“My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate.” -Thornton Wilder
In therapy this week, I talked about how I’d had a few good days where everything seemed like a “normal” pregnancy, followed by some very bad days where I was so riddled with anxiety at night that I could barely sleep. She asked if I could make a list of the “whys” and look at that list when I felt overwhelmed by the “why nots.” Why this pregnancy will be fine versus this pregnancy will not be fine. My immediate reaction was “Nope, not doing that” since counteracting the “why nots” with the “whys” felt too much like hope. Then I thought about it over the past few days, a lot.
After my mid-pregnancy ultrasound with Nelle, I began to detach myself from the pregnancy. Though finding out she was gone ten days later was still a shock, it was not completely unexpected. With Iris, I was detached from the beginning, still shocked, but not unexpected. From the beginning here, I have expected the worst.
But what if I also allowed myself to hope?
Did detaching myself from Nelle and Iris make it hurt less? I don’t know that it did. I had prepared myself for the possibility, both times, and not sure that detachment cushioned the complete destruction that followed. I still loved them, from the day I found out that I was pregnant. Preparing myself for a loss did not change that.
As I enter Week 22, maintaining detachment is harder. The kids talk about when our baby will be born with increasing regularity. I have to plan some things; they cannot be avoided. Every time I have to look ahead, I wince… but what if I didn’t? What if I allowed myself to believe that this pregnancy will progress normally, allow myself to be excited and plan? I cannot erase the possibility of loss, but what if I can allow myself some joy along the way?
I keep thinking that I am protecting myself by keeping a distance, but the further along I get, the more impossible and futile that seems. I keep wanting to protect my kids from being excited, but I do not want to steal their excitement either.
Today is Easter Sunday, a day of light, hope, promise. Life after death. A day of happiness, joy, and healing comfort. So I am going to try, try to allow myself to be brave, knowing that loss will hurt unbearably. But whether this ends in loss or life, I can allow myself some hope.