Today I faced a very big hurdle; for the first time since Bertie, I held a baby. A little boy, not quite eight weeks' old. I've been very anxious about this for a long time, all through my friend's pregnancy and since he has been born. How will I cope? Will I be able to visit? Will I cry if/when I do? How much will this hurt? Today, it felt like time. Maybe the therapy helped, maybe it was just a step I needed to take now. I knew I couldn't live in fear of this forever. I couldn't avoid all babies and all friends with babies until my rainbow arrives.
I wanted so badly for the next baby I held to be my own. Life wasn't to allow me that. I felt bitter about that for a long time, I don't mind admitting. Haven't I been through enough? I asked, over and over. In a way though, maybe it was better this way. Maybe I needed to hold anther baby, before I could have my own. Would I really want to face that fear right after giving birth? Would I want to remember Bertie's last breath and fear my rainbow was about to do the same? I don't want fear to spoil that moment when my dreams come true. And now, maybe it won't. The fear has been faced, conquered, put in it's place.
Visiting and chatting was fine, I was anxious but OK as my friend held and fed him. We both knew what was going to come and I guess we were both a little anxious about it. I honestly didn't know until she asked me whether I wanted to hold him or not. When the question came, I felt the anxiety rise, the familiar tingle in the heart and sharp stab of adrenaline running down my arms. I surprised myself when I said through stifled tears....yes...I do. And I did. I really did.
As she handed him to me and I settled him into my arms, I felt fine. Peaceful. The anxiety melted away. The tears came when I gave him my finger, and he squeezed. That was the moment I was back with another little boy, gripping my finger with all his strength. But I was able to seperate the two. I could remember my son, and talk to and enjoy holding this little boy at the same time. I could be present in the moment and remembering another moment all at once. This wasn't Bertie, nor was it my rainbow, but that was OK. It was still lovely to hold this tiny life and have him stare at the crazy lady talking gibberish to him. Then, tears from him....back to mum.
Later, I held him again, to give his mum a loo break! This time I kept hold a little longer. This time, I rocked him and walked with him to try and settle him. It worked, and I felt I was a natural! Then I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. So strange to see myself holding a baby. Beautiful and painful all at once. A stab in the heart but also elation. Thinking: This will be me. This will happen. I will be holding my own baby soon. Look how perfect it looks. How right. How it is meant to be. I do believe it is meant to be. It will be. It should have been. Bertie.
It was healing. And I am grateful for that.