Friday night we celebrated R's 3rd birthday. Tim and I love R and the group of friends gathered together. R in particular has a been a source of joy for us, because she is able to interact with us, enjoys hanging out with us, and is a girl!!
Our friends are so sensitive to our pregnancy, talk about Cara and this new little one. But it was as I was taking a picture of the four children there that I realized what I didn't have. Our little girl should be eager to get her arms around the delicious little baby boy. Our little girl should be the dark haired one in the midst of light haired girls.
On the way home I tried to reconcile my feelings. I have heard a lot of parents after loss talk about their subsequent children. "If I hadn't lost this child, I wouldn't have had the next child and I can't picture my life without him (her)." I can't do that. I simply can't. I will always want Cara to be here with us. This little one wasn't in the plan, and I wholeheartedly believe that this one will bring us joy. I just can't say I'm ok with giving up Cara to get to this one.
This struggle of reconciliation continued into Saturday. Saturday we celebrated my brother's graduation from college. My parents' house filled with family and friends. I heard the hugs and excited greetings of those who only see each other at our family gatherings. Unspoken went the last gathering we all were together at - my daughter's funeral.
At 20 weeks pregnant, my belly was object of much attention. Lots of pats, rubs, comments. An out for those who didn't want to acknowledge the grief, the sadness, the loss, which subsequently was everyone. There was only one conversation that centered around my daughter. Everyone was outside enjoying the summer night, and I sought solace in the kitchen. My mom's best friend joined me at the kitchen table. She, having lost a baby, allowed me the space to share what I was truly feeling.
I realized that my pregnancy gives others the opportunity to cope with our loss and not far from my thoughts is how much more will this child allow that. The (not) replacement child. As she is passed around a crowd, will her big sister be mentioned? She isn't now. How could she be then?
Sunday brought more tears as my friend L preached one of the most amazing sermons I have heard on the day her son was baptized. She used birth analogies to connect the birth he receives at the waters of baptism and the rebirth he will continually experience through his life.