I always knew there was another baby. A baby who came before me but didn't. A baby boy that Mom had already named Ryan Drew.
From the time I was a young child, Mom told me about him. I could almost picture him. Curled up for eternity in the fetal position, a splash of light brown peach fuzz on his head and sleep-closed eyes. Always underwater. Always in the womb. Floating peacefully.
His story was a sad one, and I listened solemnly. As I grew older—9, 10, 11, 12—Mom spoke of the D&C, her depression, and the way no one talks about miscarriage. I pictured her crying over an empty crib that my older brother Jordan was too big to use. A crib just waiting for another baby.
Mom's doctor told her that she'd be very fertile after the "miss," as she called it. Sure enough, just a few months later, she discovered she was pregnant with me.
That was Mom's angle in telling me the story. "If we hadn’t lost him, we wouldn't have had you," she'd say with a loving smile. I grew up knowing I was her happy ending—and not just that, I was powerful enough to cure her sadness. It seemed only fitting that she would nickname me "Missy" or "Miss." I brought life back to that terrible word.
In my twenties, a friend went through her own miscarriage. “Hang on,” I interrupted her, bursting to share my good news, which I was certain would be a revelation. "My mom had a miscarriage before me... and then she had me!" I was met with a terse nod and the briefest of smiles. She was still in the sadness, staring down at the empty crib. She hadn't yet graduated to the happy part where she meets her "me." (Though she did—a little boy with golden hair—a few years later.)
So I guess I'm here to tell you it's okay if you can't see me yet. If you can't even allow yourself to fathom that I exist. I just want you to know I'm here, and that there is someone who will be your happy ending. It may be a baby that you conceive or have through IVF or adopt. Or your happy ending may be the unlimited love you find in your spouse, or the warmth you feel from your best friend or your mom. It might be a favorite niece or nephew, on whom you always go overboard on Christmas. Perhaps it’s a litter of huskies that you raise as your own, or an apartment filled with 32 plants that you water religiously. But I have no doubt it is there for you, just waiting to be discovered.