Tomorrow is 8 months. I never wrote about 4 months, or 6 months. To be very honest, I didn’t notice them at all. Maybe I purposely ignored the 13th of each month, determined not to count or number or look back. Eight months since my baby died. Eight months since everything changed, my internal landscape, the life I would live, had wanted to live, had planned to live.
I wasn’t planning to look back at 8 months, either. It just so happened that today, like many other days in the past few weeks, I have felt it. The twitch, the flutter, that is in the exact spot that I used to feel my baby moving. The exact spot where I’d never felt such a twitch or flutter before in my life. Now from time to time it catches me off-guard, it steals my breath, it slaps my face and leaves a sting.
It seems to say to me, you live another life. It says, you carried life inside of you and now that life is gone. It says, you are so far away from the day your life split into what was going to be, and what is.
And just like that, tears. I want my baby. I want the baby I have and I want the baby I was going to have. I want to have both. I want to see my daughter, my other daughter. What she looks like, the things she does at 3 months old, if she breastfeeds well and sleeps well. Does she have hair? What does her smile look like? Is she long? Chubby? Does she look like me or not really? Am I more or less tired? More or less happy? I know that I am less afraid, and less jaded. I know that I don’t make my baby sleep on an apnea monitor. I know that I don’t wait month after month for court dates. I know that I don’t wonder if my child will ever scream, “you’re not even my mom!” at me. I know that I can tell my child how she came to be, genetically. I know that I don’t see a heavily pregnant woman and walk away in the opposite direction, as if her appearance is a cruel jibe at me from the universe. I know that I believe that certain things are meant to be, including my children’s right to live, and be, until well after I’m gone.
I don’t have the daughter I want. I have one of the daughters I want. I have her because I loved the little girl who grew inside of me. I have her because I was a mother, became more of a mother, knew a mother’s love.
But oh, sometimes, I just want to hold her, that first daughter. One hour. Ok, just ten minutes, even. Just ten. Just to cradle her and hear her breathe. Just hear her breathe. I would just listen to her breathe.