The first one has arrived. The first baby born--after Calla--to a friend with whom I'd been pregnant. A good friend, a work friend, someone madly in love with her husband and excitedly expecting her first baby.
The overwhelming emotion? Relief. Of course I'm beyond thrilled for her and her family. I know how it feels to have a brand new, warm, snuggly, screaming baby. It's the most amazing feeling in the world. But the first thing I truly felt when hearing the news was relief. Relief that he's here, safe and healthy. Relief that everything went OK. Relief that I didn't run up to the roof or dive into a bottle, overflowing with jealousy. Relieved that SOMETHING went the way it was supposed go.
Baby, baby, baby. Like many women my age, I found myself in good company while pregnant. Many of the same friends who were pregnant at the same time as I was with E were again this time around. Calla wasn't to be the first or last born, but comfortably in the middle. As friends had their babies through the fall and early winter, my excitement grew while our due date approached.
Then the shit hit the fan.
And then there were still more babies to come. And I was getting, frankly, a little panicked. I found myself in a whirlwind of nervousness for the babies' safe arrival and anxiety about how I'd react. See, I don't get the happy ending this time, and while others are rejoicing I am still devastated. But I'm glad my happiness for other mothers isn't completely snuffed out. I can still be a normal human being, on this level, at least.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still a wreck. I still am sad and wistful and pissed and confused--and sometimes I indulge in copious amounts of self-pity. I see complete, happy families, full of siblings and new babies and not a dead one in the lot. I often want to scream: Why me? Why NOT me? Why Calla? WHY THE FUCK US?!
Please don't misunderstand, though--"Why me?" does not imply "Why not SOMEONE ELSE?" It's simply a question posed to the universe, one to which I'm not expecting any answers.
For the next six or so months friends will be adding brothers and sisters, new babies, first borns. It's going to be bittersweet until the last one comes out screaming. But I'll love them all the same, babies and mothers alike.
And you know what? It's not going to end there. So till the end of my days, I will always vacillate between happiness for pregnant mothers and out-and-out terror for them as well. I promise I won't be morbid, or a downer, or a nag. But know that it's in there-whether I like it or not.
Somedays, when the universe throws curveball after curveball, I want to fall to my knees, bare my heart to the skies and scream "WHAT ELSE?! WHAT ELSE?!"