Enough (pronoun, determiner): As much or as many as required
I wasn’t going to write anything for Valentine’s Day, after all, it’s just a day that draws a line between smug couples and those living their best independent lives (shout out to all my single ladies and to all my coupled-up ones too – I totally prefer Galentine’s to Valentine’s Day). No offence to my husband, but it was always a day I cared more about when I was flying solo (darn you societal expectations/ pressure!).
In the near 15 years I’ve been with James, Valentine’s Day hasn’t ever really been a thing we do: one year his brother came to stay, another year I’m pretty sure we had dinner with friends. If we’ve ever been looking forward to a date in February, it’s because we’re Shrove Tuesday pancake kind of people. (Psst! Get your frying pans ready; it’s this coming Tuesday!)
But the reason I’ve decided to blog today, is because there’s a thought that’s been circling my brain for weeks now, it’s one I’ve been working through with my counsellor and it’s just struck me how fitting the discussion is for today:
“What am I supposed to do with all this love that’s been created?”
The sole quote I decided to put on the Mumoirs homepage is one about grief being “love with nowhere to go” and that’s a feeling I cannot shake.
I’ve been pregnant three times, and each time, I’ve been floored by the amount of love, hope and excitement that’s come alongside it. But then when your baby dies, the love remains. And I just haven’t known what to do with it, since.
An outsider looking in would say “what’s the big deal? You were happy before, without a child, just choose to be happy again!” or “you’ve been without a baby for longer than you were with one, so just get over it” (to be clear, the ‘outsider’ is very much the logical portion of me, the previous head-over-heart person, it’s why I don’t do so well with my logical friends or that side of me anymore).
For me, that’s been one of the hardest parts of all this: what am I supposed to do, with all this love? I’ve tried to put it into good deeds and positive parts of Summer’s legacy. But it’s not enough. I’ve been wondering “can I take this love and put it into our relationship instead?”, but it doesn’t work that way either. Once upon a time, just being in a team of two, with James, was enough. So why does it feel so different now? Bruthfully, it just makes me feel so ungrateful, for all the wonderful people I do have around me and all of the opportunities we still have. I feel guilty for that not feeling like “enough” any more.
My counsellor says it’s something that makes logical sense: it’s because I have had a taste of something – parenthood – which has been unexpectedly snatched away from us, three times in fact. She said it’s like when you first try a new food, adore it and want to eat it all the time. Being denied that food often makes you want it all the more. Different analogies work for different people, so I went away to think about it. For me, the food one didn’t quite work – I’ve always been pretty good at dieting, so not being able to have more tasty food, didn’t really hit home. But then I thought about my career, and I imagined doing a secondment somewhere, REALLY loving the work, but then having to go back to the ‘old’ day job, as someone else took up the reigns. I thought about the most rewarding and challenging work I’ve ever done and how I’ve always been fortunate to grow into bigger and better roles from it. For me, if I were to have done some of that ‘dream’ work and then to have simply returned to the old, now seemingly ordinary work again, that would have been extremely difficult. I probably would have quit that old job and searched for another.
Now, I’m not about to quit my marriage on Valentine’s Day (I did not sit down to blog today, thinking I would be writing THAT sentence! Not least because we still have so many episodes of Married At First Sight – Australia, Season 6 to binge), but it does help to make me realise, that yes, it is hard to have had a taste or a glimpse of something, only then to have to settle back into something familiar, yet altogether quite different.
I glimpsed back through my phone calendar to remember what I was doing this time, last year on Valentine’s Day. It was a day I’d taken off work, concerned about my bleeding. Summer was only 16 weeks and 2 days, but we went to have a private scan for reassurance in the afternoon, it was our 7th scan with her (she really was the most worrying / photographed baby) and that day, she seemed fine. So yep , Valentine’s Day last year was about the baby. And all the love and worry that had been created around her.
It’s a year later, replaced with new worry and to top it off: I still don’t know what to do with all that love. I’m not sure that I ever will. The love I have for my friends, contrasts to that of my family, and again differs to how I feel about James. It’s no wonder that a love for a child sits in another part of the heart too.
So today, on this ‘day of love’, I’ll try to spread it far and wide. It’s no good trying to channel it into one place: love has a sneaky way of overflowing. So to all of my awesome girls and fantastic guys, crazy family and missing loved ones and friends who are either swimming or sinking today – Valentine’s is for us ALL and I’m grateful for you. I love you every day.
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