Today is a meaningful day for me. Despite my current state, I still mark the grief of this anniversary…
My nieces and nephews are the lights of my life. Honestly, when I am feeling low, the only sure thing that will bring me comfort is playing make-believe with my 3 year old niece, or cuddling my newborn nephews. All six of them are truly precious to me. But my 1-year-old Godson represents something special to me. And he always will be a living reminder of what might have been.
My sister and I were keeping close tabs on each other when I first started trying to conceive. I was ready to start my family, and she was ready for her second child. We laughed about how fun it would be to be pregnant together. And when I told her I was, we realized that we had the same LMP (last menstrual period). A few days later, we found out that she was pregnant, too. Our due date was July 9th, 2010.
That first month was full of excitement as we dreamed about the “cousin twins.” We hoped for girls, who would be best friends. We talked about what it would be like when the babies arrived, imagining being up late at night, nursing our newborns and talking on the phone. We announced to our family that “we” were expecting. It was quite literally a dream come true.
Unfortunately, that dream ended abruptly and painfully for me. At 7 weeks, I went in for my first official prenatal visit, and discovered that our baby’s heart was no longer beating. My pregnancy was over. I remember thinking that it just couldn’t be. The blessing of sharing a due date with my sister and best friend had to be more than a coincidence. It had to be meant to be. I held firmly to that belief until I could no longer deny the truth. There would be no cousin twins.
The following months were painful and precarious. My sister’s belly continued to grow. And every time I saw her, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “that’s what I would look like now.” Every ultrasound picture displayed on the fridge marked a milestone that I missed. And hearing her mention her due date when asked brought a lump to my throat. My sister, of course, was gracious and loving and selfless throughout this journey. She was careful of my feelings and discreet about her pregnancy, which neither of us wanted her to have to be.
The thing that was most difficult for me during her pregnancy and my sister-in-law’s subsequent pregnancy (as I continued to not get pregnant) was the frustration of not being able to be 100% happy. Of course, I loved them and their babies more than anything. And I certainly believed that they deserved the joy of motherhood. But there was always a nagging in the back of my mind, always tears just below the surface. Why didn’t I deserve this too? I hated being reserved during such a happy time – that’s not who I am.
I was relieved to find that feeling somewhat guarded did not carry over when the baby was born. My nephew stole my heart that very first day and possesses it still now. He brings me more delight than I ever could have expected, and I know that no matter what, he was meant to be.