May was a slow and steady progression in denial. In carrying a weight around my shoulders of every should have been.
As the days slowly passed on the calendar, the smallest offense was met with fiercest scrutiny. Why couldn't everyone around me see the torture we were living in? How could they not feel the crushing oppression? How could they feel joy in times such as these?
I should have been pregnant, full term. I should have been in the doctor's office checking that the baby's small head was positioned for birth. I should have been up at night with frequent bathroom trips and heartburn. I should have been washing baby clothes, holding them to me as I smelled the forgotten fragrance of newborn clothing.
Forgotten, but always longed for.
Instead, I faced down mornings of unwanted ease. No bag is packed, no special load of laundry necessary.
The baby isn't coming. The baby died long ago. And while the transition of Fall to Winter to Spring feels like it should have made this long ago loss somehow less weighty, the full weight falls on my shoulders as I scrape my way ever closer to the day that should have been.
The busyness of school ending for the year dulls the edge of the pain for a while. There are too many places to be, too many ways I need to be present and celebrating the girls I do have to dwell on what I do not.
But then, the school year ends and it is the final week of May. The May 30th due date looms large above me. Each morning, I feel an internal gong sounding an alarm. Pushing me, propelling me to a sense of urgency, of something forgotten.
When I remember again, the knot of dread in my chest comes out as angry exclamations at everyone in firing range. No dish is properly placed, no chore promptly completed to the satisfaction of my raw, angry grief.
Pictures of babies begin to appear in my Facebook feed. Babies born when my baby should have been.
I throw myself into workouts, into busyness. I carefully take the supplements and medicines to support balanced hormones. Every attempt to keep the full weight of the grief off me.
It's a weighted ball I throw into the air. Gravity returns it to me time and again. Until, finally, it is May 30th.
Texts come in from friends, prayers rolling over the waves of sadness. Then, it is all grace. It is the first day of lightness. I have labored through my loss and come out on the other side.
Not to forget or never feel the grief again, but feeling birthed onto the other side of it. It isn't a present tense loss anymore. I have crossed over into past tense. Finally released from the pregnancy countdowns and babies born where mine should have been.
Hard days will follow, but the crisis has passed. The final hurdle in completing this segment of the grief journey. The pregnancy is complete in all timelines. Now, the anniversaries and days ahead will be marked with varying degrees of difficulty, but I have passed this time of expectation and longing and the days no longer each carry so much weight.
The phantom due date has come and gone. I feel to my soul the words of Jesus on the cross, "It is finished".
On that day, the words that carried me, the grace that sustained me was found in the friends who held vigil with me. Who remembered what May 30th should have been and offered their day for mine. And in that experience, of once again wrapping myself in the offerings of others, I am knit more closely to them, and united through it all in the Body of Christ.
If you have a sister in Christ who has gone through pregnancy loss, I encourage you to reach out on the day of her due date. She needs to know she does not remember alone. She needs to know you walk beside her.