Last night I experienced a dream where I had just delivered a teeny, healthy baby girl. She nursed with ease and I felt joy in nourishing her. This of course contrasts my last nursing reality, where my baby daughter preferred a bottle to my warmth because the stress I was going through stole my milk away. In my wonderful dream my body was strong and healthy. I was up moving and going places the first day after delivery which while in the dream gave me happy satisfaction, upon waking made me feel sadly empty. Because I have had three c-sections, all products of the tragedy of my conceptions. Even if I had the miracle of carrying a baby girl healthily to term, I would not give birth naturally so certainly wouldn’t be up springing about hours afterward.
The oddity of this dream – don’t all dreams string along some bit of the bizarre? – was that I nursed the sweet baby for twelve sweet minutes, then left her to sleep while I left the hospital and visited my sister and brother in law. I shared the happy delivery news only after chit-chatting for some length. How had I forgotten such a monumental part of life? They looked from my flat stomach to my empty arms and their eyes asked the question their decency did not allow to be voiced; why was I out without my baby? After that scene the dream’s warm, joyful feelings were drowned out by several sudden fits of panic as I dashed from place to place, ecstatic for the physical ease of vaginal delivery then suddenly seized with fear that I had forgotten to go back and nurse my baby! I was a busy mother of four kids already and I couldn’t remember to feed the new girl baby every three hours. What kind of mother was I? How could I take my miracle so lightly? Why didn’t the joy I felt lead me to hold and cherish the baby? Was she okay, left alone with nurses and sterile rooms, possibly crying for food? What was wrong with me?!
I awoke with the wanting of a baby coursing through my body, and the shame of failure bubbling up from my gut. I did love my first two children and their natural deliveries. How could I have known how special those seasons were and what grief I would later carry when I could no longer experience such parenting joys? Dreaming for a child is simply pure and filled with love. It is both noble to pursue and magical to experience. I have been given so many gifts in my children, more than many, both in the children living and the dead. As the door for healthy, natural delivery of a Haught child closed, my heart began slowly, ever quietly to grieve. Now, almost two years after my last girl was miraculously born – the girl I was told I was miscarrying – this grief has spilled out so that I wade daily through it. Last night it poured over into my dreams, though babies were not on my mind the day before. I feel gratitude for what I have been given and sadness that I can not control my family and reproduction like many other Americans. My sadness surprises me! It shocks me. So here’s to living with peace, contentment, even while dreams are stripped away.