Saturday, May 10, 2014

More Sweet Than Bitter

I don't trust anyone like I trust a mama. There are exceptions, sure -- turn on the evening news and you'll find at least one -- but for the most part, having a child, whether it comes from your body or not, awakens something in you. For me, I feel more in touch with both the most enthusiastic joys and deepest sorrows of life. My heart is bigger, more encompassing, than before.

At a carnival today, I watched my little H walk up the stairs of this huge tower-height slide by himself, and I thought my heart would beat from my chest. I knew I had to let him do it, but every muscle in me was poised to run up those stairs and carry him back down. I felt sort of panicked, until I saw another mom go up with her younger child. Having a mama up there, even if it wasn't H's own, just helped me know he'd be ok. Because as moms, we look out for other kids. It's not even like an unspoken pact -- it's instinctive.

At the same carnival, I saw a mom I've gotten to know casually in my new town. She's lovely -- the friendliest girl you'd want to meet. I know she just had a baby, her third -- I remember her telling me she was pregnant last summer. I remember because of the way she told me, casually, confidently, yet with an excited sparkle in her eye. I remember feeling envious of her way about it, knowing I would never feel anything but anxiety at telling someone I hardly knew that I was pregnant. And I felt envious today, seeing her already looking so thin, back to normal, feeling light and happy after adding yet another child to her family. And it felt awful, because I hated having any kind of negative feeling toward her, because she is so lovely, and because I loathe the feeling of wanting something someone else has when I know I am so blessed, I know I have so very much.

Tomorrow, I'll celebrate another Mother's Day, and it will be bittersweet just like last year's, when I was recovering from my last loss. Tomorrow I'll be yearning for my missing baby, still feeling beaten up and tossed around. But I'll also be so grateful, because in a way I feel even more authentically a mother this year. It's as if losing another baby has somehow brought into relief my solid, card-carrying membership in this amazing club of women who wipe noses, dry tears and can't afford to let life bring us down for long, because our little people depend on us to carry on.

To all the moms, I am in awe of you, and so grateful for the wisdom I steal from you every day. To those who are fighting to bring home babies, I'm fighting for and with you. I promise you -- it is worth it.

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