Monday, October 16, 2017

Birthday parties for those who are gone

When you have had multiple miscarriages, it seems like the whole year is filled with anniversaries of death and destroyed possibilities. The anniversary the end of last month was particularly hard: the first anniversary of my first baby's due date. I would have planned the world's most obnoxious Star Wars-themed birthday party. I would have tried to make BB-8 cupcakes that would have been an epic #pintrestfail; I would have fought with my sister about how my baby did not need a drum set but rather we wanted donations sent to UMCOR for hurricane relief instead; I would be annoying my spouse by obsessing over which characters we, including all the animals, would dress up as. The party would be at Susquehannock State Park in Pennsylvania where we got married so we could throw in a little 5th wedding anniversary celebration. I would have had a Death Star pinata, though I would feel guilty about cultural appropriation, and I would have spent entirely too much money on a giant Millennium Falcon to hang from the ceiling of the pavilion (and later our bedroom...I mean the baby's bedroom). Oh and if anyone had wanted to get me a present, that would have been fine because I also turned 30, and 30-year-olds appreciate presents more than 1-year-olds do.

But I did not plan a party. Last year on the date I would have liked to experience a day of birth, my baby was long gone, and my spouse and I were looking for rainbows in Niagara Falls. But the promise of a rainbow did not come true for us this year, just as it hasn't for many years now. Though we did become pregnant soon after that first due date, our second baby died too, and so we added more grieving days to our calendar.

Except that on the day I would have liked to be having a party, I was not devastated, consumed with bitterness and angry with God as I have spent so much of the last three years being. Instead, I was thankful. Thankful for so many people wrapping me in prayer and love. Thankful for so many--- from homeless shelters to Urgent Care to right after church today--- who share their stories with me, stories of loss but also of hope. I had rejected that hope before, looking at my track record of constant brick walls of diagnoses just when we thought we were close to having our baby and being realistic that not every still mother gets her rainbow baby. But at some point I realized I could be angry and bitter that I have experienced pain--- and who hasn't?--- or I could recognize that I still have so much in this life to be thankful for.

I think what I am most thankful for, though, are my babies. It might seem strange to be thankful for fetuses whose non-viability has caused me so much pain, but I am. The joy those babies brought us when I was pregnant, as we imagined what they could be! Even now as I navigate the alternate grief timeline imagining what they would be like now, I still feel joy. Because I love them.

Now tomorrow, of course, I may be texting my friends about how much I hate everything. I may lay in bed all day wondering what the point in getting up is. Those are also ways we grieve. But so is gratitude. So today, I will give thanks for love.

And I will look up recipes for BB-8 cupcakes.

No comments:

Post a Comment