Gestation

Nine months. That is how long the gestation period is for a baby. It is enough time to get excited and fully understand what is going on. It is enough time to bond and make plans. But what if, after all of that time, you give birth to a stillborn? How do you come to terms with the fact that what you have placed so much hope in is gone? You painted the nursery, shopped for all of the paraphernalia for your newest addition, planned for the future, and adapted to the idea of your new life. It grew slowly at first, but then increased in the later months. You felt it moving. There were days of silence and you wondered if it was still there, if it was alright, but then it would kick, swirl around, and you were happy. You knew the baby would not be a part of you forever, and would live its life outside, but still beside you. And then there was nothing. There is only an emptiness where something should have been.

You blame yourself, of course. Maybe if you ate better food, or exercised to keep you and the baby healthy. Maybe if you slept more, or less, or something. Maybe if you had monitored it more closely. All your friends who have children assure you that there is nothing you could have done. It was out of your control and you did the best you could.

Maybe you weren’t meant to have it. This wasn’t for you. Maybe it is for the best.

You go back to the store and return the baby clothes and toys. You put the sonogram pictures in a box where you won’t see them anymore. And then you find distractions every way you can. Amuse yourself with trifles. Keep busy. Enjoy the precious things in life that are unlikely to disappear. Then one day it will be no more than a distant memory of the joys of the gestation period, with all the pain of the aftermath forgotten.

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