For whatever reason, one of these procreation-themed emails caught my eye yesterday. It's a group called "August 2014 Babies" that I somehow got signed up for by entering my due date into a mommy-to-be website at one time. As I opened the email, topics like "Sleeping with a Hat?", "Diaper Genie", "Who's exhausted?", and "Cereal & Breastfeeding" jumped off my screen. I had a brief, but profound out-of-body experience where I gazed down from above at Parallel Universe Me. In a parallel universe, my thoughts of memorizing lines, or coordinating drama therapy groups, or planning a celebration for my upcoming milestone birthday (my...ahem...21st of course) might have been replaced by thoughts of whether or not my 4.5 month old was sleeping in a hat or how the heck I was going to raise this tiny human to be a confident, passionate, loving member of society.
For those of us initiated into the motherhood club who were unable to emerge with a baby (or, really, anyone who had something dearly hoped for snatched away), there are always going to be a thousand moments like this. There will always be a child you know who is the same age as your baby would have been. There will always be a friend having a smooth pregnancy while yours was nothing but bumpy. There will always be a date that is secretly burned into your internal calendar when your child was meant to arrive. There will always be the persistent specter of "What Could Have Been". These reminders persist well beyond the acute trauma. It wasn't until I started to find peace and humor with this fact, that I truly felt a burden begin to lift.
In this moment, I have no idea my position on diaper disposal or appropriate infant hat wearing practices and I find myself being increasingly okay with that. I find myself more focused on the work that I'm lucky enough to be doing right now and the beautiful safety net of friends and family support that grounds me. Life does have a way of reminding us of what could have been and it's natural to focus on that for a while, but if you look closely, those what ifs also help highlight what IS and I think embracing that instead seems to be a ticket forward.