Sometimes when I see a crushingly pregnant person on the train, or at work, or in a store, I will want to bend over backwards to accommodate them. I'll feel this kinship, this closeness, and I'll want to honor the process this expecting stranger is going though. I think I have developed a survival mechanism of reminding myself with each and every pregnant person I see, that I have no idea what kind of difficult journey this woman may have gone through to get to this point. I have no idea how much heartbreak she has endured to achieve that waddle. I try to bestow as much generosity of spirit upon her as possible no matter what her pregnancy journey because that is how I would hope to be treated if this thing ever ends up working out for me.
Then there's the other part of the time when generosity of spirit is harder to come by. For all of you reading this who have gone through it (or anyone who has been around someone who has something you desperately want but can't have) you will recognize all too well that cocktail of despair and envy and bewilderment that sneaks up and knocks the wind out of you when you least expect it. It's never that you wish this other woman wasn't having her experience, it's just a struggle to make peace with the fact that it is easier for some than others (namely, you) and there is nothing you can do to change that fact.
Like any self-respecting person with a masters degree in creative arts therapy, I have been moonlighting in the restaurant industry (hashtag living the dream) while awaiting this theatre gig I have coming up (that part actually is kind of living the dream). One night a woman called my place of business and told me that she didn't have a reservation, but that she was "ten months pregnant" and dying to have her final pre-baby meal at the restaurant. I replied by telling her that I'm pretty sure she's exceeded the human gestational period to which she laughed and exclaimed "Oh my gosh I really have!!" and in one of my moments of munificence toward those of the knocked-up variety, I squeezed her in for a reservation.
Later that evening when she came in I saw she was not kidding. She honestly looked like she could barely stand and that she may very well have been swinging through for a quick bite on the way to the maternity ward. Despite there being no way this lady was at all comfortable, she was the definition of glowing. She looked happily exhausted. She leaned herself back awkwardly in her chair to accommodate her belly as her eyes twinkled across the table at her husband. I watched her laugh self-deprecatingly. I watched the two of them seem to savor every second of their potential last pre-baby date night. I was transfixed. They looked so excited and this sense of magical anticipation hung around them like this perfect gossamer shield from the rest of the world. They were the flawless vision of the image of pregnancy I had before this year--before pregnancy did not mean a promise anymore.
There was something about this couple that I needed to see. I needed to be reminded of a (perhaps naive) stereotype of pregnancy so I could move towards it again with the same excitement I used to have. I've heard it jokingly said that the only reason people have more than one baby is because they forget the pain of childbirth. It gets clouded by so much joy, so much busyness, and your memory is effectively erased by the intoxicating smell of your new infants tiny noggin. Maybe I needed to start to find ways to forget the pain of miscarriage by obscuring it with an idyllic image that my younger, less jaded self would have expected. Maybe the only way to really jump into this thing again is to allow myself to indulge in the belief that a happy, perfectly carefree pregnant lady is a real thing and, even more so, that I could still be that radiant creature. Believe me, when I get there (from this blog to Gods ear!) I will cherish every seat that is given up, every reservation that is slipped my way, and I will do all I can to be a beacon to everyone who hasn't had the easy road. I will do my best to be what that lady in the restaurant unknowingly was to me. I won't take a single second for granted. I will glow a glow that says to my heartbroken sisters of miscarriage : Don't shut your heart to happiness because you've been hurt badly before. Don't give up.