“Was this a planned pregnancy for you, ma’am?” She asked the question at my appointment following the miscarriage.
“No. Is there such a thing?” She didn’t answer.
I suppose most women plan their pregnancies, carefully monitoring the intake of their pill. Are we ready for another, sweetie? No, not yet. Pop another pill.
I don’t believe you can plan children. I know several women who have conceived while on the pill, during which their unborn child laughingly says, “Ready or not, Mommy, here I come.” My daughter was not “planned” either. While I do not take any form of birth control, I wasn’t exactly expecting to return from my honeymoon with a tag-a-long. I did. Less than two weeks after my honeymoon, I received the surprise of my life–a positive pregnancy test. I am sure I went through the slew of emotions any new mother does–fear, excitement, a sense of inadequacy. Very quickly, though, the fear dissipated and the excitement grew.
That was nothing, compared to the second pregnancy test that came back positive only three and a half months after my daughter’s birth. There was a far greater fear, a much larger sense of inadequacy. Two children, twelve months apart almost to the day. I was headed for the loony bin, no doubt.
It took a few weeks longer, but the fear began to dissipate and I once again began to participate in that secret communion with my child. I was excited. I began picking out crochet patterns for baby blankets and clothes. My mother-in-law bought Baby its first pair of shoes. My own mother and I were planning ahead and making arrangements for various aspects. Another child, another blessing. But, the fear was still there. Was I going to be able to mother two children well? Was I going to fail them? Was one going to suffer at the cost of the other? I was terrified of wronging my children. But, oh the excitement!
Then the worst happened. I went in for a routine appointment, excited at hearing the heartbeat and seeing the wiggles. I never heard anything. The ultrasound screen lit up and I knew right away. While my husband smiled and pointed excitedly at our child, I was deathly quiet, watching the stillness of the body, the quiet of the chest. Nothing was there. I looked at the doctor’s face. No happiness, no joy. Only concern and then regret.
My son is now in Heaven, rejoicing with the angels and saints. I know, as his mother, I should and do want nothing less than this. Perfection. Happiness. God. He deserves the best. And now he has it. Mary is taking care of my child until one day I can join him in paradise. God snuggles him at night until I am there to hold him close to me.
First, I fought the fear. Now, I fight the guilt. I spent so much time being afraid and scared that I wasn’t able to be happy. Much of it uncontrollable, I still wish I’d been excited for longer. My son has taught me a valuable lesson. No child is planned by the mother or father. Children are a surprise, always. An immense blessing. God gives us souls when He sees we are ready, not when we deem ourselves ready.
Yes, they were close. Yes, people asked if we used birth control, said my husband and I needed more hobbies. Yes, I was afraid of people’s reactions when we told them of the pregnancy. I now wish I hadn’t been as fearful.
Next time, I will be proud, confident about the announcement, though it will come much later. I will not be afraid of a second blessing in my family. I will be so happy, so joyful. Because now, I know the other side. I know the alternative, one I would never have chosen. Most parents teach their children many lessons; I find my son has left me with many. He is still teaching me. I am still learning to understand.