I just went to my doctors for my 6 week post-partum check-up. My doctor asked me all of the usual doctor questions to include questions regarding my state of mind. Am I depressed she wondered.
I am. But not because my body is experiencing a change in hormones, or readjusting post-partum, but because I am still in mourning. I am reminded constantly of Zoë, and just how sick she was. Not just from the cancer, but even before the cancer.
Esmée is thriving, and growing, and changing so rapidly. She in 6 weeks is nearly the same weight, and size that Zoë was in 5 months. Zoë from the time of birth had extreme colic, coupled with the inability or refusal to sleep. She spent the majority of her first two months crying, screaming, fussing, and just plain frowning. Then the last three months battling cancer.
Zoë did not grow. She did not thrive.
But what is affecting me now is this healthy baby that is in my lap, at my breast, snuggling in my bed. Esmée is showing me just how an infant can grow, so quickly… How an infant can get chubby rolls, and be placed on her tummy without shrieking, and can be moved once sleeping from a car seat to a crib (without waking!)
As a first time mom with Zoë I knew something was not quite right with her. I knew that her colic was more or less on the extreme side. I did my due diligence. We went to the doctors. We asked questions. We went back to the doctors. I asked for advice from mothers old, and young. I do not regret…. I am just sad…
I am sad that Zoë was so sick. That she did not grow. That she did not thrive.
My doctor asked me how I am handling this depression. I explained that I have been doing my best to get out of the house as often as I can. The bright sun and fresh spring weather is helping, as well as getting together with friends and family. But there is one thing that is really keeping me going. The thought that Esmée will live to see 163 days, one more day than her sister.
Wednesday, September 18th Esmée will be one day older than her sister. Zeppo and I will be taking that day for us. We will celebrate. We will celebrate Zoë’s life, and Esmée’s life. We will celebrate for Esmée that she will be setting her own milestones that won’t be compared to Zoë. We will celebrate that she will continue to grow, and thrive.
I cannot help but think how often in the past year I have lived day to day, trying to reach mini-anniversaries. How time has been chopped into new milestones (instead of looking forward to 2 months, or 3 months with Esmée I am looking forward to 163 days).
Grief does such a strange thing to time. Some days are so difficult. It feels like I am holding my breath and just waiting for the day to pass. Then other days I look forward to, I cannot get there fast enough. What is most difficult is the inability to tell what day will strike me in what way.
What will September 17th be like? What will September 18th be like?
I have no way of knowing what these days will bring for me emotionally, but by creating these mini-anniversaries I have given myself days to look forward to, even if they might be difficult.
I cannot wait to celebrate for Esmée. Sometimes I feel like I am looking at her and thinking of Zoë too much. I don’t want to miss out on Esmée because I am focusing on Zoë. I don’t want to stop thinking of Zoë to focus on Esmée. What I really want is both of my girls…at once…
Since I cannot get what I want, I will struggle like all parents do to give equal time to all of my children. Celebrating on September 18th will give Esmée a mini special day all of her own, and that I look forward to.