Today was my due date.
I have made my peace with the miscarriage, but I've always felt that it would never be fully behind me until today. There was still something hanging out there that was supposed to happen, but didn't. Today I can hear the door shutting, quietly but firmly.
The hardest thing about having a miscarriage is dealing with the death of your expectations. When you first find out you're pregnant, you have so many hopes and dreams, and then they're ripped away from you without any warning. With today, all of my expectations from my first pregnancy have expired and are behind me. I tend to look at the world with a jaundiced eye and expect the worst while hoping for the best. That said, it took me longer than I thought it would and it was harder than I thought it would be to get to where I stand today. Happily, I can now survey the damage around me and honestly report that the future is unrolling before me, and I feel ready to handle whatever it brings me.
Long before I was ready to become a mother, I read a book called Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent, a former midwife. The book is a great read because it describes all kinds of births (mostly good ones, and one very bad one), but there is one particular part that sticks out for me. Vincent became unexpectedly pregnant at 41, and then was devestated by her subsequent miscarriage. Her 12 year old son (who is CLEARLY the product of a Berkeley midwife!), finding her crying, initiated the following discussion:
"Well, you just have to have another one, Mom, because it's a Spirit Baby, and you should be its mother."
I must have looked puzzled because he said, "Don't you know about Spirit Babies? How could I know about them if you don't? I mean, you're my mom!" But he could see my perplexity.
So my first child, this not-yet-teenaged boy, pulled a wooden chair to my side and draped his thin arm across my shoulders, saying, "Well, Mom, here's how it is. See, I was one myself, so that must be how I know. Anyway, every woman has a circle of babies that goes around and around above her head, and those are all the possible babies she could have in her whole life. Every month, one of those babies is first in line. If she gets pregnant, then that's the baby that's born. If she doesn't get pregnant, the baby goes back into the circle and keeps going around with all the others. If she gets pregnant but something bad happens before the baby's born. . .now listen, Mom, because here's the really cool part. It goes back into the circle, but it becomes a Spirit Baby, and all the other babies give it cuts. Each month, it's always first in line. Isn't that great?
"So, you just have to get pregnant again, and you'll have the same Spirit Baby. If you don't, though, the the baby circle will just beam that little Spirit Baby over to some other woman's circle, and it'll be first in line for her. It keeps being first in line somewhere until it finally gets born."--Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife, by Peggy Vincent
I feel optimistic that my Spirit Baby will find me soon, and today I'm wishing that that the next baby in line in your baby circle finds you soon, too.
P.S. If you're like me and you keep score of women who are older than you that have successful pregnancies, you'll be happy to learn that Vincent went on to have a successful pregnancy at age 42.