Day before Easter

This was the hardest holiday for me, back when I was losing pregnancies and my vision of the future was crumbling. It’s a fertility holiday, after all—so many eggs! Beautifully painted eggs. And children in sweet outfits. The slightly damp spring wind rustling cherry blossoms. Round pregnant bellies or little sweet babes in carriers. It was my favorite holiday, as a child—I loved the season, the outdoors, the hunting for eggs, the funny things my dad would do to reveal the sneakily hidden ones. I remember crying one Easter because he had to work a construction job, and who was going to casually pull back the couch cushion to reveal the bright pink Paas-dyed egg hiding in a crevice of our dog-gnawed couch?

Tomorrow, we will hide plastic eggs filled with candies in the yard, and we will hide an Easter basket filled with bubbles, trucks, and trains in our bedroom, and our son will be so happy. I’m so excited to see his little face—that delight of his that fills my belly with sunshine. 

I would love to report that this is all I need, that I am healed completely from the years of loss, but that wouldn’t be true. I know many who have been down this road still struggle with some vestigial gunk. I want to help lift the stigma of talking about that gunk. A friend today was saying, “Aren’t you so, so happy to have a kid now, after all you went through? Doesn’t it make you even happier? I know someone who struggled to have a baby for seven years, and now she has one, and she is so, so, so happy.” 

And I wanted to say, Yes, I am! Because I am. I’ve expressed all that here. But I mentioned the up-a-notch anxiety I sometimes have (choking, cars, losing S in a crowd) and some of the other repercussions of RPL, and how I have some concerns that the anxiety could negatively affect my parenting in ways I’m not aware of. But no one really wanted to hear that part of the experience. Happy endings, the simple kind, are so much more fun to talk about. 

There is a strange feeling I get at holidays—I’ve described it before—that is in part due to having had really traumatic childless holidays for years. It’s not full-blown PTSD symptoms, but more like a memory of PTSD that comes with uneasiness. It’s this feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

When will I be free of that feeling? I don’t know. Maybe never, completely. Can I be okay with that? Can I just hold that feeling and let it be, accept it as part of me? I’ve already accepted that I am going to have more nightmares of losing S in a crowd than your average parent. I’m okay with that. Small price to pay. And I am able to be present for S even while I’m feeling some of this weird ghost stuff. So I think the next step is just saying: Okay. This is part of the deal. Okay.

In any case, wherever you are on this IF road, I’ll be thinking of you. I always do, on holidays. 

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4 Comments

  1. Happy Easter! I was surprised you said Easter is your favorite holiday–shows how self-centered I am that it never ocurred to me that anyone would prefer Easter over Christmas and Halloween!
    I get what you’re saying. Christmas was my most melancholy holiday during the IF and RPL years.
    Sounds like S will have a splendid Easter! I made a little basket with some toys for BG and stuffed some Annie’s organic fruit snack packs in a few plastic eggs for her to find. We’re not doing a traditional Easter though, just the 3 of us (plus pets) and we’re going to grill burgers at home. Hope you have a magical day tomorrow! XOXO

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  2. Yes, just the three of us, too! Sounds similar to our day—except there will be his first taste of M & Ms inside eggs! I’m sure he’ll quickly become obsessed. (I let him taste my coffee once and now he says “I would like some coffee please” every morning. Oh dear.)

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  3. Happy Easter to you! That sounds just perfect, your basket and plastic eggs. I so appreciate that you write about the not-so-happy parts of the happy ending, because people do assume that everything goes away when you are successful and it’s not really fair. It’s not fair to you, who experiences heightened anxiety (and I worry that if I get the chance to parent there will be so much baggage wrapped up in things that I will screw up royally) because of all you lost before S. It’s also not fair because it gives people ammo to assume that I should keep pushing towards parenthood because then I will be “healed” — that the standard narrative is that you get the baby and then you are all healed up, and that’s crap. I agree totally with the PTSD thing, I was just talking to a friend who does not want to try for a second child because of all the pain and loss wrapped up in having her daughter. It’s real. I hope it gets less present over time, or maybe less raw? But I so appreciate you writing about it. Thinking of you.

    Reply
    • Hi Jess, I really miss you! I’m sorry I don’t take the extra effort to hop out of WordPress to your blog more often than I do. Was wondering if you would like to connect one-on-one, like via email, phone–/I think about you often! You so get what I’m talking about (of course—you always do). I am glad it is helpful to hear about…and not annoying. One thing that happens, too, is I find myself seeking out reasons for unease and it is easy to say: Oh, it must be the PTSD from six losses, etc. So it can become an easy “answer” and have to be careful about that, too. Anxiety is such a habitual thing…right now am reading lots of Byron Katie to help us get through another home-move transition and process any feelings of isolation I have right now about being in a new city. She’s so great!

      Reply

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