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.