In terms of my grief, the past week or so has been better. Fewer crying jags and more sleep. Gary and I have zoomed into baby planning mode-we are T minus 7 weeks (or so, really it could be anywhere from 5 to 10 weeks out) and I am feeling completely unprepared. I have also have a resurgence of morning sickness in the last trimester that our midwife thinks is grief-related. It's not such a rare thing for late pregnancy and it doesn't worry her, but it can be difficult at times to eat, despite being hungry. It's something I would love to talk to Mom about-she passed away right at the cusp of my third trimester and I didn't even think to ask her what symptoms she had late in pregnancy.
Today I started exploring newborn rituals and thinking about how we want to welcome the Pea into our community. I wasn't prepared for how emotional that would make me. So many prayers for mothers to say for their children, so many hopes and dreams and so much family continuation. Some of the rituals include passing the baby from grandparents to parents, or the grandparents offering blessings, and my heart just hardened. I have a hard time separating what I want for my child and what Mom wanted for me. I don't yet feel comfortable with the mother title, so when the websites reference "mother" I think of Mom and not myself. Surely this will be an evolution. Surely no one feels like a mother until they have mothered for some time. Just as I still fumble over referring to Gary as my husband (just the other day, I slipped and said "my boyfriend" which technically hasn't been correct for over a year), I will fumble with "my child."
But there's also an element of the surreal to the past year. I still don't quite believed it all happened. Mom's illness, her death, my marriage, the Pea, that we are all irreversibly changed. I think that may be a reason I fumble with calling Gary my husband. I think that as soon as I heard Mom's diagnosis, I detached from something and began operating on a perfunctory level. I knew the facts, responded to the facts, dealt with the facts. We all did what we needed to do. People would make comments about my family: how amazing we all are, how much we rallied and supported Mom and each other. It wasn't a choice. It was a need. We all reacted in the only way we knew how. But somewhere along the way, I needed to lock up my heart to keep it from breaking. And now, embarking on this parenting journey, I need to access it again. Though I wholeheartedly believe that we are choosing the safest and healthiest birth option for both me and the Pea by having her at home, part of that choice is the appeal of forcing myself to be present. I don't have the option to tune out, to medicate, to detach. I've been doing that all year. I've been saying Mom wasn't going to get better without really feeling the impact of that truth. Maybe that's a necessary side effect of knowing a disease is incurable. Maybe that's a flaw in me.
In any case, I suspect that other members of my family are coming to the truth that she's gone in fits and starts also. That some days the reality is so heavy and true that functioning on any level requires great concentration and force of will. And some days are okay. I don't know, I am not there, which is another difficult thing. I miss the frequent trips, I miss seeing all of my Seattle family. And worst of all, Dad's birthday is coming up and I can't fly to spend it with him. Though all the travel was difficult and costly and though my trips were never relaxing, it was always fulfilling and comforting to be there.