There are a lot of questions that I neither pretend nor expect to have answers to: why we lost our baby; why we were blessed with another child so quickly afterward; why we can walk and swim, but not fly (I’m serious); the list goes on.
Today, when we honor Ethan’s due date, there are some other questions to which I am certain I do have answers.
No, a fetus is not just a bunch of cells. I haven’t grieved for six months over insignificant tissue. Any stage of human development is just that: a stage of human life. And every single one matters.
Yes, you can miss someone you have never properly met.
No, you never stop needing your parents. I am grateful for the gift of my parents, and for the chance to be that for someone else.
Yes, being part of a church tradition is important. Having a place to go, a community to be with, and something to do in rough times is a singular comfort for me.
No, I am never alone. I am grateful to the friends who called, texted, prayed, and thought about our family today.
Yes, there is hope, even in what seems like a very dark time.
It might sound ridiculous, but after we lost Ethan, I couldn’t figure out where to put my arms when I went to sleep at night. I was used to putting them over my belly, holding our little one as best I could. It literally took me weeks to remember how I used to fall asleep, with my arms bent and curled up near my face or under my pillow—ironically, in something like a fetal position.
Tonight I will fall asleep with my arms wrapped around a baby again. A child who is moving; a child who makes me hungry, tired, cranky. A child for whom I am knitting a toy to cuddle. A child to whom Jacob gave a kiss before he went to sleep tonight. A child who I hope is not internalizing the grief and pain that has been so present in her environment thus far.
A child who is living proof that life continues, and it is a beautiful thing.