The Life you Want

I have to admit, finding the time to write here lately has been a challenge. You find time for the things you want to find time for, which would explain my watching a Law & Order marathon with my husband, hosting a Super Bowl mini-party, and making a second batch of home brew, all in the last silent-on-the-blogging-front week. I also spent a day at home with the flu, found out about a few more pregnancies (none of which are my own) and gender reveals (girls, girls, girls), and found an excuse to interpret my tingling gums as a pregnancy symptom.

Thanks, Google!

I haven’t felt like pep-talking myself here, and I also have learned that if I write too many dark-themed posts in a row here, I start to get concerned texts from family and friends and free-passes to skip baby showers.

I have been busy, but I’ve also been bummed. We are officially behind schedule on Baby Dub Dos, and I realize that writing about our future progeny so openly is only putting more pressure on. I sometimes wish that I’d lied and said I don’t want to get pregnant right away – then I wouldn’t hear that second question when my friends ask me “How are you doing?” and I wouldn’t feel like I needed to openly and loudly order a beer or a caffeinated beverage at every get-together. “Nope – still not pregnant – look, its a beer!”

It isn’t that life in general is bum-out worthy. I had to tell my husband the other day, “I really have to stop thinking that just because I’m not pregnant, my life isn’t good.”

I started a new job, and I’m good at it, and I enjoy it. Used to be that would be enough to have me floating on cloud 9! People who have known me long enough know that my career endeavors have always been high priority – whether it was my 40 hour work week as a Shift Supervisor at Starbucks during college or my high school days as a top Replay Card seller at Sam Goody. I’ve run a million dollar business, I’ve helped build a start up, and now I get to put my mark on our community’s fast-growing theatre. I’m a hard worker, and I do my best to make any endeavor successful. Having something I’m so passionate about (theater and the arts) to pour my talents into (marketing) feels good. But it isn’t the life I want for myself now.

I’m getting in great shape. I lost all the baby weight in about 3 months, but I still didn’t fit into most of my pre-pregnancy clothes (pregnancy stretches your s*** out, man). So I trained for and completed a half marathon in under my goal time (just barely). After the holidays, I started a return to whole foods eating practices, and picked back up with Shaun T. and Insanity. I now weigh less than I did when I got pregnant with Hudson and I am starting to rock some legit abs. If I keep it up, I’m going to be in my best shape when I turn 30 in April, just in time for the beaches of Maui. I might even finally attain the Goal Weight that I’ve been shooting for since HIGH SCHOOL. But this isn’t the body I want for myself now.

I have this amazing husband, an over-the-top family, and these incredible friends. Losing Hudson has made me appreciate PEOPLE so much more, because when you lose your baby you realize that life in general is a miracle. You are a miracle. Every life makes this indelible impression of the world, however short. I have a deeper appreciation for the ways that my friends change the world, I try to listen better, to be more present, to call more often (though I know I still fail in this department), to make time for people, to love them for all of the ways that my life would be empty without them. I’m grateful for this new perspective… but this isn’t the perspective I want for myself now.

I should ban myself from Facebook. It seems I can’t log on without reading of another pregnancy, and every time I see those announcements (“Bump Ahead!” “Best Big Sis!” “Mommy’s Due with Baby 2!”) I am ashamed of myself for my reaction. At about the same time as I think, “Oh good!” I also get near-drowned with this tidal wave of resentment at how effortlessly it seems these people get to experience the happiness of adding to their family.

I know this is irrational. And I want to make sure that any of my pregnant friends reading this know that I don’t “hate you because you’re pregnant” (This is verbatim from a friend after she told me she was expecting: “Please don’t hate me because I’m pregnant.” I promise, I don’t.). FAR from it, I’m all for pregnancies. I don’t resent my pregnant friends. I resent my own life. I resent the fact that we don’t get to experience happiness effortlessly, ever again. Every happy moment is always shackled with the harsh reality that we should be experiencing it with Hudson, too. That’s a For Life problem that will never go away, not when I have another baby, not when I’m done having babies, not ever. I’ll always miss a life that didn’t get to last, and I’ll always miss the life that I was supposed to have with her.

