A little over a week ago, I helped host a baby shower for a dear friend. I was happy to do it. As her bestie, it's my honor and privilege to stand by her side in celebration of beautiful life moments such as these. Her shower turned out more beautiful and perfect than I could have ever imagined, save for one distinct personal detail - I wasn't pregnant.
Last September when I learned I was expecting, my pregnant friend and I were overjoyed for what our dual pregnancies would mean. There would be maternity shopping sprees, epic gorge-fests, and of course, double baby registries! She was due in March while I was due in June, and together our babies would grow to be great friends, just as we did.
Even with blood draws to confirm a possible chemical pregnancy just days after my positive result, there were no limits to the dreams I made for my third baby. My pregnancy wasn't just the promise of a baby growing up with a best friend, or the many beautiful ways my family would embrace this new member, it was more than that - and it was deeply personal.
This pregnancy would be my final jaunt down maternity row and last chance for a daughter. This baby would be my final opportunity to embrace new motherhood with more experience and less worry, promote my youngest to big brother status, and further soften the heart of my sometimes stoic tween.
But the promises of my pregnancy were not meant to be. Within a few short days I miscarried, and along with the loss of my baby came the loss of everything s/he represented. I made both my pregnancy announcement and statement of loss in one blog post because it helped my heart to do so, but I wasn't prepared for what would obviously come next - the questions.
Are you going to try again?
When are you going to try again?
Do you want to try again?
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I can't blame folks for asking; these questions represent the next logical chapter in my family's story. The problem with the questions is that I don't know the answers. I asked a spiritual friend how I might begin to uncover a clue or hint as to where to go from here. She suggested I find a quiet space, dig deep into my heart, and ask myself the pointed question: Do I want another baby?
I felt like the answer to that question was supposed to be obvious. I wanted another baby before this miscarriage. I wanted another baby after my previous miscarriage, so why then is this question, well, even a question?
It is because it just is. My heart was younger and braver and more willing following my first miscarriage than it is today. I'm older now, more fragile from loss, and all too aware of the doubt and fear that another pregnancy could bring.
But I had to ask the question, if for no other reason than wanting out of fertile purgatory. I wanted to settle my heart, make a decision, and heal faster, so I sat on my bedroom floor with eyes tightly closed and breath slow and even. I dared to ask my heart whether I wanted another baby - shushing away the deafening tick of my biological clock and whisper of bodily self-doubt. I asked again and waited.
My head piped in first (as it so often does) to tell me that I already have two wonderful sons, a loving husband, and a house and finances that fit the four of us perfectly. Maybe too perfectly. We have a groove and a dynamic that works so well. Perhaps too well. A baby would change all that, not necessarily for the worse, but certainly for the different.
My heart responded in the most obvious way, reminding me of the promises and sweet dreams I dared to imagine just last September. If only I could shake the sorrow of all I had lost, focus instead on the blessings I have, and banish the guilt of wanting more. But I can't. Not yet.
I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but today I choose to hold on to the maybe of it all. I don't want or need to make this decision while my heart is still healing, so maybe I'll just stop searching. Maybe it's OK to settle on maybe. And maybe, in time, the answer will find me.
Photo source: Lori Garcia
-By Lori Garcia