My entire pregnancy with Piper was filled with emotional ups and downs. There was never a moment or second I didn't feel love or happiness every time I thought of the little life that was growing inside of me --- even in the very beginning when she was still just a tiny speck.
I fell in love with my baby before I even met her. It was the strangest love I've ever felt for anyone. I fell in love with something, or someone rather, that was pretty much imaginary. Even when I started to feel her kicks and jabs and rolling around, she still seemed so imaginary. I knew she was this tiny human growing inside of me but I found it so difficult to piece together in my mind's eye what she actually looked like. I started to become familiar with her feet. I always felt her little twinkle toes in my upper right side, right under my ribs. At times, I could almost grab her little foot with my thumb and forefinger. But still, she was so imaginary. It wasn't until I held her in my arms that it all made sense...that this was the baby that grew inside of me.
I find the bond between mother and fetus amazing. Even before birth, the mother is, in so many ways, selfless. The mother and child's body is one for months. How incredible. How bizarre. What's most amazing, for me at least, is the sense of trust shared between mother and fetus. It's the same trust between mother and child that will either grow or dissolve throughout the child's life.
The fetus depends on it's mother (more so the maternal body) to keep it alive. For me, this was not only and incredible honor but in all honesty, I found it to be a terrifying responsibility. I never thought of it as a burden in any way but it really scared me to think that this precious, perfect life inside of me depended on me completely. It was just so wild to think that my breath was her breath.
In March 2011 my father died. It was extremely difficult to allow myself to grieve while being seven months pregnant. I think I held back a lot of my hurt for my baby's sake. I didn't want her to feel what I felt. That might be complete bullshit --- who knows what a fetus actually experiences --- but for me, in that delicate time, I truly believed my baby was capable of feeling my own heartache...and this scared me.
I'll never forget sitting in the church the day of my dad's funeral. Cameron to the left of me, my aunt to the right. I clutched both their hands so tight. The priest's thick Boston accent sounded so foggy and distant to me. My ears clung to: "Ah brotha, Brian"("Our brother, Brian") every time he spoke the words. My eyes focused on the small gray box that somehow contained my dad...his body now ashes.
I remember sitting there so saddened and consumed by death but being so filled with life as I felt my baby kicking and rolling around inside of me. It was so surreal. I remember holding my hand to my stomach and feeling her kick. She, still just a tiny little being, brought so much peace to me in such a difficult time.
Life is so strange like that. One leaves us just as one joins us.
It saddens me so much to know that she will never know the sound of his voice or what it feels like to be held in his arms.
Piper and I have already experienced so much together. Lately, I've been feeling bitter towards the universe for making those experiences so damn difficult but I know that what we've endured can only bring us closer.
Life isn't fair. What matters most in this life doesn't come easy and for so many reasons, I'm glad. Without heartache, without pain, without disappointment, we would never truly understand what it means to be alive.