Roads Not Taken

Little One,

Today, though the toddler magic you weave through this house is pure light, I was a bundle of tears much of the day. I get that way sometimes, caught up in the joy of watching you grow, but also crying for things that never were.

About a year before we got pregnant with you, I got pregnant. It was a strange feeling. It felt like fear. I held the pregnancy test in my hand, and was both overjoyed and scared. I started painting the border on the bedroom you now claim, folding origami stars to cover the ceiling, readying the space. Something didn’t feel quite right, but I decided I would surprise your father with the finished room and the pregnancy test. I worked for days, calculating how far along I was, guessing at gender all the while.

And then, at the 11-week mark, as I had half the ceiling finished, I felt this incredible pain in my abdomen. I can’t remember how long it lasted, me in the bathtub, crying under the shower. I remember the blood. But I knew well enough to know this is why people don’t tell anyone before 12 weeks. There was nothing I could do. Sometimes these things just happen. I hadn’t told your father. Hell, I had barely just found out myself. And I was losing everything. It took me a long time to tell him. It was my private grief. I had this feeling it would have been a girl. I would have called her Stella. The loss, the loss, the loss.

Sometimes I see glimpses of what that little girl might have been when I look at you. The way you have that tiny blonde curl at the nape of your neck. The way the bottoms of your feet look when you place your foot in my hand so I will kiss it. The way you laugh. And god I miss her.

I know that if we had had her, we probably wouldn’t have had you. I know the future would have looked completely different. And I know my life is so good right now that I really am grateful for how everything turned out. But some days, like today, I look at that dream life and mourn that little soul I’ll never get to hold. But I hope you know that inspires me to give you the best life possible, and hold you even tighter.

Bittersweetly,

Mama

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