Elegy for Amy

Coming Out October 20, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — elegyforamy @ 1:08 am

Everything is all swirly.

We told her, if you have any guesses on gender, we want to know. We know it’s early. And it is, too early, to be sure. It’s more obvious if it’s a boy. For now, she says, she’d lean towards girl, because she sees no evidence of male genitalia yet.

It doesn’t mean it’s a girl, but it means it might be. She might be a she.

It’s pretty common, after you lose a baby, to want the next baby to be the same flavor. A do-over of sorts, even though you know you can’t have the same baby back, you can still have some of your dreams for him or her. The plans you started making for raising a daughter, or a son. Some people feel the opposite; they want the division to be very clear – this is a new baby, this baby is not the one we lost. We always felt the other way, but this thinking is not without its merits.

I did not, however, want to be one of those people who become absolutely devastated about the sex of their baby. Because the reality is, I have been pregnant and grown and delivered a small human and left the hospital without her. If I get to bring the baby home, alive, in a car seat, I am ecstatic. So I told myself that the next pregnancy was a boy, to avoid disappointment. And it was a boy, and I did.

Fast forward a bit more than a year, and I’ve told myself the same thing. And until this moment, I didn’t realize how I would feel.

I didn’t realize, first of all, that while I said I was assuming they were boys to hedge off possible disappointment, the truth of it is that it seemed greedy, asking too much, to get not only a living take-home baby but in my preferred sex at that. Until that moment, that it could be anything other than a boy literally had not occurred to me in any real fashion. I might have said it, oh, I’d prefer it, oh, it’d be nice, but in that way that you say it would be nice to spend a year traveling the world or own a house in the French Riviera, it’d be nice but it’s not realistic, not really.

But maybe it is. And as I’m having some kind of bizarre emotional breakdown from receiving the total non-news that we still don’t know the sex but it might be a girl (which, so we’re clear, means it also might be a boy, we really do not know), I’m thinking, but what if it is?

I can’t have Amy back, but I could have another daughter. I could raise another little girl, her sister, that could happen, and wouldn’t that be just the most incredible second chance? I try to imagine her, as one does, and this is when I realize, having another girl, it’s no easier than never having another girl. If we have another girl and everything goes our way, we get back the chance to raise a little girl, to see at least one of our daughters grow up and graduate and choose a path. And if we have another girl, the one who grows up may be forever a reminder of the one who didn’t get to, in a way that Levi is not. I thought it would be so simple, so cut and dry, a daughter, like we thought, hurray, but like everything else that goes along with losing a baby, it’s complicated and messy and amazing and terribly sad all in one tiny package.

All this from one “might.”

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2 Responses to “Coming Out”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Erin, you have grown so much, you’ve handled everything with such grace, and I can’t imagine the emotions. Just know that I’m thinking about you.

  2. Aurelia Says:

    I was so interested to read this. It all makes perfect sense, that having another daughter could trigger feelings of loss as much as soothe them. I’ve never looked at it this way before, but as I read your post, it was very clear how right you are. It is always complicated, always swirly.

    Good luck as your pregnancy continues and as you learn the sex of this new baby and adjust to all the implications. XO


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