Other's people children are their children. Not mine. In the lonely weeks after Piper, I'd seek out my baby niece then only 4 months and cling to her like a tiny life raft. I'd cry over her head as she slept. I breathed her in. She was and is my best therapy. We've been asked, isn't that hard? And the answer is no, I loved her first. She does not represent what I lost but life.
I relish in playing with my friends toddler. She does not know my pain but wants me to marvel at the squirrels. To eat pretend ice cream cones and play hide and seek. Another friends baby girl builds me sand castles to squish and shares her Nemo goldfish with Beau. Our friends four year old who used to rub my belly and give Piper kisses, gave me the greatest gift ever by being the first person to ask where my baby was. His innocent curiosity allowed me my first practice run of explaining her absence. In heaven, I simply said. So in the clouds, he responded then back to his monster trucks. He still sometimes knows the song of my heart shares his spaghetti and graces me with mighty hugs. The baby I want is not them. They give me a glimpse of joy and innocence.
In working at a children's hospital, I come in to daily contact with all sorts of sweet babies. Sometimes babies who are born into difficult situations. Sure, it's hard to stomach. It was before my kid died. But it fills a need to nurture and to help. It gives me a sense of purpose and hope.
Sometimes a baby will stop me in my tracks, but only for a moment. They are not her. Last week, I passed by the child watch area at the gym and an adorable, blonde baby looked right at me. I only partially smushed my face again the glass so as not to alarm the workers. Those moments ignite a longing to mother a child earth side. A primal urge I choose not to quiet. They are a reminder of what could have been and that's painful.
I know everyone's journey is unique to them. I won't speculate on others feelings and I won't lie about the sometimes jealousy I feel of blissful pregnancies or newborns. I could only imagine how difficult it must be to share your joyous news with a child loss parent but I have lived your joy and want nothing more for you. I probably want it more than the average aquaintance because I live in a different reality. But I am Piper's momma, not theirs.
I'm beyond lucky that our friends and family let us be the best aunt and uncle we can, to fill our empty arms. Bring on the happy, bring on that joy.
Rest easy my Piper Kai.