I finally felt it this week.
I was walking the dog in the sunset of a beautiful June evening, down the road to our house with the fields of wildflowers that feed our neighbors’ apiary in full bloom, with my husband and son walking to meet us for the last few minutes of our journey.
I felt happy and satisfied with life. I felt happy about our family, about the growing bonds between my husband, son, and me. I remembered our daughter, and was glad to have the memory. I felt satisfaction about being back at work, about the science education and research that I do.
And then I realized that it was the first time I’d felt that way since before our daughter died. It took almost two years, but I finally feel healed.
Part of the shift comes as my son (four months old this week!) has grown out of the newborn phase and into a giggly, chubby infant with an emerging personality of his very own. When I was pregnant with him I spent the whole pregnancy in a haze of anxiety and fear that our terrible experience of loss might repeat itself. Once he was born I feared infection, SIDS, and developmental delays. I know I’ll never move past the fear entirely, and that worry is part of parenthood, but I’ve realized recently that it’s no longer the dominant way I think about his life. I’ve started to see our son in every facet of our future, which is something I couldn’t allow myself to do for a long time. I’m invested in raising a child, a child who will hopefully be part of our lives for a very long time. I suddenly believe that he’s here to stay with us for a long while. And that belief has largely filled the empty place left by our daughter and allowed me to feel happy and satisfied with my life again.
God, I’ve missed this.
Pregnancy loss takes such a toll, physically, mentally, emotionally. Part of me is amazed that it has taken this long to feel that I’ve healed, and part of me is amazed that I’ve gotten here at all.
Soren is growing and changing every day, and his big blue eyes seem to just swallow up the world and all the new things he sees. What an amazing experience it is to be his mother. What a life we have to look forward to.