Thursday, May 21, 2009

Not By Choice

Desperate to meet other single moms/parents (I've just about given up on the widowed faction) a few have mentioned "Single Mothers by Choice", a group formed by women who started families just that way - by choice. I cannot articulate how envious I am of their network. I discovered them on line months ago, early on in my pregnancy, but factored them out as an option as that just wasn't my situation. Yet recently I almost attended a group meeting with the hope of just connecting with "mothers who happen to be single". But I didn't, as it was obvious that it wasn't the club for me. And I get it. Their issues are different. And my situation is different. And that, too, is isolating.
What was beyond hard to endure when I told people that I was pregnant, were the responses that expressed joy for me - but in an off-putting way - because many of the congratulatory statements neglected to acknowledge the circumstance. "How wonderful that you now have a part of him", "at least you'll have a new life to love" - those comments are all true and I was equally grateful. But it was hard for me to relish in the news and I feared that to others I appeared unappreciative or even resentful of the blessing. Yet I wasn't. What I longed for was the acknowledgement that yes it was the ultimate blessing but it wasn't bestowed upon me as we had planned. And that was all I really wanted to hear. I remember in my birth class the instructor warned us of what we might experience if we had to have a C-Section when we had hoped for a "normal delivery". "People will say 'who cares how it was delivered - you had a healthy baby' but what you'll want people to understand is 'yes, I have a healthy baby, I had always only wanted a healthy baby - but having the C-Section was not as we had planned' ". When I heard her offer up that response to help us articulate the disappointment we might feel, a light went on inside my head. That was it - that was all I had wanted people to understand - that I was never not appreciative to have this being, this... legacy, inside of me, but that the wish was manifesting itself in a very different way. . I was overjoyed at the thought of this combination of the two of us – to have this dream we so longed for, but it was and is difficult to embrace the joy without the one who so deserves to be here with me to embrace it. And many on the outside, the periphery of our lives, could not grasp that. They felt that a baby carried Alan’s presence on, and that I will ‘get him back’ in one way and have happiness to replace the sorrow in another way. Yes those were/are both true, but people failed to recognize that this was not the way either of us had planned it. We planned and dreamt of a baby of our own – and then we fantasized about what it would be like once we had one – how we would be as parents, how it would look, walk, what it’s movements and mannerisms would be. How it would waddle and peer in at us from a doorway, how it would greet us coming home at the end of the day. How it would wake up from a nap, rosy cheeked and sweaty. It was a shared experience that we looked so forward to as we brought someone new into the world. And it is that loss that I mourn so. And the guilt I feel for witnessing this without Alan here to experience it washes over me in an endless torrent. Not only do I have my own life, but I have a bit of our lives in a new person to love and to cherish ~ I devour every moment, every move, every expression, every sound that Lily initiates - but it is a struggle to keep the darkness at bay, that nagging voice in the back of my mind that says over and over and over again, "He should be here".

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