When I first envisioned my road to motherhood, it was full of sparkles and glows. I thought of my body changing, had even said goodbye to my pre-baby body in preparation for the coming changes. I expected morning sickness, aches, exhaustion, and a growing belly that I couldn’t wait to show off.
I didn’t expect the dark days, the days painted black with night even while bright sunlight cornered me. I didn’t expect to have the magic of my motherhood journey sucked out of my life.
The week after our miscarriage was easily the hardest 7 days of my life. Women I knew, who already had a child, were both pregnant. I still had school and a presentation I no longer cared about. Ironically, it was probably the best presentation I’ve ever given. I had missed a class because the emotional toll of miscarrying had been too high. As a result, my professor, who didn’t know I’d miscarried, had me write a paper about an article they had discussed in class. Plainly, I wowed him with it. There was also walking around with my friends, most of them moms themselves.
And that lamp.
The weekend before our miscarriage, my husband and I were still riding the high of our pregnancy. We’d gone out and bought an adorable raccoon lamp. It sat, in its pretty package, in the room that would be our child’s. For three days, I admired that thing, studied the room to figure out how to design a nursery. The lamp sat in a place of pride, on one of my childhood bookshelves.
But, after, just thinking about it crushed my heart. What if we hadn’t been so eager to buy something for the baby? Would not buying something have meant I wouldn’t have lost the baby? Was the simple act of being so sure the one thing that doomed us?
Superstitious. Of course. But, sometimes, when something like that happens, it’s where the mind goes. No matter how educated I was, it still looped through my mind like a bad record.
What if we hadn’t bought that lamp?
We talked about whether to keep or discard it. I know my heart was torn in two. I would forever think of it as my first baby’s lamp, even though I had lost him or her. Yet, it was adorable, and half my heart still clung to it.
We kept it. It seemed fitting. Something of a gift from our first, lost baby to our first, breathing baby. Our son is still attached to it. As I type this, he is asleep and the lamp is on. I like to think of it as his older sibling keeping an eye on him, keeping the monsters away.
Somehow, a simple lamp broke my heart and stitched it back together. Somehow, it became a beacon during those dark days, and perhaps it’s because of that lamp that my sadness easily gave way to determination to try again. But not in 3 months. Right now.