Tuesday, May 4, 2021

One year

 It feels unreal to say a year has gone by. Last week I prepared for our small celebrations - cupcakes and balloons for daycare, a morning outside at the park with our immediate family. We helped Adrian choose a gift for Ian and let her look at party decorations options on my phone (she chose "cars" as his theme).

And then last night I was surprised by the sadness that hit me like a wave right around 9pm. I've had a year to recover from Ian's birth but the memory of it still bites into me. I scrolled through my photos and texts from that night, and thought how strange it is to have this concrete, time stamped documentation to overlay my own recollection. I can't decide if this is good or bad. I don't feel tempted to delete anything, although I wonder if my memories, left to their own devices, would start to round off, become fuzzy. I hate that I look back at those newborn photos and don't feel any joy, but why would I? His birth was the loneliest and most painful experience of my life.

So how do I move forward with this day? This day that belongs to Ian but also to me, and where I need to celebrate the fact of him while also being confronted by my own grief about how he entered the world. I don't really know yet.

I'm grateful that as my PPD has receded I've been able to bond with Ian. There is so much to take delight in - his love of music, his determined crawling, his ability to climb on anything, his ready laughter. I hold him in my arms when he wakes up every morning and I memorize his face. Ian is not his birth, even though it's taken me the better part of a year to untangle my emotions on that point.

I tell myself I can separate this day into two boxes, hold them side by side in my mind. I can celebrate Ian's growth and appreciate this milestone, and I can also give myself space to grieve, to acknowledge that this birthing experience and the months that followed took away pieces of me that I'm still trying to recover, somehow. 

I'm hoping that this year is the worst, that as he grows and the birth recedes that it stops feeling so sharp. I feel sure that this is true, maybe even by next year it will feel like a distant memory. But I'm also trying to let go of the guilt that I feel about this sadness. I am not my feelings, and if I need to take a moment for myself on the eve of his birthday for the rest of my life, we'll both survive.