This week marks one year since we found out our baby died inside of me. It feels like a world away, and both my inner world and the greater outer world has changed tremendously since then. It’s funny how time is such an illusion.
In many ways though, the world is very much the same as it was during that life-changing week. The willows have the same showy golden yellow, brightening up the browns of the hibernating forest. Carrots and parsnips are still tucked under the soil awaiting their grand entrance into soups and stews to warm the belly. The hens are all losing their feathers, expending massive energy to rebuild their keratin coat, while hiding under the porch on days where the rain doesn’t stop. Turkeys are thawing in the fridge, quinces are sweetening up the kitchen aroma, fires are lit, and the hearth is full.
I love the rhythm of the seasons.
I love that the Earth keeps going, no matter what tragedy unfolds in the human realm. I love that every November will be like this, even long after I am dead and gone. I love that I will always spend this season fondly remembering my first babe.
In our home, the seasons drive every part of our life and keep us humble and aware of the miracle of the wheel of life and death. I feel grounded now, even when my mind gets lost in the memories of life one year ago: that emergency room visit, my mom holding my face through tears, my husband sobbing too hard to call his mom, all those nights where I woke up holding my belly and crying “my baby!” I look back onto this me from one year ago–so grief-struck, so vulnerable, raw, open to the world, and embedded in the full reality of what now is. I see this woman and I want to hold her, keep her close, brush her hair, and wash her feet. I want to mother this bereaved mother.
These memories have been flashing into my mind this week, and as they appear, I honor them, feel my heart swell up, and send compassion to myself and my deceased baby, as well as the one living inside of me now. And, you know, I really feel fine. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be a wreck this week, and even though our holiday plans have changed and Andrew and I will be savoring a home-cooked meal by ourselves, I feel peace.
I suppose the biggest feeling I have right now is one of gratitude.
Gratitude for the wildness and journey of this deep fall into the well of grief one year ago, and the courageous rising up from it that has and is still occurring. Gratitude that I am living through the feat of life after pregnancy loss. Gratitude for a new-found sense of empathy for all other humans, and bereaved mothers especially. And so much gratitude for the opportunity to hold another darling soul in my womb again. I hope this child will learn that even though life has intense moments of pain and bitterness, there is still so much sweetness to be enjoyed. In fact, the pain makes it that much more sweet.