Who is ‘me’?

It’s hard to write with a living baby in my life. Aside from the obvious–that there’s just no time–I’m just not sure what I need to say. What I need. What I want. Who I am.

“How are you?” a friend asked, a few weeks after Margot was born. And I jokingly responded, “Who is ‘me’?”

I’m struggling with my sense of myself. I’m struggling with my sense of Joseph. Who am I, now that I’m a mother, when I was a mother before but this is so clearly a different animal altogether? Who is Joseph in my life now, now that I watch his sister grow and every day become more and more a part of our lives while Joseph stays still, always no days old, in the past?

This is what I always wanted. This motherhood.

I’m having trouble squaring that with the fact that Joseph was what I always wanted. My firstborn. My first baby.

His death has changed who I thought I’d be as a mother. Small ways I am uncovering little by little. Once, twice, three times a day I look at Margot and go cold with fear, sure she isn’t breathing, certain she has died.

Another loss–who I thought I would become.

One, two, three days go by when I don’t think of Joseph. Not that I forget him, but that he is not in my present. I don’t sit in the glider and look at his urn or his butterfly or the photo of me eight months pregnant, a few days before he died–we moved his ashes. I don’t clasp his name around my neck every morning–Margot is grabbing; she rubs her face against the chain, too, pushing it hard into my skin. I don’t go out the back door much anymore–I park in the front–so I don’t see his bench and his camellia and the arbor every day.

Who are you, Joseph? Who are you to me, now?

A says when she reads about new losses on the Glow forums, when she hears the shock and confusion and despair of those early days, she wants to say, “Trust the process.” Grief comes and lives differently in each of us. You’ll find your way. Things will become clear, in their own time.

So that’s what we are doing. Trying to trust that Joseph’s place, his new shape, will become clear in our lives now that Margot is here.


© Burning Eye


One thought on “Who is ‘me’?

  1. I think A is right, and the process is all there really is. My relationship with Anja has changed and keeps changing since M was born. And my relationship with him changes, and my relationship with E changes, and has changed over and over in her five and a half years, and everything is always changing and changing and changing again,- it is part of parenting, whether we are parenting dead babies or live children. But oh, how I understand these feelings you describe: when M was born, A felt so far away from me a lot of the time. Exactly as you said, she stayed no days and every day he outlived her, outgrew her, became more and more who he was when she never had a chance. I wonder if their place ever becomes completely clear? The only thing I know for sure is that I loved her and wanted her and she was mine and still is mine. And he is yours.

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