This is part of my series 100 Days: Waiting for a Rainbow.
Hope isn’t always easy.
I can’t think of a better way to put it than that. It isn’t always easy. There is something about being hopeful for a much anticipated event that leaves you feeling a bit melancholy. Especially when you’ve been disappointed before.
The past few weeks have been littered with activities to prepare for Squishy’s arrival. At the outset they bring me such joy. A new stroller. The arrival of a high chair. Washing and folding jammies. Painting the nursery. The car seat. Scheduling meetings with baby doctors. How I want to be happy while doing all these things.
And the happiness is there. At first I’m giddy like a kiddo at Christmas, as he watches decorations go up, the snow start to fall, and mom baking cookies. But unlike a child with the faith that Christmas will, in fact, one day arrive – I’m just not so sure.
My dad came over yesterday, bringing spare crib parts, swing, bassinet and his paint clothes. The long-neglected nursery is now a cheerful bright color, waiting for art and curtains and furniture. As the paint was first going on I was giddy. I was so happy I could have laughed. I’d picked out the perfect color, and it was looking just like I imagined.
But at some point that dreaded thought that every pregnancy-after-loss mom has finally crept into my head. It whispers in your ear “I hope this isn’t for nothing. I hope the baby actually gets to be here.”
And you shake your head to rattle the thoughts out, because they’re depressing and dramatic and useless. Because it doesn’t help anyone or anything to think that way. But it keeps creeping back, confusing your thoughts and throwing water on that little spark of hope.
This is when you realize it’s been ages since that little one squirmed around, and you start wondering if he’s okay. And every time you go to the bathroom you’re terrified that you’re going to see something you don’t want to see. And every twinge and cramp suddenly becomes a harbinger of doom. You grow more and more uncomfortable in your own skin until everything feels wrong and seeing that bassinet sitting in your room and the scattered crib pieces just about break your heart.
Suddenly it’s two years ago and all you want to do is take all this stuff – all the trappings of hope – and shove them in a forgotten room and shut the door and pretend like they don’t exist.
It simply hurts too much to trust that in six short weeks there will be a happy, healthy little one swaddled up and nestled in that cheerful room full of sunshine and hope.
Hope is a gift. But it’s a bit like the sun. Sometimes it’s perfect, and you want to bask in its warmth and light. Sometimes its a bit weak and watery and you’re grateful to be able to see it at all. Sometimes it’s so dark and stormy you think it has abandoned you completely. And then there are the days it is so bright and glaring it sears your skin and you can’t bear to look because it’s so bright it will blind you.
These last days, the burning, blinding days, these are the days hope hurts.