Wednesday, 25 November 2009

When a star is born

I know people say that birth is a wonderful thing, full of joy. The day your children are born will be amongst the best times of your life, etc. And yes, I think that is usually true, on the surface.

Recently I've had a few friends have babies, in fact one had her water's break last night and there may well be a new life by now. And of course Wriggly came into the world a little under 2 years ago and that was by and large A Good Day.

But there is a bittersweet tinge for me, and it's something I know I generally keep hidden. I wanted to write about it because I wonder if there are others out there too who can see the shadow as well as the light when a star is born.

When Wriggly actually arrived I was pretty doped (and I've already written all about that) so I wasn't thinking all that much at the time. Over the following days though there were a few tears that trickled through not because of the wonder of watching him, the sense of achievement for myself, or the sheer loveliness of seeing my loved ones loving my son.

I'm not talking about post natal depression here, or baby blues, either, because I often feel an inkling of this when other women have babies too.

For want of a better way to explain it, it's more about opportunities lost; the thoughts of miscarriages and children who have died amongst the families of many women who've shared that with me, the beloved people I would have wanted to meet my son who never did, or the ones who will now never meet any future children I might have. It's a sad twisty little knife that flicks inside me, thinking of what might have been had the chromosomes been better matched, the grandparents born ten years later, the cancer curable.

So if I have another child I will weep with delight at its arrival. But maybe one in a hundred of those tears will be for something else too; for the shadows the new light has cast.

3 comments:

The ex-expat said...

I think a lot of people who have suffered any sort of pregnancy loss find birth announcements a bit sad. As do those who have recently lost family members.

Anonymous said...

thank you for writing about this. it is something i too felt at the birth of my daughter. I mourned the fact that the man who should have been her father had died in a climbing accident a few years before, that she is coming into a world which is basically patriarchal and which is not likely to substantially change in her lifetime. that the too will suffer sizest assumptions, homophibia and heteronormative assumptions (she has two mums), and that i would never be able to introduce her to my grandmother (homophobia) or grandfather (who had died) or that her intended playmate (my best friend's baby she lost during pregnancy) would never get to meet her. thanks for writing so well about something which i often feel is so covered up with discourses of 'joy and hope' at the new birth.
you brought tears of recognition to my eyes.

Anonymous said...

Indeed.
In physics, one of the core tenets is: 'for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction'.

I think it is pertinent well beyond the parameters of science...
without being a good or bad thing

kind regards