Friends of mine often send me links to blogs they think I'd groove with, which I appreciate. But they usually include in their recommendation lines like “You probably already know about this one” - as if I spend my many free hours grazing about in the thousands of mothering blogs, reading until satiated with diaper woes and preschool epiphanies. Really, I only ever read two public blogs regularly, mostly out of habit, I think, and sometimes for other reasons I'm not completely sure of. They are wildly different from each other – one caustic and cynical, the other dreamy and laden with reverence.
A couple months back each of the blogs posted news about pregnancies – in one case a sad loss, in the other a thriving fourth-month-old fetus. In both cases, the pregnancy was planned and hoped for.
It all settled in me to extract a thought I had never paused on before, that something in me was still in the midst of full-on grieving. I grieve for the loss of opportunity to move into pregnancy willingly, to know what it might be like to have chosen to have a child and to have celebrated that choice. I grieve for the woman who might have walked hand in hand with her partner into this sleepless tumult, this joyful insanity. I wonder what she would have dreamed about, what she would have written. I envy her freedom, the lightness in her voice when she woke for the third time in the night to go pee and murmured to her husband, “What were we thinking?”
She is regal like a queen as she approaches questions from the other side of pregnancy; she is giddy like a child as she naively believes she can know the answers. – What will we do about work? Childcare? Discipline? Her excitement at finding out she is going to be a mother threatens to fell me with its dangerous optimism.
Sometimes the pain of not having her, of not being her, overwhelms me. My breathing goes shallow. I feel old and broken. Lost.
Facts are strangely compassionate in their cold truth: I cannot be her. And emotional images are what sustain us: There is a silvery ghost of a woman who visits me now and then, like someone long dead, someone with something to teach me.