A Joyful, Painful Christmas
Living in Florida, the sun is always shining. It rains while the sun blazes overhead, and there isn’t a cloud to be seen for miles and miles. I’ve always tended towards the melancholy, and living somewhere people vacation to for it’s sunny perfection was always so contradictory to how I felt inside. Not that I was depressed, but I felt things so completely from a very young age. Sensitive, some would say. My mom tells me that if we were in a store and I caught sight of stuffed animal or toy with big, sad eyes or a pained expression, I’d beg to take it home. Tears sometimes flowed as I explained that it was lonely and sad. It needed me, I’d plead. I just couldn’t see someone or something in pain without an intense urge to wrap it up in my arms and hug away it’s hurt.
We found out we were pregnant with our sweet baby lost this time last year. After ten months or so of trying, it was so miraculous and I truly believed it was a gift from God. That sunny Christmas was a welcome season of warmth; though I would’ve preferred a Winnie-the-Pooh kind of blustery holiday, I felt warm and full with new life . The fact that I wasn’t enjoying a cold and snowy Christmas didn’t bother me so much. One short year later, I stare up at the sun and loathe it. It’s such a fake, such a farce. I find myself desperately needing the cold and windy and dark this, especially now. It makes me feel at home in my own skin, and after losing a baby, it’s so hard to feel that way anymore. As I type this, Rigby Moses is kicking from within my womb, bouncing the laptop ever so slightly. He brings me joy in the midst of pain. I feel so wholly, so completely, and no one can feel completely sorrowful and completely overjoyed at the same time. But this time of year, in these circumstances, I can. I’m the splintered psyche, the rain that pours in the blazing sunshine. I can see the sad, hurt mama inside but I can’t console her or hug her hurt away because then I’d be abandoning the joyful mama-to-be that shares her skin.
I’ve never had a holiday season quite like this one. So grateful for the baby that I’m carrying and longing for the one we found out was living within me just one year ago. Celebrating the baby boy we are so much closer to bringing home while mourning the one we lost. I’ve never had a Christmas that made me cry tears of joy and sorrow simultaneously. I’ll sit in my bath, a nightly ritual that I’ve come to cherish, and feel our sweet boy wriggle and roll and kick and it’s so magical. Then a song will come on-tonight it was The Promise by Tracy Chapman-and my whole body shakes from the sobs. I am splintered, split, broken, the downpour in the midst of a clear, sunny sky. Christmas is a time of birth, new life. As I sit in my bath, the water rippling from the baby or from my crying or from both, I can’t see that. Not yet. Because loss is always so close, waiting in the shadows, an ever-present grinch ready to steal your presents right out from beneath your Christmas tree. I want to celebrate this new baby, this precious boy, but I can’t trust that he’s really ours to keep, that he’s here to stay.
I already have what I wanted for Christmas this year: to be pregnant again, with a rainbow baby that might just make it into our arms and lives and future. I just didn’t realize how much sadness such a beautiful Christmas gift would bring. I guess living in Florida was preparing me to live like the weather phenomenon it so often brings: sun showers. I am a sun shower, I’m a sunny day blanketed by cold. I’m the splintered psyche, the split personality, the joyful melancholia. Christmas will never be the same, so I guess this is me learning how to be this new person. This holiday season, my first as a babylost mother, I’m learning to live in this broken body that houses two people madly in love with two different babies, one of which will never be in her arms.
In a time of birth and new life, of a savior being brought into the world, I have to wonder what will save me this year. Maybe the miraculous conception this year will be the conception of a new me. It has to be.