The baby announcements are rolling in. I can handle one or two at a time, but the accumulation over the past few weeks got to me this morning. Right on the heels of announcing my ebook.
I retreated to my closet – my safe place – and had a big ole cry. For not having a second even though I always wanted another. For all of the moms who couldn’t or can’t have the number of children they’d like. Who didn’t get to choose. Especially for the moms who never got to have any. My God. That hurts.
And I have one. And he’s marvelous. And still there’s hurt.
“He’s such a good kid.” Mark and I have said that from the beginning, because it’s been true from the beginning. It doesn’t change the fact that I wanted a second child. To be pregnant a second time. That I envisioned Miller as a big brother, not an only.
I never would’ve guessed how many people would say to me, “Are you having a second?” To which I usually say some variation of, “No, just one.”
I never would’ve guessed how many people follow that up with, “Don’t you want a little girl?” Or, “Don’t you want him to have a sibling?”
It’s like they see right through me. Yes. Yes, I want a little girl. Yes I want Miller to have a sibling. Yes I want him to be the big brother. I’ve wanted that since I was a second grader.
I don’t begrudge those who ask me about having another. I totally get it. Despite what I’ve learned about how personal those questions are and the emotions they can provoke, I still ask similar questions. Because sometimes when I’m on the receiving end, my heart prompts me to be honest.
“Yes, I’d love to have another. But I can’t,” I’ll say.
You can tell in a split second whether the person is available for further discussion. If they are, it’s a little gift being able to show and share that truth.
If they aren’t available, my closing statement remains, “So it’s just Miller. And he’s a good one. If I had to pick just one kid to be mine, I’d pick him.”
I get when they walk away uncomfortably and as quickly as possible.
More importantly, I get how having a moment of honesty with another person about my journey can help…so I’ll keep asking similar questions when it feels right to do so.
I also get the online baby announcements.
When I was pregnant with Miller, Mark and I didn’t do a Facebook birth announcement. We told people in person and let everyone else figure it out. If I could go back? I’d shout it from the social media rooftops! I’d do the cutesy picture and I’d post with gusto and I’d live it up!
To every one of you mommas sharing announcements, whether it’s your first or fourth, good for you! Yeah girl. Celebrate that. Cause life’s a gift; not a given. It’s not a guarantee. Live it up.
Don’t worry about people like me who won’t have the opportunity to make a similar announcement. Who might get our feelings hurt. We have hurt, yes, but it’s not because of you. Our hurt is there regardless. It’s ours to deal with. I’m sure you’ve had your share of hurt too. It just comes in different forms.
To the mommas in a similar boat as me: Our hurt is there anyway. It’s not because of the posts. When something triggers your hurt – acquaintances asking about more kids, seeing siblings together, even celebrity birth announcements – your hurt is not their fault. It’s not your fault either. Unfair? Yes. A fault? No. It’s no one’s fault.
When you hurt, reach out to someone who knows. Who gets it. This morning I text my sister-in-law, Heather. She’s a mom of two. She’s not walked my same pain, but she’s walked pain, and she’s been right beside me as I’ve walked mine. She responded beautifully. She helped. She gave me the chance to cry a little bit more, a little harder, a little longer until my sadness was finished with its turn.
In case you don’t have someone to reach out to, save this post for future reference, because I get it. I get that sometimes life just happens to you. I get that most of the time you’re okay, but when you’re not, you’re not. I get that you’ll make the most out of it – you always do – but maybe not right now. Maybe right now all you want to make is tears.
As Heather said to me, “It’s okay to be sad, mad, angry, and not always so excited for others. It’s okay. Because it does suck, and it’s not fair.”
There’s one thing I know with certainty about pain: It’s a rich source of creativity.
When you’re finished making tears, make something with your pain. Put your hands to work, and create something. Anything. Color. Play with Play-Doh. Get out your old brushes and paint. Your tools and build. Your guitar and play. Your laptop and write.
That’s what I did. Fueled by pain, inspired by Heather’s love, I’m typing this. To you. For you. Because I get it.
What Heather’s text showed me, what I feel in my core as I write this: Your hurt is great. Love is greater.
To that end, I’m sorry for your hurt. And? I love you.