"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." Elizabeth Stone
I thought about this quote the other day while talking with a dear old friend about our miscarriage. She asked if we were planning on trying for another baby, and I said of course. we can't wait.
"wow, that's brave." she said.
something about that really stuck with me. Am I brave?
I suppose it could be interpreted as such. It's such a risk, being a parent. It's a risk LOVING.
If there's one thing this year has taught me, it's that you never know what's going to happen in life. if someone you love dearly will die suddenly. if you will have a miscarriage. if a friend will get Stage IV cancer at age 28. if...if...if...
Every once in a while, I get an overwhelming fear that something will happen to one of my loved ones. And then inevitably comes the thought of how much easier it would be to be completely alone and love no one.
Sometimes, I think that would be easier. Wouldn't it be easier to not have anyone to love, so that it wouldn't be so painful if something happened to them? Wouldn't it be better to never have children, so that if they get taken away you don't know what you're missing? Is the pain all worth it?
It's especially difficult when it comes to children. In my first pregnancy with Cole, I was nervous about miscarriage for the first trimester, but then I was completely calm. After all, I KNEW miscarriage after the first trimester was so rare.
But then, we lost our baby.
So next time, I thought, I'll prepare myself. I won't relax until 20 weeks, that way I'll KNOW the baby will be fine.
But then, this weekend, a dear friend of mine delivered her stillborn baby boy at 30 weeks.
I cried with her, heartbroken, at the unfairness of it all. We thought we were in the safe zone! How could this happen, so suddenly and without warning?
and I think that's the moment I realized - there is no "safe zone" as a parent. There is no set time when you will stop worrying and praying and watching over your children. There is not a single waking moment that I will ever stop thinking about Cole and hoping that he is ok. In his childhood, I will worry about childhood cancer and undetected heart defects; running into the street and falling off the top of the slide. In his teenage years I will worry about his driving and what kinds of friends he has; his self-esteem and concussions during football practice. In his twenties I will worry about his dating life and making good choices.
It will never end.
My heart is irrevocably tied to my child. It's a little bit scary, knowing how much all-encompassing and all-consuming love I have for this tiny human. It's more than a little bit risky, knowing that all the love I have invested in my child could one day be the cause of incredible heartache.
But yet, I am so eager to do it again. To have my heart walking outside my body for a SECOND time. Even with what I know now, about how hard it is to go through a loss of a child.
Am I being brave with wanting a second child? Maybe a little. But mostly, I think I'm being selfish. I can't wait to feel those tiny flutterings in my belly. To push a baby out of my body. To nourish and sustain an entire life with my breastmilk. To see those first gummy smiles, the splashing in the bathtub, the sleepy milk-drunk grins. To hold the impossibly tiny, yet so strong fingers. To diaper and change and dress and wipe and hug and kiss the little body. To watch him/her grow, learn, laugh, play, cry, eat, run.
Yes, it's a huge risk to love something so very much. But it's a risk I'm always willing to take - not because I'm brave, but because I'm a mama - and selfishly, there's nothing that is more rewarding than feeling those little arms close in tight around me ("HUG, MAMA!") and the sweet kisses planted on my lips ("KISS! KISS, MAMA!") and the sight of our child growing and learning and making the world a better place.
He's worth it. No matter what, he's worth everything.