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Always and Forever

Two weeks is such a long time. Two weeks is enough to plan an entire life

Before you get married, you sort of have a plan of what your future might look like. Husband. Kids. House. You think something like, “Well, I’m 22 now, so I can expect to have about eight children, one every two years… perfect!”

And you think they’ll all just slide in according to your master plan.

But there’s another Master Plan.

What they don’t tell you is the feeling of discovering that glorious news. It engulfs you and gets bigger and bigger and squeezes tears out of your eyes and there’s this happiness. It’s the feeling of, “This is where I’m meant to be; this is what I was created for.”

And they don’t warn you. They don’t tell you to stop thinking. Or planning. Because we all know that about two weeks after that incredible discovery, you’ve already chosen a baby carriage (“We’ll see, only if they don’t come out with yet another limited edition), argued countless times over a name (“I abhor Shmelke Zalman! No!”), and even figured out how many pennies you need to pinch for the little darling’s wardrobe (“If we only eat bread and butter for nine months, we might be able to swing this adorable Stella McCartney I saw yesterday… no, wait. I’m craving another chocolate-covered sour pickle.”).

But the reason they should warn you is because you can get blindsided. And nothing — nothing! — can prepare you for the feeling of knowing it’s over. It can hit you anywhere. Shopping. Napping. Schmoozing. Eating. Walking. Anywhere. And when it does, it’s like a ton of bricks slamming into your skull and you think, “No. Nononononono. Wait, what? What???”

And slowly the facts start to trickle in. “The carriage. Silly! Who cares about the carriage! You won’t be able to give a name for Bubby. Or Zeidy. Or, or…”

And then the worry sets in. “What if I have a real problem? What if I’ll go through countless more of these and never have kids?”

Because you’re so young! And you really don’t know better.

 

And you feel such grief, but you don’t know why, and you lie in bed all day, miserable and achy, and whomever you talk to says, “Oh, you were only six weeks along? Big deal. They don’t even consider it a miscarriage.” As if that exhilarating blood test result and those dreams were nothing. Like they carried no weight at all. As if you have no right to veg out or to feel miserable. Because, c’mon! You were barely pregnant.

But two weeks is such a long time. Two weeks is enough to plan an entire life. Two weeks is 14 nights of going to sleep with visions of carriages and baby bags and blankets and fingerprints and fuzzy hair.

Two weeks is enough time to turn you into a protective mommy. Two weeks is an eternity of looking down and thinking, “Hey, there!”

And when it’s all over, and you realize it hasn’t even begun, there’s a sense of shock that you’re suddenly expected to go back to your skinny, newlywed status. Like you were never an almost-mommy.

What they don’t tell you is that it might be okay. Because several weeks or months later, you might find yourself discovering the glorious news again. And you’ll feel the same rush of emotion. But there might be that touch of anxiety. Will this be okay? There might be consultations and appointments rather than a floating cloud of bliss. You might find yourself looking at the Stella McCartney onesie and quickly thinking, “No, don’t. You’re only seven weeks.”

And the carriage now comes in two new limited editions! But you don’t allow yourself to look at it; you have to consciously prevent yourself from smiling down distractedly, because, what if?

Slowly, you thaw. And you feel happy, and you are happy. And thriving and glowing and a typical maternity cliché.

Sometimes you’ll pass something poignant, like a deserted park on a freezing winter day, and think, “I should write a poem about that. An empty park is like a miscarriage. It could’ve, should’ve but it’s not.”

Then your baby is born with all the right pomp and brouhaha. And it’s all just like in the books but even better.

The good thing is that you do get over it, but sometimes, you look at your big boy and you think, “There’s my bechor!” And out of the blue it hits you, “Remember the one before?”

Or sometimes you’re chatting with your husband, and he says, “Right. That’s about the same time that we…” And he trails off because it’s not something you want to think about. You might choke up, just the tiniest bit, but you know you’re just being silly because it wasn’t even considered a miscarriage for crying out loud, so why do you insist on saving a little piece of your heart for the-one-that-wasn’t?

Because it wasn’t just the loss of your pregnancy, it was the loss of a legitimate reason to stare into space with a silly smile, to eat whatever your heart desires, to look forward to a doctor’s appointment, to feel like you’re an adult. Finally.

And when you lose all that, you now know what it’s like. And as much as the tidal wave of life moves you along, there’s a tiny piece of you that mourns the day you lost your naivete.

Always and forever.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 699)

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