Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. It is also, strangely, the day I was thrown what might possibly be my one and only shower of any kind (marriage, baby, adoption).
When I lost my pregnancy only half way through, and said goodbye forever to the little girl who was my daughter, and who I desperately wanted to mother in every way, I didn’t believe in anything. I didn’t believe in God, in a reason, or a divine purpose. I didn’t believe in angels, or learning lessons, or fate. I guess I just believed, and still do, that I was like everyone else who’d suffered great loss: unlucky, fragile, and human. I had lost a most fervent dream just before it was in my reach. I had lost the person I loved more than anyone. But that didn’t mean I was special. I was in good company. I work in critical care, you know? I see tragic loss every day. I guessed I just wasn’t that different from everyone else.
What I could never have imagined at that point, and would never have believed, was that I still had a daughter on the way. My dreams of baby showers and childbirth were over, but not motherhood. All of the joys of raising a little girl were still about to come true. On April 15th, just three weeks before my due date, my forever daughter was literally deposited on my doorstep. Not by the stork, but by a CPS worker.
I didn’t labor her out of my body, it’s true. But I feel that, somehow, she was labored out of my grief. My contractions were my tears. My exhaustion was in my heartbreak. My miracle was somehow pushed out of me, from a place beyond myself, a place I did not know existed. A place called hope, from which I must have acted when I put myself back on that foster care home list.
And it was a miracle, it really was. Nothing about it was easy.,. I felt guilty for loving another baby so much so soon after losing mine. I felt guilty for still wanting the daughter I’d felt kick and grow within me to be alive when I was so blessed to be holding the living baby in my arms. I felt guilty for wanting to be M’s forever mommy so badly, when that meant that Avalon would have to be dead for it to happen. One could not exist without the other being gone, could they?
The truth is that one could NOT exist without the other. M is my forever daughter because Avalon was my daughter first. M is here with me because Avalon existed, not because she died. I have to think of it that way, or go crazy.
Today my co-workers threw me the one and only baby (adoption) shower I’m likely ever to have, and whether or not I should, I loved that cultural validation of being a new mother, a mother for the “first” time. I also love the serendipity that on this day of celebrating my daughter, it also happens to be a world-wide day of remembrance for infants loved and loss. Those first few days with M, I remember feeling so clearly that Avalon was telling me goodbye, and “mommy now you’ll be ok, your daughter is here”. Today, via this strange coincidence, I almost felt as if she had come back to me to say hello, and to honor her sister.