My experience being pregnant has been greatly impacted by my experience caring for someone as they died. The reality is, my experiences in any part of my life are colored by grief.
It’s true I work hard to keep that connection alive. Could I ‘move on’? Could I compartmentalize my two lives? I suppose. That might be how some people choose to experience grief, but it’s not what I’ve chosen. I’ve chosen to embrace the bittersweet perspective that is a gift of grief.
When my first husband was diagnosed with cancer, we were told if he was lucky he might have 3 or 4 months to live. The doctor said if it was him, he would quit his job. He asked, where do you want to spend your time in these months? Before you die and are gone forever. He didn’t say that last part, but I sure heard it in the office that day.
It was shocking, it was numbing, it was paralyzing. That day is so clear in my head, that memory doesn’t fade. That office, with Jason next to me, hearing the doctor ask, where do you want to spend your time?
Now that Jason is gone I still ask myself that question. Where do I want to spend my time? Who do I want to be surrounded by? How do I want to fill up my life?
I spend my time more thoughtfully at work now, consciously prioritizing energy for the things that mean the most. I’ve let go of lots of relationships, and become picky about who I let in to my life. I take life at a different pace, try to resist the urge to fill every moment, and let myself be still more often.
Those moments are such a gift now. Embracing this bittersweet perspective has allowed me to be fully present in my life. As my husband and I looked at our baby on an ultrasound, I found myself thinking…BE here Amy. Be RIGHT here, right NOW. Seal this experience into your heart, FEEL this moment for all it’s worth.
I hope I never let go of that bittersweet perspective. I hope I carry it with me forever, especially as I add the element of motherhood to my life.