The life I want for myself died when Hudson’s heart stopped beating.

A friend of mine who lost her daughter (I’m horrified at how many friends of mine have experienced this kind of loss) sent me a message on Facebook in the weeks right after Hudson’s death. It has been several years since her daughter died, so she was coming at things from the perspective of somebody a bit removed from the horrific Right-After. She told me that life will be “fuller, although you miss her, and always more precious BECAUSE of Hudson!” She’s right. Life is fuller, even with this gaping emptiness, and I don’t need years removed from her death to recognize it. Sometimes I just need to make the time to make this the life I want, because I don’t get another one.

What’s that song… love the one you’re with? I am going to love the life I have. There’s so much to love.

See, I’m doing it even thought I didn’t want to… I’m pep-talking myself.

I guess I can’t help it.

I may perceive things as though other people get to experience happiness effortlessly, but I wouldn’t trade three days with Hudson for a lifetime of effortless happiness, no matter how hard things get in this dreadful Just-a-bit-After.

I say “I may perceive things as though…” because it seems like time has passed so quickly for other people, that yesterday’s pregnancy announcement is today’s gender reveal and tomorrows labor and delivery. The days are long but the years are short. I don’t know the months, years of trying that may have gone into a friend’s pregnancy announcement. Not everybody writes a blog where they announce to the universe that they are trying to conceive. We have friends who spent years and thousands of dollars trying to get pregnant, and after IVF failed, they got pregnant right away… the good ol’ fashioned way. We knew they’d been trying and were overwhelmed with joy when they shared their good news. It seems like it took them two seconds to get pregnant, but at the time it felt like forever. It seems like only yesterday my SIL was telling us she’s pregnant. Now we’re counting down the days to delivery. Being pregnant with Hudson felt like an eternity, but my SIL’s pregnancy is flying by. The days are long but the years are short.

So you make the life you want out of the life you have. What seems like eternity to me now will seem like the blink of an eye when my wriggling wrinkled baby is placed in my arms, taking their first steps, blowing out their diaper for the umpteenth time, saying their first words. I will look back at the place I’m at today and I will want to tell myself to be patient. I will want to tell myself that life gets more and more beautiful with every day, and that there is beauty to be appreciated in these bummed-out days, too. I will want to tell myself to appreciate The Hubs, because he is a selfless, caring father whose world revolves around his baby (and you aren’t even the least bit jealous). I will want to tell myself to keep kicking a** at work, because what you think is hard now pales in comparison to midnight feedings and diaper changes (and you’re pretty darn good at that stuff, too). I will want to tell myself to snap a few more pictures on the beach in Maui, because those abs are long gone (and you’re cool with wearing maternity jeans throughout the 4th Trimester while you “nurse off” that baby weight). I will want to tell myself to make a few more phone calls, take the long weekend trip, buy the plane ticket, because once you bring home baby, every relationship changes (and you’re cool with having to coordinate baby-free dates from time to time, but watching each others’ kids grow up together is pretty cool, too).

I can’t change the fact that Hudson didn’t live. I can’t get back the life I wanted for myself. I can only make the most of the life I have now. Sometimes, I’m not strong enough to do that, and I feel sorry for myself and I stop making time to blog, to pep-talk, and that’s okay. I have permission to do that, as long as that isn’t where I stay.

But today, I’m glad that I made the time to write about where I’m at. I am glad I unintentionally pep-talked myself into a better day. I am glad that that is the kind of person I am. I might not have the life I wanted for myself, but I love the life that I have.

It is, simply, beautiful.

Our beautiful, fierce little red head.

Our beautiful, fierce little red head.



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5 thoughts on “The Life you Want

  1. Sarah Winslow says:

    This picture is so beautiful! She really does look like you! And that hair is so special! I wish she could have rocked her red locks forever…

  2. Shawna says:

    I wonder if you have any idea how amazing it is that you can and do share these feelings with the world. I heart you.

  3. Laurilee says:

    You’re an amazing woman Erica. We’re lucky to have you as part of our family. Big love.

  4. […] already have contemplated giving up Facebook. I’ve explored in detail the dangers of perusing the Internet. Music I hear on the radio gets […]

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