I think we had just started trying, or just found out we wouldn't be able to conceive without help. Since I'm Jewish, the holidays are pretty simple, and we usually go to C's family (1000 miles away) for Christmas. C's sisters had brought over the kids for a visit and and one of them, maybe a year and a half said, "Mommy, can I..." I don't remember what he asked for or what he said. This child just looked at his mother and called to her. Thinking about it now, I don't know, it sounds kind of cliche. But... there was something so basic, so primal. And I wanted it. I can't even describe what went through me -- it wasn't thought, it was feeling.
Luna at life from here sent me a copy of one of her posts in response to my last entry, and I think the way she articulates it is exactly right. She talks about trying to enjoy her family, those events that celebrate the young children in her family, enjoying her nieces and nephews and cousins. And that many of those times can be, well, joyful. She connects with these children, enjoys them at least for a little bit. It's just later that the pain sets in. The longing. For the children lost, for what should have been, for the opportunity to be a mother to a living child. Even to participate in the "mommy club."
That's what gets me. I was trying to name the ache in the center of my chest. The one that fills my throat. The quiet sadness I feel after talking to a pregnant woman, or friend. Like my sister. (Quiet? who am I kidding, it's usually audible weeping.) I want so much to enjoy her joy, but it gets eclipsed by my own longing for what she's getting. I'm not saying I don't feel other things, but I think this is the thing I couldn't identify.
Lately I've been feeling it in my arms. The longing, the ache to hold something. Someone. I thought I had escaped that "emp.ty arms" feeling since I'm a couple months out now, but over the last week it's been getting worse. Stronger. I'm feeling like there's something missing, like I need to hold something.
Last night I was thinking of my cat, whom I adopted when I was in college. She lived to almost 15 years and was quite possibly the best cat in the universe. over the last 6 or 8 years of her life, she would snuggle up with me when we went to bed. She seemed to wait for it, the way one of my current kitties waits for wet food. If you have a pet, you know the look. Well, I'd pat the bed and she'd jump up beside me and lay right next to my chest.
With me laying on my side she'd snuggle in on her side, leaving her vast expanse of soft, white belly fur for me to rest my hand on. It's hard to not sleep with a loving, purring cat laying blissfully against you. And so, almost every night, especially in her later years, this is how we'd go to sleep. Me spooning the cat, C spooning me. I was surrounded by love, my arms were full with it.
Last night I was thinking of my cat, wishing I could hold her, after I realized that what I wanted was to hold my children. To smell their heads. To feel their breathing slow and deepen as they drift off to sleep. To have my arms full with them.
I just long for it.