The first time I saw her face I didn’t believe it. Maybe I still don’t in a way. She swam up to us and I turned around, looked at her father, my husband, in disbelief. She’s real, she’s here, she is the most beautiful human being I’ve ever seen and I can’t believe she’s mine.
Through the years I had told myself that I really would never have a child. Even all through my second pregnancy, even after we had passed through the time our first child had died in my womb and we were in unchartered territory, I still wouldn’t, couldn’t believe this day would come. And I guess, in that raw moment, my first emotion was shock, disbelief, even in spite of all the facts and evidence to the contrary.
Backing up to my teen years, if you would have asked me if I thought I’d have children, I might have said no. I was just not maternal in any way. I’d never changed a diaper or babysat. I didn’t hold other people’s babies simply because I never had a desire to. I just didn’t get the way other women loved babies.
I was also terrified of childbirth. I once said, “Why can’t they just knock me out and take out the baby?” Funny how things happen. The girl who said that ended up having 2 drug free water births and was fully awake for both of them. I read Henci Goer’s The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, and my life was changed forever. It was the catalyst I needed to finally make the decision that my birth would not be the conventional hospital experience. My birth would be just that: MY birth on my terms.
And it was. I loved her immediately. I was in a swirl, a fog. as she was laid on my chest, as I cradled her tiny, vernix-covered body. This little girl was very real and she had been wanted for so long, even before I knew I wanted her myself.
She came out screaming, which was unexpected, but makes perfect sense now. I always heard water babies were calm, but calm has never described my daughter. She came on her due date, right in the beautiful sunny spring morning hours. I had labored all night without even realizing it. It felt like time stood still.
My second birth was a different experience. My baby boy also chose to come in the night, and by the morning I had another child. It always strikes me as funny that people went to bed and woke up to the news that I had a baby. His birth was one of those experiences where you marvel at the strength of a mother.
Sometimes I have a hard time remembering before my baby girl, but I do. I remember my baby in heaven, buried beneath the Kwanzaan cherry tree, the baby that my husband makes sure to tell our daughter about every night. I remember that I should have a 6 year old this spring, too but that wasn’t to be. That baby will always be asleep.
Maybe losing a child that you never got to meet makes you more attached to the ones you have or maybe this is how I would feel even without the miscarriage. I will never know. I do know that I want my lost baby but there’s no bringing him back, and that another baby can never replace the one you lost. I know I love my children with all my being and don’t care if that means I’m more “mother” now than anything else. I won’t apologize for “losing” myself to motherhood. On the contrary, it is with motherhood that I have found myself.
Julia worked in Advertising and Marketing before her daughter came along but now enjoys staying home with her 4-year-old daughter and infant son. She blogs at A Little Bit of All of It about those things she is passionate about like cloth diapering, breastfeeding (past infancy), bedsharing/cosleeping, baby-led solids, natural childbirth, attachment parenting, natural living, Christianity, miscarriage awareness and babywearing. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest as well.
This is edited from a previously published post at A Little Bit of All of It.
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