Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I've never lost a baby in utero, but it's more common than many admit. Both my mother and my mother-in-law have children in Heaven, and my Father says that losing that baby (whom he calls "Joseph") is what firmly cemented him in the every-life-is-precious camp.
I am also in this camp: both my babies are miracles. I do not take either of them for granted. I have too many friends who have confided in me that they have lost a baby in utero, or have been unsuccessful in conceiving a dear one.
It's a common enough sentiment: a couple gets married -- So! when are you going to have a baby?!
Then, that baby is born. A few months later: So! when are you going to have another baby?!
Sometimes, people ask because they think you should wait. Other times, they ask because they hope it is soon. Most times, people are just being nosy.
Will and I have discerned differently about baby timings, and fortunately, so far, we've conceived both times under an agreed-upon time frame. After bebe deux is born next year, we will re-evaluate for when we'd like bebe tres to make a mark in the world. We will continue to re-evaluate and talk about it, which is one of the definite perks and intimacies of natural family planning.
But we're realistic that babies have their own timelines. That conception rates are under 25 percent. That we've been very, very, very lucky and blessed to have two under two.
When we ask people about their baby timelines, it brings up a lot of emotions: it brings up career fears and ambitions, it brings up longing and doubt, it brings up the serious side of sex and the true effort that goes into having a baby.
Not everyone is so lucky.
Many people will try for years. Some people suffer miscarriages, even multiple miscarriages. Those losses are not easy to move on from, and the woman's body often needs time to heal, as well as her spirit.
When I became pregnant with our second, I was ecstatic. It was exactly right. Will was excited, and this means our two babies will be babies together. We wanted the first two close in age.
Then, sadness draped over me like a mantle I could not take off. I couldn't tell anyone! Anyone who was married and trying, anyone I knew who was suffering from not becoming pregnant. This pregnancy would hurt them, deeply. I told my family and slowly told friends, and wondered when I should go public. Technically, I did not have to go public - but these days, I couldn't avoid having my picture taken for nine months, and then no one would notice the extra baby just happening to hang out with us...
After a month and a half of this sadness, I realized that it is good to rejoice over the happiness of our second, and there is a time to be sad with others.
I would never wish away my babies, but I can pray for those angels in Heaven, including my brother Joseph, and for their families on earth.
I should add that I do not mind discussing babies or future babies with the well-intentioned and loved ones; but there should be a spirit of discretion. I pray that the joy I have with my babies will inspire a love and want to pour out self-wants and fear, and fall in love with the little human who will always love you better than you can love yourself.