Baby number two. End of an era.
We recently went on our last weekend away just the three of us. My husband, my daughter and myself. I am now 36 weeks pregnant and the line crossing down my belly, the line that sewed me up when I was a foetus, is darkening every day, inching me closer to the birth of my second child.
When I mentioned to a friend that we were going away for our last holiday just the three of us, she asked if I were mourning this end of an era and if I was, not to, because it only gets better with the next child. I trust that in many ways this is true. That life will get richer, my heart will expand even more and we will be shocked once again at how enormous is the capacity for love.
But there is a little pocket of grief that what was will be no longer. That our perfect triangle will shapeshift into a rhombus of sorts and our eyes will no longer look one way but two. Of course I am delighted and grateful to birth another little soul into the world and I have sensed her for some time now, hovering over our little world, waiting patiently till we were ready to embrace her and invite her in.
But if there is one thing I have learnt on my journey so far, it is to be present to what is, to all the emotions, whatever arises and honour it. For every thing has a shadow and to pretend it is not there is to block out the sun. And right now I am grieving the end of an era.
My daughter has had my undivided attention and I have been able to give her my everything. Often I have felt like I am in a dreamland with her, our own little world where a gesture, a look or even a thought, has been understood on a level I have never experienced before.
My husband and I have talked about how to prepare her for this next phase of life. Do we prepare her? It’s the nature nurture debate playing out in a way I had not envisioned. Like two trees growing together in close proximity, their branches intertwined, their roots joining in the deep, dark earth – these trees cannot avoid nature and must learn to live side by side, sharing the sun, the rain, the soil. Maybe they are nurtured in a way we cannot see but ultimately nature prevails and directs their journey.
I remember when Noa was six weeks old and I lay on a massage table, my first real hour of physical separation from her. And I remember this strange feeling that she was still coming out of me, still attached to me in some energetic way. This feeling has dissipated over time but I imagine I will always feel this deep cosmic tie to her. She will always be coming out of me.
I see my daughter and I foresee some pain and even shock at what our new life holds. And I ache at the thought that I cannot protect her from any of this. And then I smile to myself because the unknown is the unknown and if there’s another thing I have learned on this wild ride called life, it is to trust in something beyond my capacity for thought or rationalisation.
Before becoming parents, my husband and I tried to make the most of our coupledom leading up to our daughter’s birth. Dinners, movies, concerts at the Opera House – we packed it all in, having no real idea what it is to be a parent because you can’t know. And then our precious Noa arrived and slowly life before faded into an old photograph that we reflected on occasionally. Standing in the bathroom a few months ago my husband commented he is forgetting what life was like before we were three and I echoed his sentiment.
So in these next four weeks I will cherish each moment with my daughter. I will gaze upon her with different eyes, eyes that know something is ending and something is beginning. A seed has been planted and will find its place in our garden of eden. And I will trust in my heart that there will be enough love to go round and that we will morph into our perfect rhombus, and one day my husband and I will be brushing our teeth late at night and ponder on how we can’t remember how it was before we were four.
Miriam Hechtman – Editor’s Note
From documentary filmmaking, producing and research, to finally landing on the page and writing, Miriam has traveled far and wide, on trains, planes and buses, all the while meeting extraordinary people on her adventure. She is also the mother of Noa, wife of Guy, and a reader, singer and baker when time permits. She has now fused her passion for community, celebrating women and publishing to bring you WonderWomen. She hopes you love it. You can look at some of Miriam’s work at movingtrainsproductions.wordpress.com and holocaustsurvivors.wordpress.com
Life Balance = Love. Nature. Laughter.