unveiled, at last

We had a jam packed weekend, the kind I don’t think I could have survived a year ago without many tears.

On Saturday we went to a wedding at the beach, which was (not surprisingly) cold and windy. It was Baby J’s first time at the ocean, and I had visions of putting her little feet in the sand and snapping some pictures. But it was so cold we didn’t take her out of the carrier. Welcome to San Francisco!

There were lots of kids there, including those of every couple at our table. We saw friends we had lost touch with long ago, on purpose, and their now seven year old son. I will always remember how old this boy is because he was born soon after my first fibroid surgery. I remember as I watched my then-friend grow larger I wondered whether I’d ever be able to get pregnant after such an invasive procedure…

(As it turns out, this friend has since suffered recurrent losses in her quest for a second child. Awful to hear, but at least we had something to talk about. Terrible, no?)

So M and I spent the afternoon trading off carrying Baby J, showing off her general loveliness to anyone who wanted to see, sharing bits of her story to our old friends who asked. She made several people smile including the bride who held her for a while.

Then Sunday afternoon we went to an outdoor concert on a nearby ranch, complete with barbecue and cocktails and a kid’s moon walk. We met family there and enjoyed a beautiful day on our blanket in the shade with lemonade and little cousins who adore Baby J.

Naturally there were a ton of children there. Everywhere you turned there were little ones running, playing and dancing, babies being bounced, multi-kid families and parents mingling. It is exactly the kind of scene I would’ve wanted to avoid a year ago. Or I’d go to see our family, but I’d feel dread inside and be tremendously depressed (as I was here or here).

And yet I watched us, M and I, and we were happy.

There we were with our little girl, enjoying the music and sunshine like everyone else.

There we were with our happy chubby baby, singing, playing and laughing.

There we were, forgetting for just a few hours every thing that came before as I held Baby J high up in the air just to see her smile.

It is amazing what this child has done to me.

It is amazing how infertility and loss inhibited my ability to enjoy life.

I certainly don’t mean to imply that this baby was or is responsible for my happiness. As I’ve said before (here, for example), it would be entirely unfair to hang that burden on a child.

Yet I pictured this scene a year ago and M and I agreed that we would’ve been miserably depressed. Instead, we feel so fortunate. And yes, happy.

I won’t lie to you though. The love I have for this baby has opened my heart, absolutely. Yet I admit I still feel a tinge of something when I see families with more than one child.

Don’t get me wrong. I am eternally grateful and this baby is all I can really imagine at this moment. Aside from M, she is everything to me. Yet I am also acutely aware that she might be an only child and that thought is still saddening. As much for her as me.

I’m mixing several thoughts here — my blissful joy at what I now have with drops of lingering grief over what I do not. I did not intend to do that.

I started writing about this transformation that has allowed me to experience life again as I have longed for it — as a mother. This feeling that a veil of darkness has been lifted; the black cloud that has hung over our heads for so long seems to have disappeared. Infertility and loss clouded and shrouded everything.

Now somehow, after so long, we finally feel ready to reintroduce ourselves to the world — as parents. This is not necessarily a conscious decision, but rather something that just happened.

Yet I still realize that — even as this little girl’s mama — my persistent infertility and loss still deeply affects how I see and experience the world. And I think it always will.

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~ by luna on September 21, 2009.

17 Responses to “unveiled, at last”

  1. So much to say “ME TOO” with on this. Like you said, I don’t want to burden V with my happiness, but damn – it changes things. It changes things at their most basic levels…

  2. What a beautiful post. I’m glad it was a good weekend instead of a dreaded one.

  3. Sounds like a lovely weekend! You are right, those things are a part of you and will probably continue to affect the way you look at things because it has been the norm for so long. It has been my experience that as time goes on, and you have enjoyed the joys of parenthood a little longer they affect you less and less!

