somehow, in the early grey morning hours, i feel more untethered to responsibility and rationality. i suppose this is true for most humans; this is why we have rituals like Lauds or Fajr. it's different from those nights when i can't sleep, eyes searching the ceiling in the grainy darkness, my beloved husband breathing evenly into my shoulder, me wanting my brain to just shut up already. no, in the mornings, that is the difference; it is quiet and all that is there is a morass of emotion. gratefulness struggles against sorrow for purchase; contentment and fear jockey for position. i'm learning to let it all sort of wash around and over and through me; i have no one to question my tears and/or laughter when i'm alone so why hide them? as much as i love U2, Bono is still a man, and when he sings "always pain before the child is born...why the dark before the dawn?" i think he misses it. the pain is part of the birth and cannot be separated. the dark is integral to the dawn.
soon it will be a year since i last carried life within me; too long for the doctors to be happy about it and long enough for me to wonder when one just walks away from a dream. how do you know when it's time? when do you know the door is shut? what is the dividing line between "being steadfast in hope" and being delusional with false expectations?
i don't know the answer to that. my last round of tests led my OB/GYN to declare somewhat hilariously that "it is a fine uterus so far." that's lovely, but it's not my uterus that feels beaten down and exhausted from the constant mental wrangling that goes on, when not a day goes by that i don't either think of my lost children or my deferred hopes, or worst, the empty arms of my husband. it's not just my dreams that feel shaky.
when i was first trying to get pregnant, and it wasn't happening, i was horrified by the prospect of becoming That Woman, the one who gets all obsessed with her cycle and cries every period and starts hating sex since it's not making babies and resenting other people's children. after losing both Isabela and Tim, i was horrified by the prospect of becoming That Other Woman, the one who falls into deep depression after miscarriage and becomes a shell of herself, emotionally abandoning her husband and friends for her memory-zombie babies. neither has happened, but the evil ghosts of both of them float at the edges of my consciousness, reminding me how bad it can get. just the fact that i got to spend a lot of time in radiology having strange machines and people prod around my ladyparts was practically a seance, inviting them to both come jeer at me for being unable to just normally have a baby, for heaven's sake. thank God, no really, thank you God for good friends and a supportive husband who never let those bitches get too close.
recently, i met a woman who has a two-year-old and is pregnant with her fourth...she lost two children between her son and the little girl she's carrying now. she was compassionate, and talked to me about how when you do have a healthy pregnancy, it is possible to let go of the anxiety and see your pregnancies as separate events, and be able to find joy in those 40 weeks again. she told me she wished that she had known earlier that infertility and pregnancy loss are every bit as much of the process of building a family as getting pregnant and having babies is. i couldn't stop thinking about that: accepting this as part of the journey towards family -- not as delays or derailings of that journey -- is a much truer, more realistic viewpoint, especially with miscarriage being as devastatingly common as it is.
anyone who has suffered tragedy, pain, and loss will tell you that they find it astonishing that life just kept moving on after such catastrophe. it does though, and if you try to get over grief or through it or past it, you will be stuck. those same people will tell you that grief has no expiration date. so for now, i am just accepting that i have already come a long, long way on my journey, and that the Grief Kitty will come with me and that is alright. (have i written about my Grief Kitty? no? then i'll have to do that sometime) on this road to family, i might see others speed past me in luxury vehicles, but i might also pass others who don't even have shoes. when i watch the dawning grey turn to clear light, i will take my sustenance from all that i do have, and shall not dwell on what i do not.