If you’ve ever waited for a pregnancy test, you know how long three minutes can feel. I’ve busied myself around the house, taken a shower and counted to 180, only to realize I forgot to say Mississippi in between.
Before McCoy was conceived, whenever I took a pregnancy test, only to see the negative appear, I’d try to pretend I wasn’t sad. I’d think things like: I honestly knew I wasn’t this month. I just had a feeling it wasn’t going to happen yet, trying to avoid the disappointment.
But then, sadness would overcome the denial. I could barely admit that I’d already thought about when that pretend baby’s birthday was going to be and what our life would look like in just a few short seasons. I’d already dreamed of sharing a September birthday with that precious love. Or it being born on my mom’s birthday in April.
And of course, once the sadness sunk in, I’d feel shame. This is so silly. Why did I let myself get excited? My period is only one day late. And I’m so lucky to have Chris. Why can’t I just be content with what I have?
It was a vicious cycle of hope, denial, sadness and shame.
Something I finally learned in the waiting, though, was to let there be mourning. To let myself feel the sadness of the loss, or, in this case, the perceived loss. For a brief moment, the future we were dreaming of had felt so close. In order to move forward, I had to learn to grieve what I thought was coming.
This is not moping for weeks on end. It is not getting angry at Chris, instead of feeling the pain. It’s letting the true sadness wash over us. It’s sitting with it, feeling its weight. It’s saying this like: I feel sad I’m not pregnant this month. I really hoped it was going to happen. I’m OK and I’m grateful for my life. But I do feel sad that we didn’t make a baby last month. It hurts right now.
When we allow ourselves to mourn - the baby, the relationship, the life - we thought we had coming, we make room to appreciate the one we are meant to have. We more clearly see the good in our lives. We appreciate the beauty all around us, in the now.
I’m learning lately that there is both bravery and freedom in the admission. When we speak the sadness we are no longer held captive by it. And when we are free from it, we are able to find joy again.