It gets easier.
It gets better.
But does it really?
Those are things I’ve said to myself. Those are things I’ve said to others. But I wonder…does grieving over your pregnancy, your child…does it ever get easier? Does it ever get better?
This December, it’ll be two years since Ethan went to Heaven and it sometimes feels it just happened yesterday. I often wonder what his personality would’ve been like. Would he have been precocious? Would he have been quiet and observant? I wonder all the time. Sadly, I will never get a solid answer. I will just have to keep wondering and guessing, coming to different conclusions each time.
Burying my son was and still is, the hardest thing I have ever done. The pain never goes away. It may not be as devastating as before, but it never truly goes away. Sometimes I feel alone in this. Our families refuse to mention Ethan, either out of respect for us or dealing with their own grief. It’s hard, though. I know if someone were to ask my mother how many grandchildren she has, Ethan isn’t mentioned in that count. If you were to ask M.’s parents, how many grandchildren they have, they would simply say, ‘none.’
It might be easier to lie than to explain, I get that. Most people don’t want the details unless they press for them. As a society, we’ve been taught to be happy, happy, happy. On social media, we have been trained to present ourselves in the most positive light, even if it’s a boldface lie. After all, if there is some negativity, we’ll look bad. We’ll make others look bad. That, we have been taught, is a no-no. It is better to suffer in silence than to speak about it publicly. It’s about making other people feel comfortable. If you somehow disrupt their comfort level, you’re deemed as being full of drama and being a bad person.
It sucks. I’ve had people who could not possibly relate to what I went through, am still dealing with, tell me they understand how I’m feeling. Do they? Understand what exactly? The fact that the reason I lost Ethan was due to something being wrong with my body, and Ethan was perfectly healthy, making me feel like I’m defective? The fact that if I want to see my Ethan, I need to drive to the cemetery? The fact that I’m wondering when I should bring Yoda to Ethan’s gravesite so he knows his brother? The fact that I’m getting anxiety of posting any pictures of Yoda when he’s born out of fear of someone will whisper, ‘That’s the one that made it’?
I’ve had people be happy for my current pregnancy because that would somehow take the edge off losing Ethan. Does it? I’ve thought about my son more during this pregnancy than the last 20 months of his death. Let’s make one thing clear: Yoda isn’t Ethan’s replacement. I cannot replace a child like I would with a car or a job. Nor should I be expected to.
This pregnancy has been very uneventful. Other than modified bed rest, I say I’ve had a textbook easy-breezy pregnancy. I’ve gained no weight outside what is expected due to really monitoring my diet and minimal exercise. Mentally, it’s still a mind-fuck. Instead of being excited about the new outfit I purchased or test-driving the stroller sometime soon, I have to be cautious about the milestones and hope I meet the next one. I have two doctors, my OB and my MFM, who I see on a regular basis, sometimes three times a month, to make sure my pregnancy is going as smooth as possible. If I feel any pressure in my vaginal area, I immediately start wondering if my cerclage is holding up. I find myself jealous over women who boast about their pregnancies and announcements, wondering why I couldn’t do the same thing out of fear of ‘what if?’
It’s a daily effort to stay positive and happy for this pregnancy. I know Yoda is a blessing and I’m grateful for every single moment I have with him. I wish people would understand that my pregnancy with Yoda doesn’t diminish my grief for Ethan. For as long as I live, and no matter how many children I have, I will always remember the one that didn’t come home.