Three years ago I wrote this:
With each of my pregnancies I have become more and more paranoid of something going wrong. I can't seem to get over the feeling that at some point my good luck has to run out.
I had mentioned this to a friend at one point early in my pregnancy, wondering why some people seem to be luckier than others. And she answered that she didn't think anyone was anymore lucky than anybody else, and it would all even out in the end. That my bad luck would come eventually too.
Well, that wasn't very comforting. This idea has plagued me for months.
Why do I get to have an easy pregnancy and healthy children when my old neighbor has a stillborn with her first pregnancy. I feel like with each baby I am pushing my luck. With my first pregnancy I was naively unaware of everything that could go wrong. You got pregnant, nine months later had a healthy baby and that was that. Now, probably thanks in large part to the internet, I realize that it isn't always the case. I am painfully aware of the fragility of life.
I don't think that God rewards or punishes people like some great cosmic Santa Claus. It would be much easier that way, wouldn't it? And perhaps that is what is most disturbing to me, that bad things do happen to good people, and inversely some truly awful people lead easy happy lives.
From the beginning of this pregnancy, I have felt somewhat emotionally divested from the baby. I know that probably makes me sound horrible. I haven't bought anything for the baby, haven't made anything for him/her, haven't brought down the baby stuff from the attic, haven't perused baby name books...
My husband said to last night that he can't believe we are going to have a new baby soon. Truth be told neither can I. And that scares me, because usually when you can't picture something in your head it means that it really isn't going to happen.
But today I decided that I had to be proactive. I have to be the one with the vision and the ability to imagine this little baby and to be positive. I refuse to allow myself one more negative thought.
And so I am bringing the infant car seat inside and washing it and adjusting the straps to that impossibly small size...the size that you can't believe a tiny person could ever fit in.
It's a big step.
And if I am feeling really crazy I may just get out the baby clothing, blankets, tiny hats and socks and wash them too.
That teeny, tiny impossibly small baby is now about to turn three years old. He runs and talks and lights up all of our lives with his antics. But the fears are still there lingering under the surface, they have just changed form.
I look around the dinner table sometimes, all my children will be laughing and talking, the noise level rising up to decibels I never knew the human ear could withstand. And I think, 'I couldn't live without one of them. Not one.' And the fear of something happening to any of them makes my breath catch in the back of my throat.
I have friends who have lost children and they tell me that they do not know how they go on with life. They just do. I think about the women who just a few generations ago would routinely lose many of their children to disease or illness, and my heart aches for them.
My oldest son asked me a few days ago if I wished that I were lucky. We had been talking about winning the lottery or other untold riches. I replied that I was lucky. He laughed and rolled his eyes when I said I was lucky for having this family.
"No, I meant really lucky." he had said.
One day he will understand.
But for now I will just let him believe that I am lucky because I can fetch a good price for him on eBay.