I am grateful, from the bottom of my heart, that I have shared the life of my loved one. And I trust that someday my happiness, as I remember our life together, will far outweigh the grief I feel now.
This is today's meditation in the book I am reading Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman. I've read that we measure time differently when we are grieving. How long has it been since I felt Mila's life inside me? Three months, 18 days, and maybe a few hours. I am unfortunately reminded a lot lately that I was just recently pregnant. My hair is falling out. During pregnancy, hormones, plus all of those prenatal vitamins, cause my head to hold onto all my hair. It's incredibly thick and curly. Now that I'm not pregnant and my hormones have adjusted, my body is letting go of all this hair. I pull out a handful every time I brush my hair or pull my fingers through it. In the ICU the nurses struggled to keep my huge head of hair out of the way. Now, it is probably half as thick as it was then. When this happened after Charlie and Sofie were born, I cut it all off so people didn't notice the bald spots near my forehead. This time I've promised myself I'll keep it long. I was going to do that, since a pony tail would be the easiest with four year old twins and a baby.
I tend to think a lot lately about what was happening a year ago. One year ago, Chris and I had a wonderful secret. We had tried for another baby, this time without rigorous, expensive fertility treatments, and it happened. I was giddy as I felt disgustingly nauseous every day. I was starting to wonder how long I would fit into my clothes before people started to wonder. We anxiously awaited Thanksgiving so we could share our news with everyone. Once again, I felt like a walking miracle.
Tonight I was thinking about how there will never again be that feeling. My body is done carrying babies and it is not something I would have chosen at the age of 34. As long as I keep doing what I do with diet and exercise, there will be no need for my 'fat jeans', bigger bras, or larger winter coats. This is it for my body, so I might as well get comfortable. I know that I need to clean my closet and get rid of the maternity clothes, nursing bras, and the shirts I had reserved for spit up and leaking breasts. There's just no need and no room for those things right now. I'd love to think that we might someday have another baby to feed and burp, but not today, and I'm trying to live in today.
The fact that Mila isn't here is the hardest thing to accept these days. I miss her so much. I didn't hold her, really, so I don't know how she would have felt in my arms. I ache like I'm waiting for someone to hand her to me and no one ever does. In 12 Step programs they talk about "acting as if". It is suggested that the addict act as if God, or a Higher Power will remove the compulsive or addictive behavior. I decided recently that I would like to "act as if" with Mila. I would like to act as if she is here with me all the time. I have started talking to her, breathing in her spirit when I feel weak and heavy with grief. This past Saturday we had family photos taken, took Charlie and Sofie out to lunch, and spent a fun day together as a family of four. It was a great day and I decided that I would take Mila with me all day. Her spirit was with us; laughing when we laughed, filling my soul whenever there was a gust of fall air. When the day was over, I wished I was tucking her in with Charlie and Sofie. I wished I was bouncing her on my leg while we read stories. I cried like I do every night, hugged my husband, and tried to remember that it was finally a good day. My prayer is that there are more good days like Saturday, that I can treat myself gently, and that I will feel Mila's spirit every day. Mommy loves you, sweet baby girl.