Xbox (hi, Xbox!) posted this back at the end of July. In particular he says, of the child he and his wife are at last expecting :
We’ll know it as the kid that has kept us going for two years….
So no, I’m not nervous, I’m excited at the thought of finally getting to meet in the flesh, someone who has already done so much for us. Someone we’re already familiar with after years of ups and downs.
Someone we’ve already known for a long, long time.
A brand new old friend.
I think I cried when I first read it (sorry, Xbox!). Mostly because it’s exactly true. I was teetering on the verge of writing about it too. And then a couple of weeks later Mel of Stirrup Queens posted some thoughts along the same lines, and I got a little overwrought in my whole-hearted, nay, whole-bodied agreement and shelved the whole subject until it felt safe. Because, for me, it’s not a beautiful, heart-filling, piercingly sweet thought any more.
When I lost Pikaia (and I always think of her as female, even though we never knew if she was), I didn’t just lose a few weeks-worth of pointless pregnancy. I didn’t lose a mere blob of genetic material, a non-person. I lost that child who had already been in my heart for the whole two-and-a-half years we’d been trying. We’d been trying for her, after all. Through the polyps and anovulation and bleeding and surgery and drugs, the hope of her, the reality of her, was the one Pole-Star that kept us going. It was for her we did it. It was for her we clung on.
When I lost Pikaia, it was all that that died.
It took a year, at least a year, for me to get to a place where my heart wasn’t crying to have her back again. Oh, yes, I wanted to get pregnant again, of course I did. But in the night, when I wept, I wept oh come back to me, come back to me.
Finally, my heart managed to bury her.
Today I am able to hope and wish for a baby without instantly being hijacked by yearning for her.
Some people talk an awful lot of bumfluff about the influence psychology has on physiology. I have been told that, for example, painful periods are a result of my disappointment at not being pregnant (what, when I was fourteen?). That you must ‘make room in your heart’ for a pregnancy. That you have to be ready. And that, dear friends, is exactly why I have not talked about this before. Certainly not while I was still yearning for my first pregnancy to somehow miraculously come back. Some platitudinous twerp, I felt sure, would bounce out of the woodwork and tell me to free my soul or what-have-you, and I’d have to go round to their house and spit in their eye, which comes expensive if they live across the oceans. Every blog, message board, personal account I ever read or heard confirmed that getting pregnant again is a great healer and helps a person move on. I have yet to hear that wallowing in grief is a natural sterilizer. God, and if it were, all war-torn countries would have a birth-rate of precisely fuck-all (and they notoriously don’t). (And it kinda rankles that we had to get over Pikaia’s loss all by ourselves).
But still, it’s a, well, not a relief at all, really, but it’s something to be able to long for a baby, and not that baby anymore.
Not that either of us can forget her. H (to my (possibly unworthy) surprise) began to talk about Pikaia last night, and then he lit her candle for a while, and we spent the rest of the evening in its glow. See?
And so we go on, knowing only that it will go on for ever, and, perversely, the only life Pikaia has is in our desire, as she was made of our longing before she existed, and is made of our longing now she has ceased to exist.