Falling in Love

My friends always told me that what I would feel about my baby would be similar to how it feels to fall in love.  I guess when you haven't had anything else to compare it to, that is the best comparison.  But, I felt that falling in love with Max was so different than falling in romantic love, even though there were similarities: butterflies in my stomach, wanting to be with him all of the time, lots of eye contact and smiling.  My love for Max was immediate and each day, I actually felt my love grow deeper.  I never had to worry about Max not loving me back because he showed me all of the time how much he loved me.  There was no stage where you are wondering who is going to say it first, or if anyone would say it at all.  You are just in love.  This is going to sound weird, but while I was falling in love with Max, I was falling in love with myself too.  I loved the person I was becoming and so overjoyed to find out how much more there was to me than that which I already knew.  I also fell more deeply in love with Ted, seeing what a wonderful father and husband he innately is.  The entire experience was blissful.

I sometimes thought about how nature (or god, if that is your belief) must have made all of the developmental stages so that parents would have new things to fall in love with every week.  Obviously, the developmental stages exist so that the baby develops into a child and then a teenager and then an adult but perhaps there is a part of the course of the development that exists purely so that parents have something new to marvel at all of the time.  First smiles, first eye contact, first laughs, rolling over, pushing up, first teeth...every new thing fills your heart with adoration and joy.  It is the most wonderful love that exists I think.  This love is totally pure and selfless - the very best thing that ever happened to me.

I have mentioned that leaving Max at daycare broke my heart every day...especially Mondays.  I preferred to be home with him sleeping in his room than out with friends enjoying a new restaurant or at a party.  I have mentioned that I felt I had known Max my entire life.  I don't know if these are universal feelings.  Many friends have told me that a break from the kids is necessary and good.  Perhaps if I had  many children I would have agreed.  Every bath I missed was like a slap in the face.  I am not romanticizing my love for Max.  I would get physically tired (the worst was the first week of Hanukkah when Max's acid reflux was in full swing and there was literally a 48-72 hour period that I did not sleep), but I never felt emotionally tired from Max.  It probably helps that he was a VERY easy baby.  But, again, I like to think we had a unique bond.  We were really in love and being together made us very happy.

The other night I had a dream that Max was a twin and the other baby was the "not quite as awesome" version.  He was cute, but not quite as cute as Max.  He was funny, but not quite as funny as Max.  He was happy, but not quite as happy as Max.  Max died and I was left with only the not as quite version.  I kept thinking "I need to love this baby as much as Max" but I couldn't.  I loved him for sure, just not quite as much as Max.  Everyone tells me that when you have more than one child, you worry at first that you won't love your second or third as much as the ones that came before but that you always do.  I admit that I wonder if I will love the next baby quite as much.  I am afraid that I will love the next babies with my guard up, like how I dated after I first had my heart broken - without emotionally investing the way I did with Max.  Sad.

There was something else I wanted to mention and that is how I feel like I misled so many of you when you were here for shiva.  You think I am still "Abby".  I am so sorry that I misled you into thinking that is who I am now.  You see, I was in shock.  I was thinking then that I am strong, that I would be able to handle this.  I was thinking, "Ted and I are in love and we are strong and we will get through this."  I was even able to make jokes and smile.  I asked you about your work and your children and laughed about the mispronounciation of the "Name Tag" beer from Trader Joe's (which Darren mispronounced as Nah - meh Taag, and which we then convinced Kate was a Thai beer.....oh, the laughs we shared).  You haven't seen me since then and so you are confused when that Abby doesn't greet you when you finally do see me again.  You are wondering why I am more sad now that the day of my baby's funeral.  I am not a grief expert and I cannot explain it to you but all I can say is I am not sure where that Abby went.  Sometimes I see glimpses: like last night when Ted and I laughed and laughed about the woman at the Emmys with the pashmina wrapped around her head.....sometimes we are mean.  I wonder if those glimpses mean that I am hiding in there somewhere and that I might be coming back.  More than often, I think, does a mother living without her child even deserve to laugh?  It's easy for you to say YES but then I feel let off the hook.  I don't want to be let off the hook.  If you have ever grieved over a broken heart, you have a very small idea of what my heart feels like.  It is like breaking up with yourself, knowing that you will never see yourself again, and that the thing you MOST loved on the whole earth is gone forever.  No words do this feeling justice.  I am in agony.  I am in a pit of despair.  I may never make it out all of the way and if I do, I will be covered with dirt and grime.  I am sorry to those of you who loved "Abby".  Perhaps you will learn to love the new person that emerges with time.  Know that you are not alone and I am going to have to learn to love that person to.  I see a long road ahead.

1 comment

7ca0f31c-e2ea-11e0-a7ac-000bcdca4d7a said...

"Old Abby" or "new Abby," your friends will ALWAYS love you.
xoxo Marla