Sunday, May 1, 2011

Heal these scars

Some people have scars that cannot be hidden, ones that mark their bodies in a way that they cannot cover up. Others stare at the mismatched flesh on their faces, their heads, their arms, or their hands, and wonder what tragedy caused them to carry that reminder around forever.

For the rest of us, life deals us whatever set of circumstances that leaves us wounded inside, where no one can see. Every one of us is left scarred in our own way, each to our own extent.

It can be easy to conveniently forget about the pain that caused these injuries, or the fact that you need to deal with them, when they don't stare back at you in the mirror every day. But sometimes, they come screaming back to the surface when you least expect it.

It's not always a bad thing, though.

I'll explain.

Some friends of ours had their first baby on Thursday night. I used my lunch break on Friday to go visit them at the hospital and take them a gift. The new baby was adorable. He slept with a sweet little smirk on his face and just seemed so happy. I was really glad for my friends as the new mom talked about how the baby was barely fussing, was nursing like a champ, was perfectly healthy....

But....there are these other feelings. Like the fact that I wanted to cry in that room, because everything was so relaxed, without everyone worried about things like, "Oh, the baby won't eat, what's going on with this, she doesn't want to eat...." "Nursing just isn't working right now, we're going to have to go ahead and supplement...." "She isn't strong enough for this bottle, you're going to have to feed her from this syringe..." "She has a heart murmur, she's going to need an echo, we can't discharge her until it's been sent up to Dallas to be evaluated by the pediatric cardiologists there...."

It's hard to explain exactly how I was feeling, because I wasn't expecting it at all. Sad, because this baby was only 18 hours old, and their family was already having experiences we were somewhat cheated out of? Or does that make me jealous?

At any rate, it's simple to say that as wonderful and incredible as Brooklyn is, our life with her as a baby has not been what most people would consider normal, although it continues to improve all the time. It was not what I expected or pictured when I imagined having a newborn. I have a million and one beautiful memories. But I have a lot that have also, I guess, scarred me as well.

So, this sweet baby's mom asked me if I wanted to hold him. Of course I did. But I have not held a brand new little one since Brooklyn. I took him in my arms and sat down in the chair by the window and let the sun warm my face. The most peaceful feeling had overcome me, pushing away the stress that I usually cannot rid myself of. The baby boy smirked and smiled and made his tiny baby squeaks as I rocked him back and forth. I just let myself feel....relaxed and calm and happy.

And I started thinking.

Time doesn't heal all wounds. Maybe a better experience, a second chance, is what really does.

I feel like time isn't the answer. More than three years since I had delivered my daughter, I was standing there in that recovery room ready to bawl. I felt like I needed to cover my scars like the man who is ashamed of his old wounds that stay exposed for the world to see.

So, for the very first time since having my daughter, I thought that I might be ready to try to have another child. The thought has not so much as crossed my mind in three years; when other people ask me about it, it completely overwhelms me. I can't handle it, I think. But the reason is, my brain has always automatically thought that everything would be just the same as it was the first time for us. We don't know parenthood any other way.

My worries are many.

But I have hope. I have faith that it could be different this time.

And I want to heal these scars.
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