Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fleeting

One of my girlfriends is due the day after I'm due.  We've been having a lot of fun being pregnant at the same time, and it's been great to have someone close by who is going through exactly the same things at the same time.

She had maternity photos taken last Thursday.  I could have gotten in on a session if I'd wanted to; the photographer is taking (very reasonably priced) newborn photos for both of us after the births, and she would have taken pregnancy photos for me on the same day she drove to Virginia from her home up in Maryland.  I declined because I've never been a big fan of those big bare belly pictures.  I didn't think there was any way I'd want to display such photos in our house (and I certainly wouldn't have wanted any of our family members to display them, not that they would likely have been interested themselves), and I figured it wasn't worth the expense if I wasn't going to, you know, use the photos anywhere.

Now, I'm doubting myself.  Throughout this pregnancy, I've been balancing two emotional states.  The first, of course, is immense gratitude.  This baby is so wished-for, so long-anticipated, and such a little miracle that everything about him and about the pregnancy just fills me with joy.

The second, though, is bittersweet.  This feeling hits me now and again, and almost always at unexpected times.  It's a fear that I'll never get the chance to experience any of this again.  It's the thought that I should be extra sure to enjoy every milestone, because it could be the only one of its kind.

I feel a bit lucky, both as a Catholic and as a person who has experienced infertility, that I have a keen awareness of the pure gift that our fertility really is.  Obviously any pregnancy could be a woman's last, and through no desire of her own.  But far too many couples are unaware that they are not in control; they view their fertility as something they own, something that can be turned on and off like a faucet.  I have no such illusions.  And while I'm grateful for knowing the truth, it does hit hard at times.

It's been particularly acute in these waning weeks of the pregnancy.  I feel my son squirming around in my belly and jump quickly from thoughts of hey kid, quit kicking my ribs to will I ever feel another baby growing inside me?  I have to be very careful, because the last thing I want is to lose any tiny bit of the joy of this pregnancy, this child's babyhood, his milestones, because of fear that I may not see such things again.

I almost hesitate to mention any of this at all, because I know how I would have felt had I read similar thoughts before this long-awaited pregnancy.  I know how incredibly blessed we are.  I know that even one child is far more than I-- than any of us-- deserve.  I know that this is pure gift, and I thank God every day for it.  But still.  There's a little part of me that's wistfully wishing I'd had a photographer capture this fleeting and joyous state, even if no one ever saw the pictures but me.  As much as I can't wait to meet our baby, I'm feeling the need to hold tightly to these last precious moments where he is hidden away, all mine, a squirmy little rib-kicking, heartburn-inducing miracle.

4 comments:

Lisa said...

I know how you feel. Our daughter is adopted, and we are hoping for another soon, but with every passing month of waiting, I mourn the milestones that seem so far away now that Olivia has entered toddlerhood. I long to experience those again. I don't think I'll ever get to experience pregnancy, so I can imagine from the perspective of infertility that it must be something amazing to go through that after so much waiting.

perennial-mommy said...

so beautifully said! praying for you and your rib kicker. love you!

Branwen said...

There are tears in my eyes...

Marian said...

I had the same thing with my son. He was an IVF baby, the only one of our embryos who survived (no, we didn't throw any out - they died on their own. Didn't make it any better). Afterwards we realized that IVF being what it was, we couldn't do it again (shouldn't have done it the first time,really) so I was convinced that he was IT, so even during the worst of labour I kept thinking "remember this, this will be the last time you feel that kick inside."

Then three years later, along came his sister and I did it all over again, right down to trying to remember everything because *this* might be the last time :).