Sunday, August 9, 2009

I was trudging up one of the incredibly steep hills in my neighborhood today, listening to Richard Shindell on my iPod, and thinking of Charlotte. Specifically, I was thinking of what I had written a few days ago-- about 7 years of loneliness-- and knowing in my heart that that number is terribly wrong, because for the first 9 months of that 7 years, I was nothing but joy. Joy, hope, peace, and absolute certainty that I was the luckiest woman in the world.

But for those of you who have been there, and even those of you who haven't might be able to imagine, that when one looks back on this pre-disaster state of bliss, it is with a sense of horror. I think of myself cavorting around, flaunting my ever-swelling midsection, naively buying diapers and signing up for childbirth classes and speaking in definite terms about my future with my baby, and I almost have to look away. There is a part of me that cherishes that innocence, which I will never have again. I am grateful that I had the opportunity-- if only once-- to feel like the glowing, proud pregnant mother that so many people take for granted. Now, feeling like a ticking time bomb, I look back on that with a greater sense of envy and disbelief than anything else. It's not that I think I was actually dumb, or truly naive, I was just doing what almost everyone I know has the luxury of doing-- I was loving my pregnancy, my baby, and I was absolutely optimistic. Why wouldn't I have been?

So those nine months were not lonely, not by a long stretch. They were probably the happiest nine months of my life, to date, and while my living children have brought me joy that certainly matches that which my unborn Charlotte brought me, it is almost unfathomable for me at this point to remember that the joy I felt with her, before her birth, was ONLY that, it was just joy. It was not joy with a huge potful of grief on the back burner. I was just happy. Only glad. Simply full of hope, with nothing else to speak of. What an amazing place to be.

And yet, at the same time, I sometimes pick apart the quality of that naive joy, and wonder if what I feel now with Liam and Aoife isn't somehow a bigger joy. There is something about having climbed such a huge mountain of loss, and to be walking with a practiced gait down the other side, that makes the sun feel especially warm on your back.


Hope's Mama said...

Oh yes Carol, a thousand times yes. Today I was going to post pictures of my pregnancy with Hope to show the love and joy and the sheer innocence of it all. And I hope to find out more about that last paragraph in the years to come.
Lots of love to you. Feeling very much like a time bomb over here myself - a very large one!

Taking Heart said...

Had a young girl come in with no prenatal care, only thought she was a few months pregnant... and deliver her little girl for me the other night. She was beautiful and still. And my heart is somehow broken... 8 pounds 2 ounces. And, as I think of this young girl, I can't imagine her thought processes... her pain must be unfathomable.

I only hope and pray that you are able to bottle up that joy and remember it fondly...

Cara said...

Carol - I have missed you. Glad to read of your adventures and summer fun.

Yes, I hear the post down to it's unspoken words. I tried, really tried with Caroline's pregnancy to will the joy and easy gait back, but to no avail. Once the cup is broken it never quite goes back the same way.

Big things in the making for SSV. Hope we are able to colaborate a bit.


kris said...

Carol, I am just getting back from my own vacation travels and catching up on life in blogland. This time is full of so much emotion for you...and Charlotte, Liam, Aoife, and this new little being are all the better for your love, passion, joy, and yes, your grief.

Sara said...

Carol, I picked your for Honest Scrap if you do these things and if you ever come back! Miss you--hope you've enjoyed both bits of your away this summer.

Isla's Mommy said...

Hi Carol,

I just came across your blog last week and I read it, all of it. I am going to send you a personal email because I have so much to say, but the short version is I appreciate your writing and the honesty of it, and you give me hope.

I've nominated you for an Honest Scrap award. I just read Sara's comment and realized now you are twice nominated. Well deserved. Thank you for sharing you with us.

PS - I know you prefer to write rather than read, and you may not be so interested in doing the award part (you can see my blog for details), but I just wanted you to know you are appreciated.