Today was my second appointment with my grief therapist. First, to those going through something similar, I strongly recommend talking to someone who is experienced in dealing with the loss of a baby. I’m a big believer in therapy as a general matter, but in this specific instance, in particular, it is good to have someone who will be able to recognize whether you are dealing with things in a healthy fashion. Second, today’s appointment got me thinking about milestones.
When you are expecting a baby, you go through a huge list of milestones. There’s the first time you see the heartbeat, finding out the gender, viability – and the list goes on. Then there are the milestones you expect to have going forward. There’s the birth of your baby, hearing the first cry, baby’s first smile, crawling, walking, and limitless other things that you are excited to experience with your baby. These are the things you look forward to when you are pregnant. These are the things you daydream about. These are the things I daydreamed about.
Then we lost Isaac. We won’t get to experience those milestones with Isaac. We won’t see him smile, or find out who he would have most looked like. We won’t know the sound of his cry or when he would have decided to crawl. Instead, we face a different set of milestones.
I had my first solo outing last week. My husband had to have a first day back at work. Eventually, I will make it to the grocery store alone or to the mall alone. Each time I see a new person, who hasn’t seen me since I was big and pregnant, is a milestone. Someday, I will have my first up close and personal encounter with a friend or family member’s baby, or a pregnant woman. Today is a milestone. Today marks exactly one month since Isaac’s birth. September 3rd will be the day I was expecting to be induced. September 10th will be Isaac’s due date. I was once counting down to those last two milestones with excitement, now I look forward at them with dread.
Pregnancy seems to make you hyper aware of time. You count every single week. Then when a baby is born, you mark the passage of time by counting how many weeks old your baby is now. Those instincts don’t go away just because you no longer have your baby. Rather, you just end up looking at a new sort of milestone. They are sad milestones that remind us of what could have and should have been, but they are all we have.