Thursday, June 25, 2015

the dichotomy of tears

April 29, 2015. The week we found out!

My wee little babe is the size of a peach this week. Since we just announced our pregnancy publicly yesterday, I have a lot of backlogged thoughts, emotions, experiences, vomiting... and I suppose this is the time to share some of those things. (I'll skip the vomiting).

For a while, I had to fight against my initial urge to feel guilty about being pregnant. It felt like I was painfully breaking out of the cocoon of heartbreak, a place that I felt was safe and familiar. I had friends there. Other mothers who had been permanently bruised by the loss of a beloved child. It was a congregation I didn't take lightly. I felt comforted by them, held by them. Sharing about my miscarriage with others who had experienced that same loss opened up my heart in a very raw and very real way. When I found out I was pregnant again, I had a rush of fears. Would I be banished because of this new life? Should I have waited? Would my friendships change? Would they feel a twinge when I told them the news, or be able to share this happiness in all of its complexities? I felt torn between rejoicing and grieving anew for the baby I had lost. I wanted to stay the same, but push forward. I wanted to hold onto the memorial I was holding in my heart, but I also wanted to celebrate new life. I was two different people, two different desires residing on a crossroad of complex emotion.

On June 3rd, at my 10 week mark, my husband and I were able to go to my very first prenatal appointment. We saw the same doctor that I had visited right after my miscarriage, and she was ecstatic to see me again and to congratulate us. It was incredibly nerve-racking. I still felt full of fear. I had this weird, irrational fear that they would tell me I wasn't actually pregnant after all - my body had tricked me. I had tricked myself. But in that bright room, feeling naked and vulnerable in my thin fabric patient's gown, my doctor navigated her handheld monitor across my skin until we all heard the whoosh whoosh whoosh of our miraculously tiny baby's heartbeat. We just cried and cried. We cried tears for Poppy, and we cried tears for our new baby whose heart was beating for us, with us, within me. The tears all looked the same, and they all came from us, but they meant very different things.

I have learned that complex emotion, that layered and turbulent crossroad, is beautiful. And I don't mean that in the fluffy, hippy way that people sometimes use the word "beautiful" (I mean, people love to say that birth is beautiful, but I'm certainly not paying anyone to see that business, not even my own). I wish there was another word, a better word. Complex emotion is...worthwhile. The fight, the questions I ask myself, the answers I discover, it's all worthwhile. I can't quite bring myself to say that birth itself is actually beautiful because it totally freaks me out, but it is worthwhile. It's not pretty, it's worthy. Because it hurts and it's earned and it hurts hurts hurts and it produces stunning, glorious, fresh life. The complexities of life are hard and they're worth feeling. They're the dichotomy of tears.

I own the grief and I own the joy, crying tears for both and feeling for both.
I don't have to choose, because I am all of it all at once.

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