Call it out-of-whack new Mom hormones, or the stress of moving somewhere new, or the balancing act of being at working/wannabe Stay-at-Home Mom…call it what you will, but boy, can I cry on a dime. I cry because as I lean over Kaia’s grinning, giggling face while playing with her on the floor, I suddenly realize that eventually I will have to leave her on an uplanned “someday”. And in that moment, that knowledge becomes unbearable and wicked and completely unjust. I snuggle her neck, hold her close to me, and continue to cry. She smiles again and wonders why my face is so wrinkled up and wet.
I cry driving home from Wal-Mart at 10pm with a trunkload of last minute (yet thoughtful) Christmas gifts, juice, and pet food. This time I cry because the song that was my anthem during pregnancy, the song I sing out loud to most every day, finds it’s way into a tiny crack in my heart where pain still resides over Kaia’s birth. This was the song I sang to my midwife when she asked me to ponder Kaia’s impending birth, the emotions, and the possibilities. It begins “Something has changed within me, something is not the same…”. I told myself I would sing this song to Jason when I went into labor. “Too late for second guessing, too late to go back to sleep, it’s time I trust my instincts, close my eyes and leap…it’s time I try defying gravity” (From “Wicked”). To me, I felt like labor and childbirth would be like defying gravity. Truly, it was. But tonight, this song brought back 1000 emotions at once…the excitement of labor, the wondering what she would look and feel and smell like, the last few days of aloneness as husband and wife, the smell of the room the night I gave birth, the way I had prepared my favorite sheets for the bed that Jason, I, and Kaia would cuddle in immediately following her entry into this world, the gentle way Jason supported me in the birthing tub and the loving glances we shared, and the way I knew – just KNEW – I’d be birthing Kaia in our home. “Life has a funny way, of sneakin’ up on you with you think everything’s OK” – Alanis Morisette. Grief also sneaks and snakes it’s way through your body. I think of Kaia’s birth every single time I’m in the bathtub. I sink down into the water and recall everything, things I hadn’t even remembered until then. There, my tears can simply merge with the water, and in that way join part of a life-giving force of nature.
Tonight, an image came to my mind. It was of Jason and I sitting in the dark on our bed the night we brought Kaia…home. Jason had been in the living room uploading photos of our girl and I was in darkened bedroom nursing. I began to quietly sob for the first time since Kaia’s birth. Tears made their way, one by one, quickly down my chest and onto Kaia. Many minutes went by and I released so many feelings about Kaia’s birth in each of those tears. Some for happiness, but on this night, most were tears of anger, sadness, guilt, dissapointment. Jason joined me and tenderly sat beside me. “I’m just thinking about her birth…and…” Jason hugged me and said “I know, I know” and I felt the warmth of his tears as well. For the next few hours, we cried together and talked about our experience, all while holding a sleeping Kaia in my arms. It was truly the night in which our healing began. We felt so robbed, and at the same time, guitly for feeling that way when our precious daughter, whom we loved with an enormity unexplained, was right here. Society told us we really were not allowed to feel angry and dissapointed because our baby was “safe and healthy”. We both had felt trapped in the hospital, unable to release our raw emotions, until we were back home. We had been afraid. We leaned on each other that night to finish something we had started days prior. We celebrated.
Right now, Kaia is alseep in our room with Jason. I am so blessed. A year ago today, I was only 12 weeks pregnant. I look back at photos and see a distinct glimmer in my eye. I know now that the glimmer was Kaia peeking through our world, reminding us that even through pain there is hope…that even wounds as fresh as fallen snow will someday be the badges of honor we carry with us forever…