The dictionary defines a scar as “A mark left by a healed wound, sore, or burn.” There is an additional definition as well: “A lasting aftereffect of trouble, especially a lasting psychological injury resulting from suffering or trauma.” This second definition describes my scar.
I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about this scar I have. Most of the time, when people have a scar, it is the result of doing something fun. Riding a bike just a bit too fast, skinning your knee while roller skating, having a C-section to bring your precious child into the world that you will watch thrive and grow.
You can’t see my scar. I did not have a C-section. Instead, I was in agonizing labor for over 48 hours with the additional agony of knowing that my twins would not be coming home with us.
Although you can’t see my scar, it might be the biggest scar of all.
I didn’t get anything fun out of this scar. In fact, my scar is the result of the worst pain I have ever been through. My scar is always there, sometimes healing over for bit, but then other times, it gets ripped open again and the healing process starts over.
This scar has changed my life. I will never be the same.
It causes me to do things I don’t want to do. Snapping at my husband. Rejecting a lunch date. Not leaving the house for a day (or more!). Missing family celebrations. Avoiding stores with lots of children. Avoiding parks with lots of children. Avoiding ANY event where I will be surrounded by children. Ordering my niece’s Christmas gifts online instead of excitedly browsing through the stores- because let’s face it, being surrounded by toys and baby clothes and happy families rips my scar back open again.
I hate that my scar causes me to do these things. I try to force myself to push through. I want to be happy and celebrate and squeal with delight again when I see a cute family Christmas card or am invited to a toddler’s birthday party. I want to stroll happily through the baby section at Target and gush over cute clothes and toys and the new line of adorable baby decor by Nate Berkus.
Before I was even married, I signed up for the Pottery Barn Kids catalog, and would even browse the kids book section in anticipation of the family I would one day have. I imagined my future family with at LEAST 3 children and since I’m a planner, I got a head start. I loved kids and I was a dreamer. I lived for this type of thing. Baby showers were my favorite. Friends, family, cute clothes, food, happiness — what could be better?
Now, the same things I used to love kill me. I wish I could smile and be my joyful self, but sometimes, it’s just too hard. Right now, my scar is starting to heal, and I know that exposure to these things will slowly break open the scab and cause me to bleed yet again. This scar of mine will truly never heal.
The holiday season is tough.
Halloween brings “Baby’s First Halloween” onesies, and little ghosts and goblins giggling in the streets. Thanksgiving brings a huge, ridiculous, American meal, and I can picture my boys here, covered head to toe in mashed potatoes and gravy. Christmas brings a mantel with two stockings instead of four. A Christmas Eve Mass missing two boys dressed in their finest identical outfits. Wishlists that will never be fulfilled. Matching family pajamas that will never be bought.
This is the price of love. This is the result of having my boys taken away from me. This is grief. I hope one day I can see a baby on a commercial and smile again instead of quickly turning the channel and wiping away tears. I hope I can see a fresh, sweet, plump newborn in a shopping cart and smile with delight again instead of quickly turning the corner. I still love all children. But mine should be here.