. I still wonder if I want to do something more concrete, but at least I feel like I’m doing something, even if only allowing myself the time and space to grieve.