|See that white car? That's us.|
I thought we'd have a baby by now (which we did, but I mean I thought we'd have a baby HERE with us, occupying our time with his cries, his giggles, his needs.) We had agreed to consider selling our house this summer/fall and had planned to move to a bigger house in the country. Move nearer to free daycare for Jack (read: my mum!) and get settled into a new house as I planned my return to work for next winter.
Instead we have resumed our pre-baby life and have fallen back into our old habits. We both wake up at the last possible minute and head to work. No need to wake a sleepy baby or build extra time into my morning to drive to daycare, nor prepare baby bottles... I come home and I don't get to read stories, draw a bath, nor snuggle. We don't need to move houses now- we don't need space. The point at which we were "supposed" to be right now is still another year or so away. We have another year+ until we need the room, since we have no little one to outgrow what we now have.
And we'll never be right "there", where we were in those few days we had a healthy son, just as we'll never be the old version of us again. We'll always be slightly sadder, and a couple steps "behind". Even when we have another, I'll always be thinking where we should be, and who we should be. And missing baby J.
While I was pregnant, I remember being thrilled to find out some of my friends were pregnant shortly after us. We planned future play dates, and agreed to enroll in baby massage and yoga baby stuff together... But this was not to be. And so now, as I watch their kids grow thanks to the marvel that is Facebook, I can't help but feel like I was lapped.
I was pregnant before them, gave birth before them, then said goodbye. They gave birth and are now experiencing things I've never done.
It's not enough that I've lost my little boy, but I feel like I've lost my place in the world of mommy-dom. I don't fit there- I can't relate to that life I wanted so badly but only briefly tasted. I don't know what it is to comfort a teething baby, to have your child's gummy mouth form a smile, or to be genuinely proud of your child's first step or hear the sweet sound of their first word. It's weird to not have a way of relating to those who still have their children. I don't have experiences beyond a few days with a healthy baby.
One of my favourite ladies had a sweet little girl 5 or 6 weeks ago. I remember in the months following Jack, and leading up to her baby girl, giving her tips for preparing for childbirth, breast feeding, and diapers. I was the expert... Even though I had lost Jack, I had experienced the same things she would soon experience, but only to a point. A week into the life of her baby girl, she had already lapped me. Now she's the expert, as my knowledge could only extend to my circumstances. I have no new knowledge to impart.
I begrudge no one. I'm so happy she is happy and has her little girl with her. But it's just such a strange feeling, I was ahead of her, and now I'm behind. I was the more experienced, now I am far less experienced than she.
And I realize in the end, the race is only with myself and not with anyone else. It's a race against the goals I had set for myself, of where I thought I would be at this point in my life. It's making the best of things, adjusting strategy according to the cards which are dealt. In the real game of life, it's all about rolling the dice and playing your turn. For better or worse, blindly tossing the dice.
We start out in the same direction. Me, with a head start. But I take a left, they take a right. My path permanently deviate from theirs, and loops back around to the starting line just as they cross the finish line. Like a maze with no end...