So we were stopped at a gas station to get some outrageously priced gas yesterday, My Beloved and I, when I spotted a hugely pregnant woman in a really pretty, filmy pink tank top filling up. My first instinct was to look away, but I couldn't. She looked so, I don't know, so full of promise (if you'll pardon the pun).
It's not like she was happily bouncing around like some caffeine-infused fertility goddess or anything. In fact, she looked a little bit tired and slightly wilted in the intense heat, but there was just something about her. That something you can't put your finger on.
I watched her from the passenger seat of our car while my poor Beloved pumped gas in the heat. And as I did, I felt something stirring inside me. Instead of just jealousy and longing, I felt something else too. Not quite hope, but maybe hope's slightly less interesting, homely cousin - skeptical, wary hope.
Watching her reminded me of that time with Thomas. Eight months pregnant and past what I assumed were all the big milestones in terms of his development and viability outside the womb. I was settling into the waiting and nesting stage, knowing with certainty that he was a boy and getting more and more delighted with the idea of having a son.
I know what the pink tank top lady's baby felt like moving and rolling and kicking yesterday. I envied her, yes, but I started to think that maybe it might happen again for us - that I might feel all those things again someday.
What's more, I started wanting to.
We started trying again three months after Thomas died. In hindsight, I was no where near being ready, but lost in my grief and unable to sort out rational thought from flight of fancy, I thought I would be fine if we got pregnant again so soon.
I wouldn't have been.
Since then I've realized that I'm far more terrified than I thought I was. Getting pregnant scares the bejeezus out of me. The whole thing. Worrying about what another loss would do to me, to My Beloved to our families, worrying about what horrific thing might happen to me and the baby if I make it all the way to the end...
The mind boggles at the horror of it all.
Yes, the horror of pregnancy. Because that's what it is for people like me. Well, the idea of it anyway (not being able to actually get pregnant now I don't know what it's like to succeed after a loss like mine, but I know how much the thought of it scares me. That I know in spades).
Anyway, some of that fear - a speck, really - vanished yesterday when I watched the pink tank top lady go about her business.
But as nice as that was, I discovered that I still have a lot of work to do on the way my mind processes all things baby.
As I continued to watch her, I started thinking about what I would do if I got pregnant with a girl. I have all boy things - enough that I wouldn't have to do any pre-baby shopping - but I don't have anything for a girl.
I could easily make do with the unisex and blue outfits that belong to Thomas, and fter much thought, that was my final conclusion. I'll make do and shop afterwards. Or send out the small army of ladies I know would adore shopping for baby girl things (a team led by my fearless sibling and mother who had so much fun shopping and knitting for Thomas).
And then one last, terrible thought popped into my head.
I'll just get one girl outfit to bury her in.
That's the way my brain functions now. Good God, how awful! And what's worse is how naturally the thought fell into my head, as though it made perfect and logical sense for it to be there. As if that's what everybody does while they're pregnant - buys something nice for the baby to be buried in.
Fuck me. One step forward, two steps back.
But I did like that one step forward, and I'm still clinging to the sweetness in that speck of hope despite the thoughts of doom I know I simply won't be able to rid myself of until I'm holding a healthy, live child in my arms.