Heather asked a good question in the comments yesterday: Will I always think of Thomas when I hold another newborn? Will time, and possibly another child of my own, ease that grief?
The answer is I just don't know. Time has already done incredible things for my soul. I'm so much more whole than I was for pretty much the entire first year after we lost Thomas, and despite the sorrow I write about here, my "real life" (the time I spent not blogging) is a pretty decent balance of hope and happiness, under the circumstances. Not just hope in terms of adding to our family, but hope in general. And I work very hard to wring as much happiness out of every day as I possibly can.
It may not appear as though I'm succeeding, but I really do try.
As far as holding new babies goes though, I think it will always remind me of holding Thomas, at least in some small way. I don't see how it can't. It's such a physical memory - the weight and warmth of a baby, the way your arms cradle it and protect it. The only way you can accurately conjure that up is to do it again - to hold another child. And since that doesn't happen all that often (even for the non-bereaved), the memory sneaks up on you. Your body forgets until it feels it all over again.
You can think you haven't forgotten the feeling of riding a bike, but it's only once you actually hop up onto the seat that you say, "Ah yes, now I remember."
I've heard a million older women with someone else's newborn in their arms say, "Oh, this takes me back! I can remember when my daughter/son was this size". It's no different for me. Why should it be?
What is different is that instead of the memory taking me back to a sweet, happy time, it takes me back to the tiny vacant office/storage room where we took turns holding Thomas as waited for him to die. That was the first time I held my child.
The first baby I held after Thomas was the hardest, and that memory hit me like a ton of bricks. But now when I see a baby (any size baby) I crave that contact. Yeah, it hurts like a mother fucker, but it's impossible not to want to hold a tiny little thing in your arms and rock it to sleep. It feels like my arms were built for that and, having been robbed of the chance, can't resist filling themselves up with sleepy babies at every opportunity.
I hope that if we someday have another baby I won't sit and think about Thomas every time I hold that child - every time I look at him or her - but I know it will be impossible not to sometimes. I will be seeing and experiencing everything I missed with Thomas. I will know then, in a very tangible way, what up until that point I'd only been able to imagine we lost when we lost him.
But if we didn't love Thomas so much - if we didn't know that kind of love existed - we wouldn't be trying to hard to find it again. We wouldn't be risking so much sorrow and putting our hearts on the line over and over again to bring new love into our home.