Scents

People always say that it hurts at night
and apparently screaming into your pillow at 3am
is the romantic equivalent of being
heartbroken.
But sometimes
it’s 9am on a Tuesday morning
and you’re standing at the kitchen bench waiting for the toast to pop up
And the smell of dusty sunlight and earl gray tea makes you miss him so much
you don’t know what to do with your hands.
-On Missing Them, Rosie Scanlon

I have no scent-memories around my pregnancies that I would like to preserve.  Do I want to remember how smells made me nauseous for my entire pregnancy with Nelle and the first trimester with Iris?  Do I want to remember how I was so terrified when I was pregnant with Iris that I went back in my own writing to determine exactly when morning sickness had shown up in my previous pregnancies, and then breathed a sigh of relief when it finally did appear?  Do I want to remember the musty smell of my maternity clothes in storage, and how I had to bring them out, pack them away, bring them out, and pack them away again?  Do I want to remember the smell of the hospital?  Or how after losing Nelle, driving by the hospital was so incredibly painful as it was a reminder of simultaneous birth-and-death?  Do I want to smell the essential oil I diffused in attempts to calm my anxious mind with my subsequent pregnancy?  Do I want to think about how I kept telling myself that the next time I visited the hospital, it would be to give birth to my baby girl, only to instead have to relive the entire experience a second time, like some nightmarish deja vu?

No.  I don’t want to remember any of the smells from my last two pregnancies.

My most predominant memory is an association with music.  After losing Nelle, the song that stuck with me was Ingrid Michaelson’s “Girls Chase Boys.”  Odd, I know.  But I would listen to the words over and over.

All the broken hearts in the world still beat.  
Let’s not make it harder than it has to be.

Finally, as my next pregnancy became a reality, I created a playlist for myself, which I entitled “Affirmation.”  I surrounded myself with positive music, trying to move past the paralyzing fear that I felt.  The worst moments are those in the car, when I was alone with my thoughts.  Music helped to calm me.

Then I lost Iris.  I still need music to keep me from floating away when I am in my car.  I had to create a new playlist called “Loss” of songs that reflected my heavy heart.  Nothing too upbeat.  Nothing too depressing or I would spend every minute in the car crying, and that already happens with enough frequency.  “As Tears Go By” by The Rolling Stones.  “Back to Before” from ‘Ragtime.’  “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd.  “Just Give Me a Reason” by Pink, to name a few.  And of course, “Girls Chase Boys.”

I got two hands, one beating heart
And I’ll be alright, gonna be alright
-Ingrid Michaelson

That has to be my mantra:  I’m gonna be alright.  Not today.  But eventually.