I've always been one of those people who likes babies. I smile at babies at the grocery store. I want to hold other people's babies. I adored my little cousins when they were babies.
One of many things that has scared me since Eliza died is that somehow her loss would make me hate babies.
Or, more accurately, that every baby would become a cruel reminder of the baby I do not have, a "trigger" that would cause me to fall to pieces in an instant, wherever I might be, whatever I might be doing.
One of my best friends had a baby in October. Owen is three months old. He looks just like his dad, but with chubbier cheeks. He is a sweet, happy baby, with brown fuzz on his head and the funniest facial expressions.
I dreaded seeing him again.
So when I did see him, I was surprised.
He was just as cute as I remembered, and even chunkier than the last time I'd seen him (at a baby shower in late November). He did not make me cry. I held him and kissed him and played with him.
He didn't make me miss Eliza any more than I was already missing her which made me wonder how I ever thought I could possibly miss her more than I already do?
Owen is just... Owen. He's not my baby. He's a perfectly sweet, perfectly wonderful, perfectly darling baby and I love him. But he's not the one I want.
I suppose I am jealous of my friend. She gets to do with him the things I wanted to do with Eliza--the holding and reading and putting to bed, the laughing and playing and showing off to relatives. When I think about everything I'm missing, it hurts so much. But that ache is not about my friend and her baby.
What I mean is, I would be sad and hurt and broken to pieces about what I'm missing regardless of whether someone else is currently experiencing it.
To some extent, this realization is a relief--I don't need to walk around trying to avoid all babies.
They can't break my heart because it's already shattered. They can't make me sad because I'm already sick with grief. They can't remind me of what I've lost because I will have never forgotten.