Friday, March 10, 2017

Curie

My brother and his wife had a baby girl Tuesday. They named her Curie Talcott Taylor (after Marie Curie, and my mom's mom, whose maiden name was Talcott). I personally thought Ada Lovelace Taylor would have been a nice choice and also a shout-out to a female mathematicians, but they didn't give me the option to name her. Go figure.


Anyway, since this is a blog about ME and MY FEELINGS, I just want to say this:


I'm thrilled for them. I'm so happy that she's here and healthy and that her mama is also doing fine. I'm relieved the way I still am about every baby who is born healthy and alive.


And yes, I would be lying if I said there was not a pang of jealousy. I'm jealous of everybody in the world who has a healthy living baby. But I am not feeling pangs of resentment. I obviously wish I had had that living-baby birth experience three out of three times, but I don't begrudge them theirs, and I'm also relieved to be able to say that honestly.


Would I have felt the same way five years ago?


Probably? I mean, this is my baby brother. But the pangs of jealousy would have been way, way more intense and painful if this had followed more on the heels of Eliza's death. I'm grateful for the time and space that allows me to celebrate this baby with only the faintest twinges of sadness for myself.


I'm grateful for the passage of time that has made it easier for me to love generously and not react to other people's families as a personal attack against me (because it was IMPOSSIBLE for me not to take other people's babies personally for a good long while--and it's still not always easy!).


We won't get to meet Curie until June, when we meet up with them for a beach vacation (yay on so many levels), so we're face-timing tonight so the girls can say hello to their new little cousin.


And yes, it's still true that when I imagine photos of three little girls on the beach, my heart itches.


But whether there are three girls where there should be four, or two girls where they should be three, or (perhaps in a few years) five girls where there should be six, my heart will always itch. I will also miss her. I will always, always wish that Eliza were there.


And even though I know that having Eliza here might have put everything on a different course, I can't help but imagine that, had she lived, our plans for having two-maybe-three kids would have given us our same three little girls--Eliza, the baby we planned and hoped for, Zuzu, the younger sibling we knew we wanted her to have, and Coco, the unexpected baby who was the best surprise ever.


The truth is that as thrilled as I am to welcome Curie to the family, it's also impossible for me to see pictures of any baby swaddled in that striped hospital blanket and not to think back on my own experiences... the soul-crushing, sickening disappointment of loss, and the rainbow babies who brought us that sweetbitter mixture of grief and euphoric joy. Curie as a newborn can't help but remind me of what we've lost, but she's also one more sweet baby to be thankful for, and I'm thankful to be in a place in my grief and my life where I miss Eliza, and I also can't wait to snuggle this new little babe.


Welcome to the family, Curie. You adorable, tiny feminist. I love you already.

12 comments:

  1. Ah. Your timing. Justin and I are roadtripped and just had a conversation about our grief. I told him I think Kubler Ross would say I am in the acceptance stage. But damn, that anger can come back, and for me, it's often in the form of jealousy. Tbut I manage it better than I did two years ago and I hope in two years I will manage it better than I do right now. (My best friend told me her sister is pregnant with her third the other day and my only response was "wow." But in my head I actually thought, "who the hell does she think she is? Why does she think she deserves three babies?).

    But anyway.

    I think your emotions are completely normal. I don't know how you could welcome your niece without thinking of the parallel universe where your parents got to pull all 4 of their granddaughters on their knees for a photo op.

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    1. Yes... parallel universes exactly

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  2. She's adorable! I love the little old man newborn expression. I get the weird mix of emotions. Eliza not being here will always be horrible and terribly unfair. I'm so glad Curie is happy and healthy!

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  3. Oh, that squidgy baby face! Yes, it is so hard to beat down the jealousy, isn't it? My brother and his wife had their first baby girl five days after I had Genevieve. Five days! I didn't meet her until she was 2, and she is always going to be a reminder of what I lost. My brother then had a little boy right after we had Henry (because we apparently only have babies at the same time), and I was totally okay with that. They had another baby girl this past December, and that hurt a bit. We've both had two girls and a boy, but he gets to have all of his babies here. How I wish I had Genevieve here so that I could be 100 percent happy for other people!

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    1. That timing is nuts. My SIL and her sister were pregnant together and had due dates a day apart, which was exciting for them and all I could think about is how devastating that would be if something happened... because I am pregnancy pessimist, which is why I just don't discuss pregnancy with most people! I had a few close friends who had babies right around Eliza's birth date and I didn't see them at all really until after Zuzu was born. I felt terrible, but my shredded heart couldn't take it.

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  4. Happy to hear of her safe arrival. Wish Eliza got to FaceTime with her little cousin.

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  5. Adorable, tiny feminist indeed. Welcome to the world, sweet baby.

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  6. My brother and sister have not had kids - and likely won't - and R is an only child so we are spared the heartache and the love. I so wanted to be an aunt, but if I'm honest with myself, I know I would be jealous of any nieces or nephews and would not be able to NOT think about how their presence further obscured A's place in the family.

    I have a friend about to have her third baby, a boy after two girls, so her family is going to look like ours should have - girl, girl, boy - even though I know if Anja hadn't died, we'd not likely have had a third child. I'm so excited to meet this little baby boy, but I also know it's going to be HARD.

    Welcome little Curie. She's a beauty! Congratulations to your family.

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    1. The family looking like yours should have / would have looked is really tough. My brother and his wife have been very open about wanting to have three kids. It's hard for me only because I have three kids, but we are forever viewed as a family of four, even by people who know (sometimes even by me...). The jealousy will definitely be hard if they end up having three girls, even though I know I'll love all of my nieces. Grief is so sticky.

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  7. Curie is cute. Will she be referred to as Currie? Curry? Serious question.

    She is so adorable. But I long for your three girls all together. Life is simply not fair.

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  8. As someone who hasn't been able to get and stay pregnant, and is trying desperately to have a child, I am jealous of anyone who has ever been pregnant. Facebook and its pregnancy announcements are the bane of my existence.

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  9. She's adorable! :) Congratulations. And yes, there will always be a bit of jealousy mixed with relief whenever I hear that another newborn has arrived safely...

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