  4. There’s so much in this post, but one thing I quickly wanted to say, in hopes of reassuring you. I’m an only child and never missed having bio-siblings. Instead, I flourished from the love and attention of two dedicated, reasonable parents and I chose my own sisters and brothers later in life, forming strong, lasting friendships that (I’m told) bear an eerie resemblance to sibling ties.

    So don’t worry about that. 🙂 Baby J will find the love and connection she needs.

    It is amazing how, once a major source of unhappiness is eliminated, everything starts to look much easier and more, well, more possible, somehow.

  5. What a beautifully written post. I am glad that you have so much joy in your life right now, and yet there is that shadow that infertility and loss leaves too. I have often thought to myself that it would never go away, but that it would become more bearable. As I am not in the shoes yet to know, I think it’s good to be able to get the view from others and see it through their eyes.

    And the poignancy of the weekend as you had imagined it before, and as it was now… very powerful.

  6. I don’t think we truly realize how debilitating infertility is until we come out the other side, whether that means a fat, happy baby, or learning to live life without infertility tainting every happiness. I think we’re so focused on building a family while we’re in the throes, that we really can’t see beyond it and it does cloud our vision. Having that veil removed without even realizing it’s happening is an amazing revelation.

  7. I thought the emotional side of IF would disappear the moment I held a child. But…it’s more like a slow fade. A really slow fade.

  8. My therapist (who has 2 adult children via adoption and donor ovum) tells me that IF becomes more like an old friend who taps us on the shoulder throughout our lives just to remind us that it will always be a part of us.

    So glad to hear you had such a great time on what would have been a really difficult situation a year ago. Hugs.

  9. All I can say is me too. I haven’t been brave enough to talk about it on my blog yet. I am over the moon with my little guy. I feel lucky every day that he is a part of my life. But I still feel acutely that which I will never experience.

    I just feel like I’m betraying my son when I say that.

  10. There is so much in this post which struck a chord with me too, Luna. I think that you’ve very astutely pinpointed just how debilitating infertility can be – it’s really not until that dark cloud lifts a little that we realise how completely it obscured our lives (which isn’t to say that having a child somehow negates all the years of pain and longing we endured to get to this new place).

    I also hear you on the whole ‘only child’ issue too.

  11. That’s beautiful Luna

    I’m glad you have found your way out of the darkness. Darkness doesn’t suit you.

    love B

  12. Did that sound bad?

    What I mean is that you are brightness through and through

  13. Thanks for sharing, luna. I think my IF will always be there too. With this little girl in my life, I’m determined to make it a smaller part of me.

  14. What a wonderful post, Luna — and I really enjoyed reading the comments it inspired too.

    I’ve been surprised by how, even in those really gorgeous “holy cow, we’re a family and life is awesome” moments, I do sometimes feel that little metallic tang of sadness. Sometimes it’s for the babies that didn’t make it — as having our boy with us finally puts a face to those losses, makes it easier to get an idea of what we missed. YET, if I hadn’t had those losses, I wouldn’t have the exact son I have right now — so it’s weird.

    Sometimes, too, it’s this sinking feeling of remembering that I have so little control over building the family we want. I really do envy folks who can have a couple, then get a vasectomy or whatever. Or casually “space” siblings, etc. I was also an only child and while it had its perks, it definitely makes me long for a bigger family. Now more than ever…

    Regardless, being a mom now, every day is filled with so many unexpected blessings. And I am intensely grateful to just be able to face every new day with excitement, curiosity and a smile again after that long IF nightmare.

  15. Exactly how I feel – grateful, happy, renewed, but IF and loss is and will always be a part of me.

    The picture of your little angle – OMG, she is beautiful!

  16. Just found your blog, wow and thanks. We have similar stories. Our daughter, Sophia is now 12! We just gained custody of her 13 yr old bio sister, the openness has soured as a result and I am grieving the loss of openess. Long story…..but I want to read about your adoption, it is pass word protected! Where can I sign up so I can access it.

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