Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Subtle


It is not uncommon, nor, I believe, unexpected for bereaved parents to go about their day with a subsequent baby while a second thought-track plays on. Would he have snuggled like so too? Would he have had more patience? Would he have insert any one of a million little things here? It is a new way of missing, sort of a granulation of the missing. All those things we never got to know about the baby who died now playing out with this new baby. And we wonder.

It is subtly different to watch that new baby, as it happens with me from time to time, and as it happened tonight while I was getting him ready for bed, and realize that he didn't have to be here either. There are no guarantees, remember? Anything could've gone differently at any point, and then we wouldn't know any of these things we already know about him.

Breathtaking thought, that. And it takes me to a place other than my usual duuuuude, but we got ridiculously lucky this time.

In the early days and weeks I unknowingly worried that I loved A less, and was greatly relieved to realize that it wasn't the case. So suddenly tonight I am thinking of that very common way parents talk about their babies, the "I am falling more in love with her/him every day." Suddenly tonight I am thinking about how that implies change over time, and not just in the speaker. Babies change so fast, they grow so much. From one day to the next there is a million ways a baby could change. That saying above seems to indicate that the more they develop and change, the more you get to know them, the more you love them. That bothers me. It bothers me because if that's how it goes, then, logic dictates, we love our dead babies less. But I am sure that I am not the only one who doesn't.

So I think it's like this-- the love, it's already there. And it's deep and infinite, as always. What happens with a live baby, I think, is that as we get to know them, we get to see that love reflected differently, anew, in each new day and each new thing. If you think about it, though, it happens with the dead ones too-- something in our world strikes us anew, makes us miss them anew, shows us this new to us facet of our loss, of our love.

So much in this post can probably be labeled semantics. Seems tonight, just like the day I started this blog, semantics are important to me.

24 comments:

sweetsalty kate said...

Ahh, yes, just like that. How divinely put.
xo

CLC said...

Oh, he's gorgeous. I couldn't stop looking at him, it's like I can't believe he is here either!!

And you put it just right. Thank you.

christina(apronstrings) said...

i am sorry that so much is tinged with so much. though, it couldn't be any other way.
he's a cutie.

Tash said...

Just yesterday at bedtime, I told Bella that even though she drove me crazy at the store and whined a bit too much, I loved her anyway. Like you said, love is already there, obnoxious or not, dead or alive. I think what I am reminded of most is that there's no return on her little sister's -- there's no hug or smile or even "Whatever, mom." It's hard to rid of unrequited love, and I suppose it changes over time in it's own way, too.

Lovely post, and duuuuuuude, lovely child.

red pen mama said...

That is exactly right. You are so good at putting into words thoughts I have as i go through my days with my girls, born after the loss of my son. And the thought, too, "How would they (his sisters) be different if he were here too?" My Monkey wouldn't be the oldest, she would be the middle. Bun would be "the baby". (She could still be the baby, but she might also end up a middle.)

Congrats again. And he is beautiful.

ciao,
rpm

El said...

Ah, what a pretty little one. A balm on a cold day.

I don't love my dead babies less. As time goes on, I love them more, in the infinite possibilities played out in their brothers' and sister's lives: I love them more and miss them with a heady ache. Who would they have become? I want to know and only the wind replies and it is sad.

niobe said...

Somewhere among my hundreds of half-drafted posts, I have one called something like: where love goes. It's something I've thought about a lot. Thank you for writing this.

c. said...

Semantics, schmantics. It's a nice way to think about it all the same.

Beautiful post, Julia. Beautiful boy. XO.

luna said...

he's just gorgeous!

Amelie said...

Beautifully put. And thank you for the picture.

janis said...

This post is simply gorgeous. I loved it, thank you.
And, what a beautiful boy you have. xoxo

Lori said...

I wrote about this once too, I called it layers of love. I like your explanation even better.

The thing is that a mother's love is like no other because in any other relationship it does take time to grow love, so to speak. Maybe that is why so many make the wrong assumption when it comes to our lost babies. They are placing the expectations that come with other relationships onto the mother-child relationship which is like no other. If that makes sense.

He takes my breath away. That sweet little face.

k@lakly said...

I have always lived by the notion that no child is ever raised by the same parents, our life experiences with each affacting the next, and along with that idea came the belief that while we as parents draw from the same unlimited well from which our love comes, it is never applied to our children in the same way. We love them all from the same place but we love them all differently in their own unique way.
I have been wondering often these days how my 'theory' might play out if I get there, your words offered a quiet comfort that indeed, the love would remain and he would not be diminished by one who got a hell of a lot luckier....

Your son is just mesmerizing to look at. Lucky doesn't even begin cover it. Does it?
xxoo

Ya Chun said...

A beautiful way to look at it. Your love grows and changes not only as your child changes, but also as you and your perspective change.

erica said...

My doctor talked to me about when we could "start trying" at an apt. last week, and since then I've been struggling with feelings that having another child would be a betrayal, somehow, of our son. This helps. Thank you.

zarqa said...

Yes, exactly.
I'm surprised, when the thought of "what if" crops up, that it isn't always overwhelmingly sad either. Just a matter of fact place my mind goes automatically. My first was a boy and my subsequent is a girl and, when prompted to think about how things like introducing solids, sleep training, potty training, [insert developmental stage here], is different between girls and boys, of how girls are reputedly easier, my mind naturally goes to my son: would I have had a tougher time with all these developmental things with him? And, oh, what sweet sweet work that would be were I given the chance to do it! Made all the more inaccessibly sweeter because I have my daughter. Seeing her makes me love him more!

My Reality said...

He is beautiful!

Pamela Jeanne said...

The ache for those whom we didn't get to meet is a persistent one.

Rosepetal said...

He is so beautiful - I love his expression! Thanks for the photo.

diana said...

The photo is the perfect image for http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUUCwY67ewk. You are rich to have so much love!

Lollipop Goldstein said...

He is gorgeous and those eyes look so intelligent and alert.

Anonymous said...

Your children are beautiful, thank you for sharing so much with us.

Mollie

charmedgirl said...

sometimes i think about my love for paige as the most selfish love there is; it makes me a stronger, more sensitive person without any of the frustration or work of a live baby. the split second after that, i think about my love for her as the most unselfish; i can only give and give and give it and never get anything back...i can never get HER back...it's like the sucking out of my soul.

i am better (so much better) and so much worse off for having her.

i am more and more often thinking (as i go back and forth) about whether having another baby would just make it hurt more. healing, or hurting? probably both, huh?

(he is gorgeous, by the way.)

Lori said...

I clicked back over here tonight because, well, I'm weird and don't have Reader or anything so I just pop over to the blogs I love now and then. Anyway... I just had to ask, am I the only one who thinks this child has a bit of a smirk on his face? What a knowing look on such a tiny face!

I just had to say.