A while ago I felt that I needed a more "definite" closure in terms of our infertility journey, so I allowed myself to go through a painful "farewell party". The thing is, when you lose someone "real" (or even a pet), there's usually a funeral, but what about losing the dream of having children? Even though we've surrendered to life without kids for a longer time now, but I still felt that it was lacking something. Closure. A funeral.
I felt that my grief was so unreal and it was made unreal with the fact that I couldn't even have a decent funeral. It made sense that the grief was unreal because it was an ambiguous loss, but the knowledge didn't really help soothe my pain. I was actually afraid to grieve properly all over again because it meant that I would have to lose control over whatever might happen, but the call/need to grieve fully AGAIN was WAY too strong. I was so lost and desperate when I wrote the post for my infertility blog, but now I'm OK (so no need to worry about me - I just want to share this to raise more awareness on the acute grief an infertile may feel), so I'm ready to share it with you all in this blog as well...here's my "Funeral of a Dream".
We're in the middle of In Memoriam Forest, burying our precious dream. There's a glass coffin right in front of us. A beautiful glass coffin with some leaf engravings on top and at the sides, the patterns of which matched the kind of wedding ring that we liked but never made. There are flower bouquets everywhere and there are nobody else there except us. The coffin looks empty, but it's actually filled with so many memories-cum-possibilities-cum-hopes-that-never-happened, the things that IF (infertility) has robbed from us.
We can hear this song at the background, accompanying us to say goodbye to this dream...
We're saying goodbye to these nonexistent-memories-cum-possibilities-cum-hopes:
- Taking HPT test and then feeling the rush of excitement and unbelief when I see two lines and then running to show it to hubby and then shrieking happily while squeezing hubby with all my might. "I can't believe it, I can't believe it! You're gonna be a dad! I'll be a mom!" I probably won't be able to sit still the whole day and it'd be close to impossible not to tell anyone else right away.
- The joy and excitement of both grandmas and uncles and friends when they find out about our good news after our tough effort to stay silent for weeks.
- Going to the gyno together and hearing your heartbeats for the first time. I'll probably shed some tears while your daddy's smiling calmly beside me.
- Feeling you kick for the first time and then excitedly telling daddy about it and while daddy's always so calm about anything, I bet deep inside he wants to feel it too and he'll get plenty of chances to feel your kick as time goes by.
- Feeling tortured during nausea period and during my back pain period as you get bigger and bigger inside me. Having trouble sleeping at night and I can't wait to see you, but at the same time I don't want you to get out too soon. I worry about you and try to do my best to eat healthily and avoid certain things that aren't good for you.
- Excited and scared while waiting for your arrival. After all, I won't be able to deliver you in this village, but I have to go to Rovaniemi (about 1,5 hours by car from here) and I don't want to deliver you in an ambulance just like what happened to a friend of mine.
- After hours and hours of pain and agony, finally you arrive. Welcome to the world, kiddo! There are so many people waiting for you and ready to shower you with love.
- Your hair is dark. Darker than daddy's, but less dark than mine. Your nose is exactly like daddy's. Your eyes are the combination of ours. You look so small that I'm afraid I'm gonna squash you if I hold you too tightly. I never know that holding a small baby for a long time can really make my arm numb...daddy and I have been exchanging glances and our hearts are bursting with so much awe and happiness. We can't believe you're finally here!!!
- Now the tough time really starts...sleep deprivation and total chaos in the house, but that's all right. I may get grumpy sometimes, but I still love you anyway. If you're as feisty as I was when I was a baby, maybe you'll bite me if I breastfeed you and then you realize that there's no more milk. *chuckle* And then I'll have to do what my Mom did with me - pinched my nose so that I'd breathe through my mouth, releasing her of the pain that my gum had caused her.
- You keep on growing so fast and learning so much. First tooth, first words, first step...We take so many pictures and videos of you over the years. I can't believe how occupied I've been with you. I long for some adult conversations in peace every now and then, but I suppose your grandma would be willing to take care of you for a few hours so that we can have some quality time or I can enjoy some adult conversations without you.
- At home I speak to you in English and you speak Finnish with daddy. I want you to be bilingual because that's going to be helpful in the future.
- Then when you're old enough, I'll tell you so many stories: our love stories, how we met, how we fell out of love, how we restarted our love, stories of your grandmas and grandpas and so many other people you may not even get to know. But these stories may help you learn life lessons.
- I can't believe how many questions you're asking me these days. What is it? What is it for? Why? Why? Why? Thank goodness there's the internet 'coz mommy can't possibly answer all your questions without it.
- And then you start testing the boundaries and power struggle begins. Mommy and daddy have to stand our ground and be united to discipline you. But at the end of the day, even though we're sometimes at our wits' end, all the troubles melt away when you hug us with your little arms, kiss our cheeks, and say, "I love you, mommy. I love you, daddy." And gosh, you look like a perfect little angel when you're asleep. *chuckle*
- We both grow older along with you and now you've started mingling with other kids. It feels as though only yesterday you were a baby and now you're already as tall as me. It hurts us to see you hurt, but real life is tough and you've got to learn some things the hard way. Whatever happens, we want you to know that we love you despite your mistakes and our limitations as parents and we hope that we can help you become an independent adult and human being who has compassion towards others.
Now you and I squeeze each other with all we've got, tears streaming down our cheeks. I sob and choke...the rain is pouring down hard upon us, as if the sky understood and cried with us...
- I can't believe how tall you are now! As tall as your daddy and you're now ready to leave us and start a new life in another place. Tough as it may be to let you go, I have to remember that you've got a life of your own and it's time to spread your wings and fly.
- Maybe you'll grow up to be a rebellious person like me or maybe you're an easy-going person like your daddy or maybe you're a people-person like my Mom and your uncle. Maybe despite the rebellious years, you'll turn out OK. Or maybe you'll never ever be a troublesome kid at all (like your uncle) and you'll be one of those kids that don't give their parents a headache. All those maybes...all those possibilities...we'll never know, we'll never know...We're sorry we've never met you.
Goodbye, darlings...Just know that we love you and we miss you and it really hurts to say goodbye this way but we know that if you had been there, you would have wanted us to let go of you and move on and be happy with our life together.
And after the song is finished, with our soaked clothes clinging to our bodies, we look at each other and realize that the rain has stopped...and the sun has started to come out again.
Yes, "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." -Psalm 30:5