My Face Carries Memories

My face carries all my memories.  Why would I erase them?”  Diane Von Furstenberg

We went to church today and the service included a baby Naming and Dedication Ceremony, the first I’ve seen in the Unitarian church.  The family was seated in front, with their 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and baby to be dedicated.  Three kids.  In the church’s tradition, a family member went up and did a reading of the family’s choosing.  The reading was a piece “Written to My Three Kids.”

I lost it.  Listening to the accurate descriptions of the nervous parent of one child, the ease with which the second child enters… and then coming to the third, the “final.”  I still do not know if my “final” will be two or three.  The church smartly keeps tissues in the pews, but I went through the four remaining in the pack and then had to rely on folding it over and over, trying to find a dry space.

I thought about the ceremony for our baby, if we would even have one.  Whether it be Unitarian, or Catholic like the boys, or both… I thought about that day and the swirl of emotions I would likely have: the welcoming of a new baby, and the grief over the babies that never saw that day.  The reverend today spoke of the enormous responsibility that parents have of raising children in a world that knows both joy and hardship.  Happiness and sorrow.

As tears streaked, unchecked, down my cheeks, I saw another woman wiping away tears of her own.  Usually in my moments of sadness, I feel alone, but there was another woman with me.  I do not know her story.  It could be something similar to mine.  Or maybe she was just so moved by the spoken words about being a parent.  But for once, I was not the only person crying.

Later in the day we had taken some pictures on an outing.  I have taken so few photos of myself during this pregnancy, not really wanting to capture anything, knowing that if I ever had to look back I could never erase “pregnancy” from my expression.  I can always, always see that immeasurable pain in my eyes.  Fatigue.  It is as if I have aged decades in the past 18 months and no amount of smiling can hide it.

I’ll be forcing every smile for the next ten days, waiting for the next major milestone: my mid-pregnancy ultrasound.  Counting down the minutes.  Trying to bring myself some comfort in the most angst-ridden hours by listening for that beating heart.