Another one came up today. I wasn’t expecting it, unlike some of the others where the dates are imprinted on my mind. But there I was, smiling back at myself, with my mother and sister smiling back too. I look hot and tired but still happy. My sister is glowing, which is ironic, because she’s the one who’s sick in the picture. My mom looks young. And of course, she was 9 years younger than she is today.
The picture was taken at my baby shower.
I have just finished opening gifts for babies who would never get to see them.
My sister came in for a surprise visit. She lives half-way around the world and wanted to be there for this special day, knowing she wouldn’t be able to make it when the babies are born. She was sick, waiting for the call from a bone marrow donor and didn’t know if she’d be able to travel for a while. Still she wanted to be there for me.
It was a great shower. My best friend put it on, with cute cupcakes for eating and so many good friends and family around. We laughed, and played silly games. We joked about how big the diaper bag was and how much I’d have to carry. We had a really good time.
But as the memories come up on Facebook today, I’m not sure how to feel. Sadness, definitely. I so desperately wish things hadn’t turned out the way they did. I can’t believe I was so happy when less than a month from that picture, everything was shattered. Happiness, a little. My baby shower really was a great day, and I probably wouldn’t remember it as well if my babies had been born alive. The fact that this was one of the few happy celebrations of my sons makes it extra special. I’m not struggling to remember who was there, or whether that was some other party we had for them.
Related: Things you don’t forget
In the nine years since that baby shower, there have been many other celebrations, as well as some sad moments. Friends have gotten married, had babies of their own. There have been 40th birthday celebrations and family reunions. Some have divorced, or split up with boyfriends, or never gotten to have children. And despite my last post, most of my friends have stuck with me through all of it! My sister has been in remission five years, thanks in part to the anonymous donor who saved her life the same day my sons lost mine.
So, bring on those Facebook memories. Happy memories. Sad memories. And everything in between. They are all part of this beautiful journey of life and I will live through it all in honour of my sons.
Amanda Ross-White is the proud mother of four beautiful children, including her twin boys Nate and Sam, who were stillborn in 2007. She is eternally grateful to watch her rainbow children, daughter Rebecca and son Alex, grow around her. She is also the author of Joy at the End of the Rainbow: A Guide to Pregnancy After a Loss, which won second place in the American Journal of Nursing’s Book of the Year Awards (Consumer Health).