Monday, August 15, 2005

Questioning myself

This is one of those posts where I ponder the vastness of the questions surrounding the rest of my life, particularly the pregnancy and children aspects.

What IS the appropriate time to mourn for a baby that was never born alive? Everyone says it depends on your mental and physical healing...but that is really not helpful at all. Yea, yea, yea...trust your instincts. My instincts didn't do me a damn bit of good last time, so I'm not sure trusting them right now will provide me a moment of peace or comfort.

If I have another baby, I feel like I'm a fraud. Like I wanted Alex, but I can't have him, so I'll settle for a different baby. We were only supposed to have two...Alex was our last. So will I look at any subsequent child like that...like a replacement...like a compromise child?

It's not that I doubt I will love any baby we welcome into the world. It's that I don't ever want that child to feel like s/he wasn't supposed to happen...and only was blessed with life because of the death of his/her sibling. I would never SAY that obviously...but kids are smart. It didn't take me too long as a kid to figure out I was an oops. Married in August...I was born in February...the math ain't difficult. So how would I answer the questions when I can't even answer the questions for myself?

And in this situation, if we have a girl, I'll always feel sad that I don't have my two boys. If we have a boy, I'll always feel sad that it isn't Alex.

But then again, I wanted a baby. I wanted Alex. I can't have Alex. Is it really so wrong to admit that I still want a baby? If I could make it Alex, I would. But I can't...so am I really settling?

I've never really felt sad when I saw other new babies. I know women who can't even look at other babies. I'm excited when I hear a friend may be pregnant. Sure, there is a pang of longing and a definite stab of sadness...but it isn't so much so that I'm incapacitated. Did I just not love Alex as much as I should have? I remember being in the first trimester and feeling like I hadn't really bonded with him. Did he get cheated? Is he getting cheated by my not remembering him with the level of grief that I should?

OY! This is so complicated.

I know I'm not really cheating him...he's dead after all...he really can't feel cheated or unloved or whatever. But I'm worried that maybe there is something essentially defective about my capacity to mother that makes me feel less than I should. I mean, if something, God forbid, happened to Sam, I could never just replace him with another. So what makes this different? The fact that I CAN?

I mean, Alex didn't really have that full personality like Sam does...so I can always fill in the lines with whatever I want from my imagination. I CAN replace Alex, in a sense, because he was a relatively blank slate...the next baby will come into the world with essentially the same personality...newborn...no good or bad for quite some time.

Am I just trying to make my life fit into that plan that I planned? Have I just not given up my urge to control things? I mean, what is wrong with the life I have now? Why can't I just accept the way things turned out and move forward?

Part of me really wants to have a sibling for Sam. I've heard so much about how great it is to watch your kids interact and grow together. I was really looking forward to that with Sam and Alex. So now I think I would like to still give Sam a sibling. But is that the right reason to replace Alex?

Steve wants another baby so bad he can barely hide it...oh heck...he can't hide it at all. But again, is that the right reason to replace Alex?

Am I to pretend Alex didn't exist and make the decision the same way I made it before...taking into account all these reasons and deciding what is best for everyone?

Or do I just let it go, and let life happen? No plans, no worries, no guilt?

I know most of these questions don't have real answers...so maybe I'll just ponder them for a while and see where it leads me.

4 comments:

Lorem ipsum said...

We DO want to control things. I haven't had a successful pregnancy yet. In having healthy, living babies we want to prove to ourselves that we aren't 'broken.' I personally see it as a magic baptism that will wipe away all my pre-husband sins once and for all.

Jill said...

Well I never had a concrete idea of what size my family would be but I thought three was a good number and now I think four is even better and maybe one day five.

You could revise your plans so that you are comfortable with having three kids. As you said, you will not love a different baby any less but having had Alex for the time you did made it clear just how much love you have to give and you know that there is room for three children in your heart.

But you have to be ready for it and as much as you don't want to hear it, you will just kinda know..or at least have an inkling that you are able to move forward with another pregnancy - or not.

deadbabymama said...

Here's my take on all of this.

I don't feel like I'm replacing deadbaby by having another baby, I'm having another baby, that's all. I probably wouldn't have had another one so soon after deadbaby if she had lived, but she died so I am having another one now. Heck I'm not even sure if I'd have had another one at all, but my reality now is what it is and I'm having another baby. That's it.

It can be complicated, but it is up to you how much of those complications/scenarios/questions you want to take on as beliefs. In other words all of the speculating you are doing is normal, but it is just speculating and feeling things out, until you consciously choose what it is you believe about your situation you are just shooting the breeze about some really deep important stuff.

It is quite possible to take Alex into account and make the decision in a similar way that you did before, there's no need to attempt to 'forget' Alex in your decision making (as if you could!). Think about how you might be able to make the decision as the mother of two, one of whom isn't around in a material sense, and see how that feels.

And as for no plans, no worries, no guilt...good luck with that! If you achieve it you will have attained a level of grace on par with the Lord Buddha himself and I, for one, will worship you.

lauralu said...

catherine, i have spent so much time pondering this question that it's a wonder i'm even functional. in the end, i got pregnant before i had come to an intellectual answer, but when i found out i was pregnant i got my emotional answer: i want this child. i think that's all any of us can hope for - whether we were planned or not, once we're here we just need to be wanted.