I notice that your face is cloudy when you come off the bus. You snap at your little brother when he runs up to you to play. You go to your room. The door slams. I knock. You don’t answer. I pause and knock again. Not the “you need to open the door now” knock. A slow knock. Two knocks. Nothing more. Then I sit by the door and I wait.
A few minutes later the door opens. You sit down next to me. “Rough day?” I ask.
I’m thirty five years old. I have a history of thirty five years of experiences, thirty five years of mistakes, thirty five years of learning.
You are five. You have a history of five years, much of which you might not remember. You haven’t grown to the place that I was at when I made the mistakes that I made at ten. You haven’t grown into the types of mistakes that I made at thirteen. Or seventeen. You are no where near the mistakes that I made at twenty five. You are not yet at the mistakes that I will make at 37 or 40. I’m not yet in that place, myself.
I watch you make the mistakes that you will make. Sometimes I ask you to think about what a consequence might be if you continue to do something. But then when you come to me hurting when that thing happens, I hug you near and whisper “I know. It hurts. It hurts a lot. I’m here for you.”
Keenie is putting sand on her legs. It’s time to go. I ask her to come with me. She piles more sand on her legs. I ask her again. She doesn’t acknowledge what I am saying.
I stay squatting next to her. I go silent. I wait. She starts to talk about the sand on her legs. About the thing that she sees in the eye of her imagination. I listen for a few short moments. I ask questions.
It’s not time to go, it’s time to slowly hatch from the chrysalis that she has made for herself. To fly like a butterfly to showers where we wash off the sand and the salt from the ocean.
It’s time to just slow down. Because this is my child’s childhood. It’s important lovely stuff.
I forget this often when I am in a rush. I should remember it more.
Clinging joyfully to her dad, giggling in the waves. I see a little watermelon swimsuit and a tangle of wavy-curls held up in the air by the arms that held me while I birthed her, while I birthed her brother, while I mourned the passing of my grandmother, while I shook in grief over the passing of several dear friends. The arms that cradled her and her bothers as they have fallen asleep over the years. The arms that pull me close when I cannot sleep. Her legs kick up and down as the waves crash into them. I cannot see her face but recognize excitement. Comfort. Glee.
Trust is a lovely thing.
I often snug her close to me when she is afraid or hesitant. I often whisper “cling close, Keenie-bee. Together we’ll be big.”
They are big together in those waves. She is borrowing from his size and the safety that he offers to squeal with laughter in a place where she might otherwise feel fear.
Friends, family and loved ones are like that. Each of us is tiny on the face of this spinning world. But together? Together we are big. Together this world is less a place of fear and more one that offers opportunity for profound joy.
It is hot out. Muggy. I am tired and vaguely queasy. Everything feels off.
A loop keeps repeating in my head.
Why do I feel this way?
I am pregnant.
Why do I feel this way?
I am pregnant.
In some ways pregnancy is more surreal this time around. Like I’m along for a ride that I didn’t buy tickets for, didn’t wait in line for, didn’t board.On a rollercoaster, complete with the strange dropping and rising feeling in my belly.
Then I recognize the feeling. It’s excitement that hasn’t quite sunk in.
There is a life inside of me trying to grow to the size it needs to be in order to be born.
I smile and laugh.
I will get used to this, eventually. It’s nothing really new. I’ve done it before.
What a strange, delightful and perfectly ordinary little miracle this is…
Two pink lines.
My hands start to shake.
I show Alex.
He’s the one that suggested that it might be time to test.
He always seems to know.
Right now I’m about four weeks along. Those two lines mean that there is a small life growing inside of me. A life that is currently the size of a poppy seed. This morning Alex got me another test. Some fancy schmancy one that estimates the date of ovulation based on HCG levels. So 2-3 weeks since ovulation puts me right at 4-5 weeks pregnant using the LMP/40 weeks approach.
It is early.
I’m not supposed to tell anyone. I’m supposed to tell only Alex, and then spend the next eleven weeks keeping my joys, hopes, fears, and thoughts to myself. Just in case. Because it’s not a guarantee yet. Because grief may follow instead of a baby. Because we’re only supposed to celebrate when things are a bit more of a “guarantee”.
I’ve turned that idea over and over in my head, time and time again.
For me, the act of not sharing would not decrease any future sadness.
For me, the act of not sharing would not save me from grief.
I’d probably still tell everyone if this pregnancy ends in a miscarriage, if it’s chemical, if it’s ectopic. If any of those many things that can go wrong… goes wrong. Because I’ve seen women suffer in silence. And because when I had a loss before, I shared and ended up having so many conversations with women who had kept so much inside. Because they “had” to. Because not listening and putting on a happy face is some sort of social grace.
I’m telling you. Because I believe that women deserve to yell it out from the treetops if they want to. Because I believe that miscarriage is such a social taboo that people feel they have to keep pregnancies secret. Just in case. And because I don’t believe that is a healthy habit.
I am pregnant. I am expecting a baby next year at the end of March or the beginning of April sometime. This is a happy thing.
It is also a complicated thing. This was not planned. We were talking about starting to try for a baby in January if things lined up. Needless to say, a lot of things are not lined up.
I’m also grieving heavily over some recent things that have shaken how I view friendship and family and myself. So this post is not as joyful as the first moments when I found out that I was pregnant.
That is okay, too. Life is complicated.
There is joy. A small poppy-seed sized joy that is going to slowly grow until it is overwhelming and beautiful.