The Hardest Part.

When I wrote The hardest post I’ve ever written, I wrote about my struggles with peri- and postpartum depression. But in it, I proclaimed that the hardest part of the hardest post was having to type the following words:
I can no longer have children.
In it I also wrote how incredibly grateful I am for having two children. I have a daughter. I have a son. I had two pregnancies that weren’t too scary. I had two c-sections that were, but produced babies with Apgar scores of 8 and then 9. I had two children come out of me at exactly 7 pounds and 12 ounces, my first born at 2:22 in the morning, my second at 4:11 in the afternoon.
I felt the magic.
And that magic is what I mourn the most.
There is nothing like that magic. The drive to the hospital. The anticipation. Seeing the baby for the first time. Those first few moments, and then days. The hospital stay (which, after baby number one, seems luxurious).
And the loss of that, of knowing I will never have that incredible feeling ever again, is what makes me feel sad.
Sometimes I anticipate the sadness; If I am going to visit a friend’s new baby or put my arms around a best friend’s pregnant belly, I can expect to feel the pang; but in those moments I experience that two hands thing that I was talking about. I feel so much joy for my friends. It is genuine. It is not about me at all.
And then, there are other times, times when I’m unarmed, when my armor is off, that I feel the pain so deeply it is almost hard to breathe.
Like today, when I went up to the playroom to pick up after my daughter. I was cleaning up tutus and dresses and toy cars when I saw a hand-sewn pillow among a pile of dress-up clothing. This pillow is in the shape of a heart and was given to me by my weekend nurse, Pam, when I had my son, when it was so hard to stand after my surgery. She told me to press the pillow into my incision when I would try to move, and that pressure would relieve some of the pain.
I saw that pillow today, and tears came to my eyes.
I will never have that feeling ever again.
I don’t know how many times I can say this: I realize that I am so blessed. I know what I have. I know that my children are amazing and that some people never get to experience that magic and I am so fortunate that I was able to twice. I have grown a team.
I get to sing “You are my sunshine” and mean every word, so deeply, that my bones tingle and my heart aches.
But it’s hard.
Just as this time in my life has been hard.
I cannot have another baby because it is not safe for my body and I cannot have another baby because it is not safe for my brain.
That magic, while powerful, is not worth the risk.
I cannot put my body through that stress again. I cannot put my family through the pain they have endured once more.
During this time in my life I have lost friends, friends who I thought would be true to me forever; I have scared my family members; my children have seen me cry; I have lost weight and lost color in my face and still, I cannot get over this idea that, despite all of these things, I am out of control of my own body and mind and future.
Sometimes I put a positive spin on things. I think about how I am now forever done the exhausting newborn phase; I think about how my children are both healthy and strong; I feel so glad that I will not have another c-section;
But there is this part of me, this small part of me, that still grieves.
Because there is this little part of me that thinks that there is this little baby out there that I will never know. That it should exist. And that I’m missing it.
I will never feel the magic again. I don’t have the chance.
Today, I had one of those low moments when my grandmother came by for an impromptu visit with a bag of grocery store treats; The baby was squirming and kicking his legs like crazy and I said, without thinking, “This is exactly what he used to do in my stomach, remember?”
And then I said “I will never feel that again.”
And she said “So what? None of us did. Look at what you have. Be happy with what you have.”
And, once again, I am.
There are different stages of grief that I am aware of. Perhaps my belief that there is a baby out there waiting for me is denial.
Sometimes I feel angry, at my body and at my brain chemistry and at my doctors. I am angry that this happened to me.
Other times I ask my husband that if, in 6 years we have loads of money, we could hire a surrogate to carry a third baby for us. Bargaining.
And then there’s the depression. The part of me that is making my eyes sting now as I type these words.
I am waiting for the acceptance.
But until I find it, which I pray that I do, I will go on rooting for my team, cherishing the good moments when I have them, and singing
“You are my sunshine” every single night.
You’ll never know, my dears,
how much I love you.

  • jessicaschunemeyer
    April 23, 2014

    I relate so much to this. When my son turned one year old earlier this month it hit me so hard. I knew that I would never do any of this again and he is my one shot at this. I love him and cherish him, but it makes me sad that I will never be pregnant again….

    • mommyeverafter
      April 23, 2014

      Thank you so much. I’m so glad to know that we have a silent network of support among us mamas.

  • Andrea
    November 5, 2014

    I hear you, sister. I am going through the same exact thing right now. My four year old is on the autism spectrum and my second pregnancy ended in terrible postpartum depression. I also have a history of miscarriages. I know for many reasons I will not be doing the baby thing again, but I just cannot come to peace with it!

    • mommyeverafter
      November 5, 2014

      I am sorry for your losses, both tangible and intangible, BUT I’m glad that you have the blessings you do. Thanks for reaching out. It means so much.

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