When I look back at photographs from this year, I find myself mentally dividing them into categories of "I was pregnant in that picture" and "I wasn't pregnant anymore in that one". I search my face like it is the face of a stranger and try to remember exactly how it felt. Sometimes I can summon the exact note of nausea or the profound sleepiness or the full body riot of excitement and maternal energy and sometimes I grasp for it and there's nothing more than shadows. That struggle of holding on versus letting go is finally melting into acceptance of the eternal push-pull just in time for the ball to drop again this year. Last year I went to a big New Year's Eve party pregnant and blissfully happy despite my head splitting, my stomach turning, and ever so aware of my marked soberness in a sea of drunken merrymakers. This year, I pull into December 31st after a year that has torn me apart and put me back together. I feel more ready than I've ever been to have a quiet evening with my family, cook a nice dinner, pop a bottle of bubbles, and ring in something fresh and new.
Thousands of things could have marked this year for me--the year my sister-in-law got engaged, the year two dear friends got married, the year I came back to my hometown to be in a play, the year I first dipped my toes in the clear waters of the Caribbean, but for better or worse, I will always look back at 2014 as the year we lost a baby. It hasn't consumed me (well not all the way), but it has certainly burned itself into my heart in a way that will probably never stop stinging when touched. I may never get the blissful naiveté back that I had a year ago today, but I've gained something arguably more precious. I've gained a deeper understanding of myself through the lens of life and death. I've had to test my courage and strength. I've experienced what it means to have your tribe really be there fully and powerfully for you in a time of need (you all know who you are, you kept me going, thank you thank you). I've reached new levels of being able to play with the unplayble and laugh at the unthinkable (because you have to admit spending this large of a percentage of a year in stirrups is funny). I'm not the same woman who raised a glass of sparkling water to toast 2014, but I'm actually okay with the chewed up and spit out woman that will be lifting a glass of very real champagne tomorrow. It is a woman I never thought I could be. I used to think to myself when I heard about miscarriage, "If I ever lost a baby it would absolutely kill me", but, the thing is, it didn't kill me. In fact, I feel more alive than ever.
As for resolutions, I resolve to take the heart-wrenching tidal wave that washed through this year and make it count in the next. This experience is no longer in the drivers seat, but I resolve to take the emotions it stirred, the connections it awakened, and the lessons it taught and breathe them into all the work I do and all the interactions I have. I resolve to let this experience be more than the sum of its parts.
Happy New Year to you! I hope this year brings you all that you wish for...and if it doesn't, I hope it brings your family around you, your inner strength to the forefront, and your sense of humor to new heights. In two days we all get a clean slate.