With Father’s Day happening yesterday, it has left me thinking a lot about the role my husband has played in all of this: from the first pregnancy, to our loss, to our first PAL journey, to now.
I think a lot of fathers have the natural ability to be more level-headed through times of despair, especially in terms of pregnancy loss, when a mother’s experience is wildly different.
My husband will always have more faith in my body than I do.
This week, for the first time EVER this pregnancy, he got to attend one of my appointments with me. This hasn’t been a possibility initially do to work, and then COVID-19 made it even more impossible.
Directly after the appointment, we were talking, and somehow our children got brought up and I said, “I’m trying to get them all out alive before I worry about anything else.” To which he replied that it was obvious Joey was going to survive. This is based on the gestation we reached, the reassurance from my medical team that she’s healthy, and the amount of monitoring she’s been receiving. Now, he finally got to ask his own questions and hear it for himself.
Even though I probably already realized it, it occurred to me all over again that even though we both went through the loss, we both went through the scary end to my pregnancy with Madeline, only I continue to struggle to trust. Whether that be with my body, my doctors, or a God I don’t always believe in, my trust has been shaky at best since losing Rossi.
When he said so nonchalantly that OF COURSE she was coming out alive, I knew that he was being earnest and not just hopeful.
I’m certainly not mad at the fact that he’s not corroborating my fears, but his confidence did spark a twinge of jealously inside me. Why am I doomed to fear everything, to take such caution, keep questioning and overthinking? 31 weeks and I still can’t fully embrace the idea that I’ll have that sweet girl sleeping in that empty bassinet at my bedside soon…it feels like it’s always going to be empty.
And then I thought about it some more. I shouldn’t be annoyed, or envious, over my husband’s simplistic approach to what is already a complicated and stressful enough pregnancy. His quiet counteracts my loud. His faith keeps trauma grounded. He doesn’t see it that my body failed us with Rossi, and nearly failed us with Madeline. All he sees is that this body brought him his three beautiful children, and has persevered through so much more on top of that.
There’s no denying that although all the events are the same, we both walked through each tunnel completely differently.
And that’s okay. It doesn’t make either of our journey’s any less valid or worthy. Through these last four years of growing our family, my response was to personalize every bad or scary thing that happened. Blaming myself seemed a lot easier than blaming the world. Whereas my husband simply rode the wave. There were times he was angry and scared, you could tell. At the end of the day, though, he knew that he needed to push through because there was still so much happiness and life to be had. I’m grateful every day that he continues to be the person who lives in the here and now, when my heart is stuck in the past and my brain is so caught up in the future.
Today, my husband was dazzling over the thought of Madeline meeting her baby sister for the first time with me. I couldn’t help from being intoxicated with his excitement.
Despite the weight of all the “what ifs” hanging off my shoulders, he still is able to make me as elated as the day we decided our family wasn’t quite complete just yet.
Happy Late Father’s Day to all of the dads out there, especially those who have experienced loss. Your strength, your courage, and your resilience do not go unnoticed. We may have carried the babies, you, however, continue to carry and lift us through the rest.
Thank you will never be enough.