This past weekend was a tricky one for me. Saturday was October sixth. And October sixth, three years ago was when my son Soren died. I was six months pregnant with him when I was told that he had a problem with his kidneys, the words “incompatible with life” were uttered, and after countless blurry consultations with doctors who couldn’t give me any good news, Anson and I realized we truly had no choice but to end the pregnancy. It was a choice, but not one that we saw coming. It was our choice, but not one that we chose. We had to make the choice, but we would have given anything to not have had to choose it.
Still, sometimes I wonder how I could possibly have chosen to end the pregnancy.
It’s not a fair line of thought and I recognize that. I’m not a monstrous person, waiting to make really awful situations worse by doing the wrong thing. I would never enter a conversation with someone who would make me defend my decision, because it would just end with me either punching them in the eye or collapsing in tears. But I can defend it and have had to about one zillion times, to myself. Truthfully I haven’t stopped accusing myself of wrongdoing yet. I don’t think I ever will. As a mother, I constantly think I haven’t done exactly my best by any of my children. Should I have let Soren’s story play out differently? Would it have been a better and happier ending? It’s just impossible to know. All the medical evidence told me that no, it would not have been happy for anyone. Least of all him. But there are stories of remarkable things happening, and who knows. It’s a twisty treacherous road to go down when I wonder these things.
I believe with all my heart I did the right thing, yet I still feel responsible for the outcome. I didn’t roll the dice with my son’s life. I couldn’t bear to watch suffering like that. I just couldn’t bear the thought of Soren suffering. Or of Roan suffering the loss that would have likely happened shortly after his brother’s birth. The odds weren’t good. They were terrible. I just couldn’t. So I didn’t.
I debate about writing these feelings down, and publishing them. It’s a chance for someone to hit me hard in a place where I am not protected at all. But that has not happened, at least not in a way that has hurt. And in fact, I have had the opportunity to lend support to women who have been handed similar awful situations, and been able to stand next to them as they walk through it. It helps me to know that I can be a voice of calm and camaraderie during a time of inconceivable sadness. So I offer my story up again, as a reminder that these things happened. Soren existed for a short time, and I will never be done with the sadness of missing him. But three years later, life has moved forward and is so beautiful. Three years and two babies later, Soren still has a place carved out in my heart that belongs to only him. But that place is surrounded by love for my three other sons and my husband.
In whole, it is a happy heart. Not entirely peaceful, but happy, and that is enough.