Lately, the timeline of my life has been sharply divided into two distinct parts: before and after.
Before I became pregnant. Before I became separated.
After I lost my baby. After I left my husband.
When I make the effort to contemplate all this becoming, losing, and leaving I almost always end in the same place that I started: my pregnancy.
I have a room in my house that I very rarely go into. It is the would-be nursery that is currently packed with so much junk that I can barely step foot in there. This evening I ventured into that room for the first time in months. I was searching for an extra bobbin for my sewing machine and figured it might be in there among the chaos. Upon opening the door, the very first thing that my eyes land upon is the chalkboard that I made to document my pregnancy.
It’s the prop I used to tell my Mom that I was finally bearing her a grandchild. It’s the picture that I sent to my BFF to share the amazing news. It was my project–built with my own two hands–that I intended to use to document my growing baby. It was intended to be the constant–the inanimate object by which to judge the growth of my bump; to compare my baby’s size in-utero to various fruits; to simultaneously count-up the weeks until I was to give birth while counting down the weeks until I held my baby in my arms; and to finally welcome her home.
I find myself wondering how it’s even possible to miss someone who I knew for such a short period of time. How one can possibly become so attached to someone so intangible. I think it’s because I already knew her before she was even conceived. I have dreamed and fantasized and created her in my mind so long ago that it was really only a matter of time before my body caught up with my fantasy. When my body finally welcomed her into existence it was as if my mind could breathe of sigh of relief that she had finally found her home.
Tonight my home feels vacant and hollow. Her presence, one that was already so abstract, now feels like a ghost that will forever haunt my memory.
I don’t know why I never erased that chalkboard. It’s been frozen in time, stuck inside a room that I can’t bring myself to commit to any other purpose.
I just can’t seem to let go. I see everything through the lens of my loss. Even my relationship with The X–I feel tethered to him because he was the other half of that life that grew briefly inside of me. And I wonder if that’s the only reason that I am holding on to a possible future with him. I decided not too long ago that in one year from now, when I turn 31, I was going to try to have a baby on my own–IVF with donor sperm. But the truth is, I don’t want that. What I want is the whole experience of creating another life with a man who I know and that I love.
I want to look at my child and recognize features and personality traits because I am already intimately familiar with those traits that came from their father. When my child smiles, I want my heart to already be acquainted with that asymmetry. Or when my child excels at reading and writing, I want it to because their father has spent every night reading to her from the books he loved as a child. Or when my child develops a stubborn romantic streak, I want her father to recognize his own father in those sentiments. And when the father of my child looks at me, I want to see the love, respect, admiration, and connection in his eyes for me–the mother of his children–the love of his life.
I’m not ready to settle just yet. I’m giving myself time to find all of that and hopefully, more. Through my grieving, I am learning that the reason this is so difficult for me to get over is because for a moment in time, I had everything that I wanted. And I think the only way to truly overcome that grief is to allow for the possibility that I can have it again. Not the same baby, not the same man. But, the same me. Only, hopefully a more actualized, satisfied version of me.