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.