Remember when your loss was new, and pregnant women were everywhere? You couldn’t seem to escape them, no matter where you went or what you did? Lately, it seems like everyone is having their third child. My young nephew and his wife. Distant friends on the internet. The British royal family. My mailman, for heaven’s sake.
Three was the magic number. Three was the family I wanted to have. Never mind that we only have three bedrooms in our house. Never mind that we struggle sometimes to make ends meet with only two. Never mind how supremely grateful I am to have two healthy, living children, when so many are not even blessed with one. I still grieve for the family I wanted. The one I will never have.
No, I don’t begrudge these people their third children. It’s not like the pregnant woman you see engaging in risky behavior who makes life seem all that much more unfair. I have known my fair share of people who have had ‘accidental’ and even unwanted third children. But none of these recent have been in that category. There is no reason to resent them. I’m happy for them. But their joy still hurts me a little bit. And then I feel guilty and ungrateful because it hurts.
It never ceases to amaze me how many new ways there are to grieve for our babies. Whenever I think I’ve come to some sort of peace with it, something happens to remind me that it still hurts. It will always hurt. Losing those individual souls hurts. Losing the family we would have been with them hurts. Not being able to tell everyone that it hurts hurts. Seeing others who seem to effortlessly gain what we wanted so much hurts.