The First Could-Have-Been Birthday


It's here.  Today is the first day that Eve could have been born safely.  Her due date was January 20, but the safe window for her birth was from January 6 to February 3.

Today is the first could-have-been birthday.

There will be another tomorrow, and the next day.  A month of could-have-beens.

I don't know how I will survive.


Now it seems impossible that I was ever pregnant, that there was ever expectancy, joy.

I can't believe that this happened -- that this is still happening.

There is a sharp line drawn in the sands of my life.  On one side, my life before I learned that babies could die, that my baby could die, inside me.  On the other, this new life where everyday is a new opportunity for pain.


The first life, it is abhorrent to me.  How could I have been so naive?  So unaware?  So foolish, it seems now.

I hate looking at photos from before.  At anything that reminds me of before, of that life that is no longer -- journal entries, art, blog posts, Pinterest pins, scribbled notes in my Bible, our dogs.  I find my former optimism revolting.


And so here we are -- a world where babies die, and babies die often.  Where one in four pregnancies ends in death.  Where every year approximately two million women lose their babies, and I am one of the 26,000 whose babies are stillborn.

Where a heart that had so recently been opened by God's healing is now broken and bloody.  Where prayer is a joke and God feels far away.  Where my days are exercises in fear and panic and pain.

This life no longer feels like a life.

I want to break things.  I long to smash every delicate thing near me, to ruin every mug, bash every window.  I want to shatter like I have been shattered.  I want to destroy like I have been destroyed.


Other women whose babies are dead, they tell me that it will get better.  But I think that "better" is the wrong word, because to me "better" means "fixed."  But this cannot be fixed -- the only thing that could fix this is Eve alive again, Eve never dead.  That won't ever happen, not in this life.  And so I will never be better, I think.  I will only become more accustomed to it, to living with a part of me gone.

No matter how agile he becomes in his recovery, a man who lost a leg is still missing a leg.

A woman who lost a baby is still missing her baby.

This change, this losing, it is forever.


I am a different person than I was.  Perhaps someday that person will be an improved version of the person I was before, of the person that I am now.  But regardless of how it turns out, I am not the same.  I will never be the same.

I could have held my daughter today, in a different world.

That world is dead.


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