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Right after Eliana died I was understandably desperate for a baby in my arms. I thought, and cried, and agonized over trying again right away. Some to whom I looked for advice said it would be a huge mistake, that I needed time to heal first. Others, mainly moms who did have another child soon after losing one, said it could be incredibly healing to have another baby as a comfort for the loss. I put it off, and procrastinated, and deliberated so long that I made a decision by default.
I also realized that I would not be able to handle the knowledge that a new baby would only be there because Eliana was not. My hat is off to all the women who handle it beautifully. I just knew that I wouldn’t. In the end, I decided to wait until at least the same amount of time had passed as there was between the other kids. That meant that according to my timeline, I was free to try around August.
Now, five months later, I am still paralyzed in fear over the very idea of it. I want a baby, of course. What I don’t want is the nine months of terror over the possibility of losing it. Knowing that one minute, day, or month of time could mean the difference between a healthy child and one that will die and destroy me with grief leaves me frozen, unable to move forward, and trapped by indecision. What if we pick the wrong moment? So again, I keep putting it off, and sit here wondering how long I can keep this up.
I’m not ancient, but I’m not getting any younger either. I know the chances of birth defects go up the longer I wait, and the chances of conceiving go down. It’s going on two years now since she came and went. Is it possible that another two years could come and go just as quickly and just as babyless because I’m too scared to take the chance?
I don’t know how to do this. I didn’t know how to make it through my grief. I don’t know how to make it through my fear. I don’t know how to make it through a pregnancy without going crazy. And I hate, hate, hate that the only way is to just do it. Here’s me having a conversation with Nike: Them-“Just do it.” Me-“I can’t. I haven’t planned it out yet, and I can’t predict the outcome. I’d rather not do it, thanks.”
I of all people realize that grief and healing are a lifelong journey, not a destination or a goal. I’m not going to wake up one morning and be “okay” or “ready.” But it sure would be nice to feel a little bit more ready than I do right now. How long would I have to wait though? I’ve already been waiting a long time. Would that feeling of readiness ever actually materialize?
I am scared. I’m just so very scared because I know what it’s like to lose my child. Part of me says to just trust God.
But that’s what I did the last time.
I saw the handle of a carseat on the way home today. If you are like most people, I don’t suppose that would bother you too much. I doubt it would even register in your head that you had glimpsed it – a non-event. Most people would keep on driving without giving it a second thought.
But I guess I’m not “most people” anymore. My baby girl died six weeks ago. Well, 5 weeks, 6 days, 1 hour, and 29 minutes to be exact (not that I’m keeping track or anything). My soul has been branded by death, and the ugly scar that remains is both permanent and crippling. All that nonsense about time healing, and getting back to normal was obviously made up by someone who has never been seared by this particular pain. It will never go away, and I will never be whole again. There is a piece missing from my heart, and from my life. No amount of time or therapy will change that.
For me that carseat handle represents everything that has been snatched out of my hands and out of my life. My baby will never get to ride in her carseat again. I will never get to latch those hated buckles over her little chest again. She will never fall asleep on a long trip again. We will never get to whine about lugging her around in it again. And we will never, ever get to see her grow out of her infant carseat.
Below all the carseat handles in all those other cars are living, breathing babies. And driving them around are the lucky parents who have probably never heard the sizzle of the brand coming at them. Thank God for that. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. But please take a moment as you’re wrestling with your own baby’s carseat to remember the empty one that is now sitting in my garage, and how grateful you should be that yours is not.