A year ago today I walked into my local hospital for a routine prenatal ultrasound. After the technician very professionally performed the exam, a trainee by her side, a doctor came in the room, checked me again, and informed me that they could not find my child’s heartbeat.
I feel as if I am writing about one anniversary or another pertaining to Ethan every other post. The reality is that there are lots of milestones (what’s the opposite of milestone?) in this process of grieving and healing. One does not simply start where the other ends.
If I’ve learned anything about miscarriage, it’s that it happens more often than you’d think. Even in a “first world” country, with health insurance and access to the talented doctors who work in New York City, it’s not something we can prevent. It’s not even something we can fully explain.
This past year, I’ve even noticed it more and more often in books and movies. It’s there, but it’s still almost silent—something that changes someone from the inside out. Something that makes, most often, a woman more introverted, lonely; something whose void creates a sense of longing that either expresses itself elsewhere or becomes almost too hard to bear.
Yesterday morning’s Gospel was about the paralytic whose friends brought him to Jesus through a hole they made in a roof. The homily asked that we consider who in our lives brings us to Jesus. Who are the people who are there for us, who carry us, when we cannot carry ourselves?
Right away I thought of my family—especially my siblings-in-law who wrote me (us) letters after we lost Ethan. Two of them are young men clear on the other side of the country with more exciting things to do than worry about the emotional state of their sister-in-law. And yet the letters came, expressing pain, love, hope, and gratitude. They, as well as my parents, who were at my side immediately and John’s,
who were instantly on their knees praying for us, brought me to Jesus—and Jesus to me—when I couldn’t carry myself.
Twelve months ago I could not imagine where I would be today. I hoped there would be a new child in my arms, but I hadn’t yet processed that it wouldn’t be the one I still carried. I believe that in his own way, Ethan also carried our family to where we are today. To a place where I can easily, happily say I have two kids and let my heart rest, knowing that Ethan is in each of us, especially Henry. Especially me. To a place where I look at my boys every day, and despite being very, very tired, feel I can describe my status as nothing other than deliriously happy.
The blog has been less of a priority these past weeks because 1) I’ve been recovering from childbirth; and, more importantly 2) I am thoroughly enjoying my role as a mom. Though I am still writing and knitting and reading, I am happier with less on my plate. I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but for the first time in my motherhood, I am firmly content with being “just” a mom.
Don’t worry; I’m not going anywhere. I have a couple of posts drafted and just haven’t gotten to finish and post them yet. In the meantime, I am sad today, but full of joy and thanks for the comfort and the love I experienced this last year. That means you, readers. Thank you. Know that my prayers are with all of you today.