My brother and his wife sent me a gift in the mail. I received it today. It made me cry.
I haven’t written much about this because, well, it’s extremely personal and I’m still very much in the process of working through it. I’ve been working on this with my therapist as well. And I’ll be honest, I have often feared being misjudged by people if I were to write about it. It’s about how removed I am from this baby.
It’s not that I don’t want him; we very, very much want this baby. After our loss back in 2009 and all the failed fertility treatments, I very, very much want this baby. I hope I don’t have to convince anyone of that. But when I found out I was pregnant, and pretty much every day since then, I have, for whatever the reason, removed myself from his existence almost entirely. He hasn’t really ever been a him, our baby, a brother. Not yet.
Toby calls this a defense mechanism of sorts. He explains it pretty clearly: that after getting so attached to a previous future child—picturing holidays and school pictures, fits, screams and snuggles—and then losing said child at 12 weeks, well, of course I’m going to mentally remove myself from this one. Who would want to go through that again? Granted, I’m fooling no one. If something had happened or were to happen to this little guy, I’d be crushed beyond words. (This is not something I will further write about because it’s not something I wish to even think about. So enough about that.)
But I think there’s more to it than that. There’s the question: Can I love someone as much as I love my son? Will he be as sweet as Emory? Will he like animals as much? What if he’s mean to Emory? Will he like us? What if he’s not as kind and compassionate as Emory? These are common fears and thoughts for women when it comes to a second pregnancy, or so I am told. Thanks to my therapist, I feel better about the great hesitation I have had when it comes to fully embracing this creature. I feel better about not fully caring. And I do know that once he’s here, all of that will fall away. I know this.
And this shirt. This tiny little shirt! It reminded me of how painfully terrible 2009 was for my family. It reminded me again about how much we wanted this baby. It reminded me of the fact that he’s going to be an individual, that he already is. This shirt made me realize he will soon have a name, a hair color, two eyes, hopefully ten fingers and toes, legs, arms, a silly belly button, a wonderful little butt. He’ll have a mind of his own. He’ll be himself. An individual.
And seeing this message today on a this tiny little shirt—this reminder—made me cry. And I know this is likely to sound weird, but it kind of felt like he was saying this directly to me, his first ever message to me.
“Mom, I was worth the wait.”
He’ll be here soon. And my fear of losing him is falling away. This is becoming real. He is real. He is a boy, a person, a brother. He is my son.
And I suppose my acceptance of him into this world was worth the wait as well. I suppose I needed the wait.
You were worth the wait, Cujo Boudreaux.