Friday, March 15, 2013
is this all a dream?
I had a dream the other night that Emerson died. I know—horrible and depressing, and why discuss it? [Please bear in mind, I am SO upset and agitated even typing those words. It's unthinkable.] But, I've been contemplating this for the past two days and have realized that even ten months after the birth of my child….nay, nineteen and a half months since I learned I was pregnant and Emerson began to exist…it's still incredibly difficult to believe my new reality. Therein lies the fear: it will all be taken away, because it isn't real.
I had a hard time accepting that I was truly pregnant for the first few months. I kept taking pregnancy tests to reassure myself that it was actually happening. And when I went in for my first few prenatal appointments, I was sure they were going to tell me I didn't belong there. Between the tests given to me by my midwives, and the ones I took at home, I had about six tests proving that my doubt was purely psychological. Even so, I was still nervous to see what did or did not live inside my uterus at my 20-week ultrasound. Seeing Emerson bouncing around on the screen reassured me immensely, yet I would still lie awake at night trying to make sense of the tiny being kicking and stretching and rolling around beneath my skin. And, I couldn't. Not quite.
Then Emerson arrived. She was here. She was warm and squirmy and eating from my breast. And she's been a constant barnacle to my body since then. Yet, so often I find myself waiting to wake up, waiting for this dream to end. Yes, there is frustration and sleep deprivation and fighting and not enough time for myself and my house is a constant mess and I'm sure this dreamlike state is in part due to the fact that I am half-asleep all the time….but, it's still too good. It can't possibly be real, I think to myself.
There's more. There is also the fact that Emerson's birth was a death. Childless and motherhood are such opposite extremes. Life B.E. (before Emerson) was all about me—my needs, my problems, my night of sleep, my ambitions and desires, my schedule. I knew there would be an adjustment period after my child was born, and a bit of an identity crisis, but it's more far-reaching than that. It sometimes feels more like an entirely new life rather than one that is transitioning. I am me, but I'm not. And my life looks strangely familiar, but also totally foreign. I don't know where that girl who danced on top of a bar on a hot summer night in Spain lives. I have forgotten the adventurer who moved around the country without any fear of risk or uncertainty. I can't quite recall the silence and freedom of a roommate-less apartment in an exciting city.
And then there are the ghosts. I used to feel the presence of ghosts from my past lurking around, but now I feel the ghosts of my future—an 8-yr-old Emerson running off the school bus toward me, siblings sitting beside one another in the backseat of the car, grown children having conversations over coffee…holding my first grandchild, freshly pushed into the world. Like a dream, I can imagine it, but I can't. The faces are all blurry and it doesn't feel real.
But, it is.
I'm left wondering: when will time catch up with reality?