It Lingers

A couple days ago I sat in the car in my school’s parking lot, messing around on my phone, when I saw this.

IMG_6792I don’t subscribe to TimeHop or anything of the kind, but every once in a while FB will have some old post at the top of my newsfeed with a note that reminds me, “Two years ago you posted this…”

Two years ago I posted this and I STILL can’t believe I got to do it. I still can’t believe that sweet boy who had such a hard time sleeping last night is here and healthy and the most dedicated hugger a mom could hope for.

I don’t think about our journey through loss and secondary infertility much these days. It’s a part of the past that I rarely dwell on, but I can’t deny that its presence lingers. In small, subtle, almost imperceptible ways, it is a part of me.

It’s there in the complicated nature of my joy at other people’s birth announcements. It colors the edges of my celebration of my others’ good fortune. It trips my breath when a friend announces she’s going to start trying for a second child in July and stumbles through my kind words of reassurance. It resides in the tightness of the sigh at a text chain about my friend’s imminent labor, in the way I put my phone down just a little harder than I would have, in the length of time it takes me to pick it back up.

It lives in the way I cock my head at a blogger who is newly pregnant and seems totally unconcerned about miscarriage or loss (and I’m sure she is concerned, but I can’t quite fathom that she doesn’t acknowledge it). It lingers in the low grade anxiety humming in the background every time I consider pregnancy in any way, the whisperings of What if? And I hope...

It’s there, in how tightly I embrace my son and how long I hold him. It’s there, in the extra seconds I stare at my daughter’s bright, beautiful face and in the long minutes I lay close to her in bed at night, taking in every inch of her tall, lanky body.

It’s in the heaviness of old toys as I place them in the give-away bag, in the neatness of the creases as I fold the tiny shirts and pants I’ll never use again.

It’s always there, skirting the periphery, ever present but never quite in view. It’s a part of me, of every day, not as a thought or a feeling but a lens through which I bring parts of the world into focus.

I don’t dwell much on the narrative anymore, on the facts and the details, the quantifiable and the less so. I don’t parade out the numbers, of weeks, of months, of failures, of test results, of diagnoses.

Of pain, of anguish, of tears.

I don’t dwell on it, but it lingers. A distracted shimmer, a muted fog, a chilled breeze.

A post, on social media, I put up two years ago.

A reminder of what could have been, of what was.

How does it linger for you?

10 Comments

  1. Beautiful post. It lingers for me too. Several IRL friends have announced pregnancies this week and my heart aches. The sting of IF is still haunting, even though I’m immensely thankful for my miracle boys.

    1. Ah yes. The pregnancy announcements ALWAYS sting.

      My friend is due any day now (Actually she was already due) and I was just thinking that she needs to have this baby already. The pregnancy stuff still really means something to me, something more than an actual baby means (what is THAT about)? And I just really need to stop thinking about her pregnant and have her be in the new mom stage because it’s wearing on me, imagining her feeling her baby kick and the anticipation of meeting her child. That is what I love about pregnancy and it’s hard to be reminded I’ll never have that again (even though I don’t actually want it, at least I don’t want what comes after. I’m SO DONE having kids, but I LOVE being pregnant. 😉

  2. For me it doesn’t linger that much. By the time I got pg with #1 rlb I was 41 3/4. We REALLY believed it would never happen for us. So to get 2 (same batch of embies) was just unbelievable. We are SO lucky and I don’t dwell much on what we went thru, since it led us to these 2 kiddos. It helps to think that if I had gotten pg right away or if our 2 mc had stuck we wouldn’t have *these* kids.

    I do think about things tho–the other day it was 7 yrs since my 1st loss and 5 yrs since I heard my 1st child’s hb (same date–yeah, I was a wreck before the u/s). When I think of the bad stuff it’s more “wasn’t that awful” vs. ” I still feel awful about it”.

    1. “When I think of the bad stuff it’s more “wasn’t that awful” vs. ” I still feel awful about it”.” Yes. This. Exactly.

  3. It will always be part of us. But as the years pass, it will be more about who we were than who we are now, though I don’t think we’ll ever shed it entirely. (I, for example, will always be without kids, and can’t ignore it). For me though, I can now see the positives in what I’ve been through, as I write in my Gifts of Infertility series. And I think your post has touched on those as well.

    1. I don’t think, if I were given the choice, I’d give up what I went through. I appreciate the perspective it has given me, and the ability to empathize with others. I’d hate to think I might be an insufferable “fertile” if things had been different. That is a worse fate than the struggle I went through (though my struggle was much less than so many others’).

  4. This very morning, I was running with a girlfriend (who knows our story) and a new guy. When he asked me if Owen was our only, and I said yes, she jumped in to tell him that getting pregnant with him was the “work of 10 kids!”

    I was so grateful to her.

    It lingers, more than I would like it to.even though I have the utmost certainty that walking away was the absolute right choice.

    1. “It lingers, more than I would like it to.even though I have the utmost certainty that walking away was the absolute right choice.” I know exactly what you mean.

  5. Simply beautiful. It lingers when my sister-in-laws just think they’ll have another kid…and they do. Sigh. Time heals all wounds, right? Sometimes, not so much.

    1. Yeah, my friend is going to start trying in January and she is 41 and I bet you $100 she is pregnant in August. I can just feel it in my bones. (And when it happens I am referencing this comment!)

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