Chris never let me think of the "should haves" after Ruthie died. He said it was too mean. I remember seeing a mama and her baby walking a stroller down the street and saying, "that should've been me" as tears swelled up my eyes and down my cheeks. He wouldn't allow it. At first I thought he was callous, how could he not think of what was supposed to be? But then I felt the emotions of that thinking, the hard, sad, gut wrenchingly painful emotions of the should'ves and I started to let it go, too. Sometimes they are undeniable, there is no way to talk yourself out for them. Other times, turning off the imaginary life with our daughter that never came to fruition was easier on my heart, easier on my soul. I wasn't denying her, I wasn't denying the loss, the emptiness, the process of grief but I was allowing myself a break. Giving myself time to feel those emotions when it was safe, not at the drop of the hat or at the sight of the mama walking her baby in the stroller.
Now, as I carry this sweet boy as loving and wholeheartedly as I did his sister, it is hard to turn off the should'ves because now they are in the hopes of the future for him, the same hope for the future we had for Ruthie. The "should'ves" have turned into the "when's"...when the baby is born, when the baby comes, when he is here, etc. It is so hard to imagine the when's because acknowledging that hope once again acknowledges the loss that we live with now. It is déjà vu for a year ago as we planned for WHEN Ruthie would be coming home. We prepared her room for when she was to sleep in it. We built her stroller for when I would walk her in it. We put her car seat in the car as I was laboring for when we left the hospital with her. And none of those things happened. And when we came home, our house and our hearts were empty. We were lost. We had no baby. We had lost her.
I don't want to deny my heart hope, hope that this little guy brings but in having hope again, it feels so close to the pain still. Hope hurts because losing her hurts. I don't want to lose him, too. When we are congratulated on his pregnancy it is so hard sometimes because I am scared. If I am able to stay present I am able to accept someone's joy for me, my joy for myself but I wait so anxiously for the moment that they place this little boy on my chest and they tell me he is healthy, he is staying. Until that moment, the when's for him feel so close the to the when's we had for Ruthie and also the should'ves that we feel for her now.
I am mama of three beautiful babes; two sons whom I have the privilege of raising and my daughter who lived for 33 sacred days.