Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In the Present

By Cynthia Prest
I should be preparing for the birth of my baby, who would have been due right about now. I should be helping my son get ready for his duties as a big brother. I should be planning my maternity leave from work. I should be agonizing over names. I should be picking out an outfit to dress the baby in when it’s time to leave the hospital.

I can’t do any of these things, because my baby died seven months ago.

Having six miscarriages has changed me, in so many ways. Since experiencing my first loss in 2003, I no longer live in the future or in the past. I used to be an expert at living three months into the future. I planned for EVERYTHING. I cringe to think of what I missed in the present because I was either looking forward or backwards. Something in me shifted after my first baby died, and that shift has gotten stronger over the years. I went from believing that whatever I planned would become reality to realizing that I have no control over what happens. Losing that baby, after all the planning I had done, shook me to the core. Nothing felt right to me anymore. The way I had experienced the world for three decades was no longer accurate. I had always believed that if I planned well enough and tried hard enough, gave it my best, that things would work out the way I wanted. What do you mean my baby died? I didn’t plan for that. I don’t know how to handle that. Where’s the manual for this experience?

I don’t like to live with “should.” Lots of things should of happened, but didn’t. Living with “should” keeps me stuck. I don’t want to be stuck. I want to be present. I no longer want to live in the future or the past. I want to be present as my son learns how to write his name and experiences joy in the simple things, like his new winter boots that he refuses to take off, even in the house. I want to be present for my husband as he explores his newfound love of triathlons. I want to be present for my friendships, both old and new, as these people I care about tremendously navigate their new paths.

I’m supposed to get on a plane in less than 24 hours, and I’m not packed. My former self doesn’t recognize this new woman. This woman who used to be prepared for trips two weeks in advance. This woman knows that I will get packed, and I will get on the plane, and I will have everything I need. Whatever happens, no matter what I have planned or not, will be fine. I will embrace whatever comes my way, and I will be stronger for it.


Nan & Mike said...

I was like you in the "planning department", always ready for what was to come, and now, not so much. I feel this exact same way. Thank you for sharing. Thinking of you as you go through this due date for your angel. Nan xo

Salma said...

Sounds like there is a very strong women who has being hit hard by loss time and again...I hope that you will be able to be present for those friendships and that slowly but surely, it all falls into place.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain deeply and from one mother to another, I'm so very sorry. I lost my baby girl Rylee Grace one week ago today. She was born when I was only 5 months along and my water broke two weeks prior to this. I feel feelings of guilt, anger, sadness, despair, etc. There is no way to describe to another person the sadness and loss that we feel when something like this happens. I will pray for you and every other woman on this website for peace and contentment. Bless all of you who have experienced such a tragedy. My baby girl will live on forever and I pray that she will not be forgotten. She will be with me always....Jennifer in Mississippi

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I had the perfectly planned pregnancy end 2.5 weeks ago. My husband returned from Iraq - we got pregnant the first month we could. I am a teacher and the baby was due at the beginning of May - right after the big state tests that I coordinate in my school. I was so proud of myself because unlike the rest of my family my baby was purposeful. I waited until I was mature, responsible, and emotionally and financially ready. My heart broke not only for the death of my child, but for the death of my perfect plans.

Thank you for talking about living in the present. It is a struggle for me - I already have been planning when the next best time would be (6 weeks before winter break maybe...). I've been telling myself that I can't plan and I need to just let it happen, but how do you do that when you can read every sign and symptom your body puts out? Now I know I need to resist the temptation to pay attention. I've lost my first and only pregnancy - I could learn a lot from you I'm sure - about how to grieve, how to live beyond it all - about how to be vulnerable again.

My thoughts and prayers are with you as this month draws to a close - hopefully your message will stay in my thoughts for quite some time as I learn to live as you have learned to live - not in the this should have been or this is how I plan for it to be - but rather making the best of what is happening now. There must be good things happening, I just need to open myself up to seeing them.

Thank You


Rachelle said...

Beautiful and so profound! Thank you for sharing this. It took me some time before I could drag myself out of the past and away from the future plans of my babies that didn't come. For me, I felt that was an invaluable lesson I gained from the trial of miscarriage. I appreciate you sharing what you have learned as well.

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