I often hear, "You're young, you still have plenty of time to have another child."
It's true. While I certainly don't take it for granted, I know that there is a good chance that we will eventually have another living child, maybe several. I doubt we'll have the large family we always wanted, but Lucia will probably not be an only child.
So, since it's true, why is it so hurtful? Because, in essence, it's a non sequitur. People who say it aren't addressing the root of my sadness. I'm not mourning my future fertility. I'm not upset because I'm never going to have another child. (Though I certainly will worry about that until we do.) I'm grieving what might have been and will never be.
I'm grieving the four souls that I will never meet in this world. No future child will replace them. They are each unique individuals, with unique DNA, unique souls. They would have had their own mannerisms, their own unique appearance, their own dreams, and talents, and preferences. They are irreplaceable. I am not mourning that I don't have another child, I'm mourning those specific children. My children, who my husband and I conceived in love and who we love deeply.
I'm grieving that my daughter will not have a sibling close in age. Yes, she may still have sibling(s). Yes, she may still be very close to them even if they are far in age. Yes, even if she had siblings close in age, she may have had dysfunctional relationships with them. But there is still something lost there. Something we desired so greatly, to have children close in age. Something she desires so greatly when she pines for a sibling and asks why all her friends have little siblings. That is something lost that cannot be recovered.
I'm grieving the dreams I had for my life and my family. Even though I know that we can have an equally beautiful life with the cards we've been handed, it still hurts to have to close the door on what I desire so deeply.
I'm grieving the loss of joy that comes with pregnancy. Four out of five times, those two pink lines have meant, "I'm going to have a miscarriage," instead of, "I'm going to have a baby." And now the thought of pregnancy brings nothing but despair and grief. The thought of holding another child in my arms continues to give us the hope to move forward but the pregnancy itself is greatly dreaded. I mourn the fact that I will never again burst with joy upon seeing a positive pregnancy test. I'm much more likely to break down in tears.
I'm grieving my lack of healthy fertility and the natural process of conception and pregnancy that we've had to leave behind. Having to give myself shots and have surgery and chart cervical mucus and time intercourse and give blood so often that I feel like a pincushion makes me feel more like a science experiment than a young wife trying to create new life through the love of her husband. I am so grateful that modern medicine is available to help us figure out why our babies are dying and give the next baby a chance at life. But this is not how God intended it to be. And I'm mourning the natural, beautiful process that has been stolen from me and replaced with a sterile, medicalized path to parenthood. We will never have the opportunity to say, "This month, let's try for a baby!" and then just...try. We won't ever be able to just "let God decide" and have a pregnancy happen when it happens. No, we'll always have to carefully chart and get medications and meet with the doctor before we try to conceive.
I'm grieving my loss of innocence. Oh, how sweet it all was when pregnancy and sex and trying to conceive and our future family only held such happy things! When pain and sadness didn't seep into every aspect of my life. When I could see a pregnant belly and not feel a twinge of jealousy along with joy. I'm so much wiser now and I think a bit more compassionate, but the expense of that was so great. So, so great.